Enterprise Mobility Management Evolves From Periphery To Core IT

By  Andrew Borg, Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, AberdeenGroup — June 21, 2010

Editor's Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 part series on Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), exploring the evolution of enterprise mobility. Part 2 will examine the core stages of the EMM lifecycle.

SAP's near-$6 billion valuation of Sybase and other recent major industry consolidations have brought the attention of investors and the financial community to the significant unrealized opportunity within the enterprise mobility marketplace.

However recent the attention, the sector is far from new as it has been active for well over a decade. During that long process, it has matured to the point where it is increasingly viewed by enterprises as a business necessity to remain competitive and responsive in the global market-place.

What is new is that the rate of change has begun to accelerate rapidly within the last 18 months. Several related factors have converged to create the "perfect storm" for a classic market inflection point:

* The explosion of mobile platforms, especially around the smartphone and tablet form fac-tors
* The invasion of employee-liable devices used for business purposes, empowering the employee to balance their personal and business personas
* New productivity and task-oriented mobile application software, with "frictionless" e-commerce models that transform smartphones into both powerful portable computers and cloud interface.
* The Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tools to take control of the devices, networks, and data to protect corporate assets and finally deliver the long-awaited business value of enterprise mobility

Aberdeen's recent study, Enterprise Mobility Management: Optimizing the Full Mobile Lifecycle , documents the best practices of top performing organizations: these include the use of EMM tools and services to take control of the full mobile lifecycle, and the integration of the entire mobile ecosystem within IT control.

In the study, the top strategic action identified by all respondents was to control the type of mobile devices and platforms to be provided with mobile access. This is one of the primary roles of EMM; whose ultimate objective is securing the network, controlling mobility cost and improving the timeliness and reliability of information delivery.

A testament to the value of mobility as core IT infrastructure is the recent move to consolidate mobility initiatives under the watchful and process-oriented eye of IT.

The top-performing organizations as measured across multiple metrics (the "Best-in-Class") have taken the lead in integrating their EMM efforts under IT Service Management (ITSM) principles, part of the global movement towards IT practice standardization. As seen in Figure 1, 85 percent of the Best-in-Class implement IT standards for mobility support, and 42 percent utilize ITSM principles to guide their oversight of this increasingly business-critical IT resource.

Figure 1: Best-in-Class Consolidate Mobility Under IT Control

Source: Aberdeen Group, May 2010

Like masters of their mobile universe, Best-in-Class organizations take control of their mobile ecosystem as if their business depends upon it. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) enables them to adapt rapidly to new mobile platforms, enforce compliance to IT standards, control access to corporate data networks, and secure mobile endpoints at their points of vulnerability. Another top strategy revealed in the study was to make mobility an essential driver of internal process realignment. This is further substantiation that mobility is evolving from peripheral to core infrastructure.

When laptops first entered the workplace in the mid-to-late '90s, they had an adoption cycle not unlike that of smartphones today. Initially brought in as personal devices, they were adopted by the enterprise to enhance worker productivity and workplace flexibility. It took several years for IT to consolidate all mobile computing efforts under its purview.

Smartphone adoption has in many ways followed a similar trajectory. This recent trend toward re-consolidation of mobility under IT management indicates the evolving maturity of enterprise mo-bility as core infrastructure, essential to remaining competitive in today's global economy.

For a more detailed look at Enterprise Mobility Management, a free download of the full research report Enterprise Mobility Management: Optimizing the Full Mobile Lifecycle, underwritten by BoxTone, Good Technology, and Zenprise, is available at the following URL: http://bit.ly/bz6vTr

In Part 2 of this series, we'll look at the Enterprise Mobility Management lifecycle, cradle-to-grave, in: The EMM Full Lifecycle.


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