Top 10 Enterprise Mobility Myths Busted

By Chris Marsh, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility, Yankee Group — May 26, 2013

The enterprise mobility industry is at a pivotal time as companies look to gain greater mobile maturity. In doing this they need to pass through three phases:

  • Opportunistic mobility: Where the majority of companies still reside, characterized by the deployment of point solutions to siloed groups of workers, with limited extendibility of the architecture supporting those deployments, and with decisions heavily user as opposed to business influenced.
  • Strategic mobility: Where more forward-looking companies have migrated to, as they address larger subsets of workers based on the beginning of a common architecture and a more policy-driven approach; where sophisticated administration tools are used to scale policy, security and compliance across mobile assets.
  • Mobile first: Few, if any, companies are at this stage, where mobility is integrated into and being used to re-envision business processes, where it heavily influences work behaviors, and where both internal and customer-facing activities have been broadly mobilized.
To move from the first to the second phase necessitates technical, organizational and process change. This is difficult enough for enterprises facing a rapidly evolving supply-side marketplace, and an influx of consumerized technologies from their own employees.
 
Amidst this maelstrom of change, a number of commonly-bandied around myths only confuse enterprise’s decision-making. Below are 10 commonly cited myths that deserve debunking:
 
Myth 1: “Solutions are either agile or enterprise-grade, not both.”
Perhaps the main myth around which many of the others revolve — companies are presented with a false choice between enterprise mobile services as either being agile or enterprise-grade, but not both. This is most often cited by vendors defending legacy business in the face of disruption or those enterprises with a prevailing mindset around security.
 
Although the solution marketplace is still immature, key enterprise capabilities like data storage and security, IAM and user management, analytics and application code are all moving to the cloud. Open standards and tools such as REST, OData, and a multiplicity of web services are providing greater agility; in addition to a generally growing focus in solution design around greater usability all other agility previously a rarity in enterprise software. Companies should not fall for this false choice.
 
Myth 2: “Enterprises know what they are doing.”
There is little collective know-how for a mobile future, with mobile, cloud and social highly disruptive to the enterprise IT modus operandi. The reality is that companies struggle to know where and how to start.
 
Yankee Group’s IT Decision-Maker March survey shows that lines of business’(beyond IT and executive management) impact on their company’s mobile strategy in no more than 30% of companies. On top of this a shortage of mobile-specific developer skills compounds the knowledge gap. Business benefits will only come from greater across-business organizational collaboration and the development of collective competencies.
 
Myth 3: “The solution market will soon mature”
The rapid pace of change has meant that some services such as mobile device management (MDM) are commoditizing before even reaching mature penetration. Vendors are being forced to vertically integrate and prove wider interoperability of theirs with other services and open standards.
 
Evolving standards like HTML5, OD Protocol, OAuth and 4G/5G, along with a changing regulatory environment and disruptions from a new breed of enterprise mobile cloud providers mean that change is here to stay.
 
Companies need a mindset change to make this flux an ally, not an enemy. They should look for flexibility from solutions providers to allow them to experiment with more agile methodologies in their mobile projects.
 
Myth 4: “Enterprises have plenty of time.”
Companies don’t have time to wait for the industry to settle down as a growing group of forward-looking companies are trialing new business models. Yankee Group’s IT Decision-Maker March data shows that mobile CRM is already strategic for 23% of companies, 34% of companies intend to develop at least 10 apps this year as development cycles go from 12-19 months to 3-6 months. Business benefits will only come from an agile mindset and companies not waiting but getting in the game.
 
Myth 5: “Security is unique from management.”
Yankee Group data shows that at least 33% of companies have had sensitive corporate data compromised on lost or stolen devices. This is inevitable and points to the need to a greater focus on risk management around mobile assets.
 
In addition mobile’s ubiquity means that the analytics that are becoming available relating to the user management of devices, applications and networks has applicability for both improved management and enhanced security. Treating the two as conceptually different is legacy thinking and will slow innovation. Companies should look for integrated policy control to drive risk management and GRC contingencies across all mobile assets.
 
Myth 6: “Strategy advice is expensive.”
Going are the days when the only option for external consultancy and implementation was expensive top tier integrators. A new breed of smaller, more agile boutique consultancies with both design and IT integration skill sets is emerging to offer affordable advice to help companies identify and execute both quick wins, and long-term mobile strategy change.
 
Myth 7: “COPE not BYO will win out”
Yankee Group data reveals that 57% of employees already use a mobile device for work purposes, and 38% can already be classed as mobile workers (spending more than 20% of their time away from their primacy workspace). 17% of employees also already use consumer applications despite knowing that their IT department prohibits it. Bring-your-own is here to stay and will deepen in 2013. Companies need to move beyond device management strategies and plan for workforce-wide BYO now.
 
Myth 8: “Tablets will take over the enterprise.”
Our data shows that 30% of employees say they will be using a tablet for work purposes by year end. However 80% of these are currently employee-owned and penetration will flatten out by the end of the year.
 
They are being utilized to best effect among,customer-facing staff, whether sales and field-force workers in-store retail staff, or healthcare workers providing bed-side or in situ care. For generic productivity tasks beyond email and PIM they are however typically the third preferred device behind laptops and smartphones. They are not generic laptop replacements and are unlikely to become so.
 
Myth 9: “Mobile cloud apps are not feasible.”
Some enterprises and some non-cloud vendors proclaim that either apps are not ready for the cloud or vice versa. This goes against the grain. Four of IT’s top 5 technological priorities over the next year will be mobile and cloud related.
 
More than 50% of companies will this year look to the cloud for their mobile applications with, 58% believing SaaS will be their preferred deployment approach in a year. Companies shouldn’t shy away from cloud application deployment but make sure they procure carefully, protect their IP and insist on tight SLAs.
 
Myth 10: “B2E apps need to be consumer-grade.”
Companies are starting to go for apps in a big way —51% of enterprises are increasing their budgets for mobile apps this year and there is a growing focus on design.  For customer-facing apps, up to 50% of the app budget can be spent on UI.
 
However as companies look at a plethora of customer-facing and internal mobile app use cases, they should look across the plethora of tools available from native and cross platform SDKs, web apps, MEAPs, MBaaS providers, and connectivity platforms. It’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all, but rather with finite budgets they should optimize user experiences for high value apps, and choose “good enough” for generic workflows.
 
Instead of becoming limited by theses myths, and to move to a more strategic posture around mobility, enterprises should face these truths:
  • Think cloud services for supporting mobility.
  • Go for services offering agility and enterprise grade credentials.
  • Don’t be afraid to outsource components of your infrastructure.
  • Build GRC around business resilience and availability.
  • Elevate measuring, analytics and reporting in your strategy.
  • Keep an eye on consolidation, but question “lifecycle solutions.”

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