The biggest change last year didn’t come from the immense improvements in processing power brought on by developments such as Apple’s iOS 7, or even the Intel chip-based tablets that flooded the market with Windows 8 Pro. It wasn’t the Mobile Device Management (MDM) technologies that are now offered by many IT and telecomm organizations, or the new iOS7 interface that changed user expectations for the mobile app experience. No, the turning point for enterprise mobility resulted from none of these things…
What made 2013 special was the fundamental recognition of mobile enablement.
Enterprises, government, and SMBs are now ready to get the most out of their devices. In 2014, the mobile device’s role is a tool that can make business run better, drive real productivity, and enable new ways of communicating internally and with customers and partners.
When Will Mobile Replace the PC?
Following the laptop revolution and the introduction of the World Wide Web, we’re familiar with traditional technological evolution: movement from executive toy, to “sales team gadget,” to key driver of every part of business. The mobile revolution, though following a similar path, is evolving into something different. It’s proposed a way of doing business so different that it is potentially replacing old technology (in this case, PCs).
As quoted by Business Insider, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said it best in October: "I was actually surprised by this. I didn't call this. Would the phone replace the PC? I figured employees would be using a PC and a phone," he said. Instead, "it looks to us like the majority of enterprise computing is being done on mobile devices, in particular on tablets. That broke the old model."
Last year, many CIOs and heads of lines of business recognized the capability mobile devices have as standalone day-to-day business tools. However, a lack of focus on enabling this use case is apparent, with focus too heavily on security and control. Already more than a month in to 2014, with promising intentions, the year is primed for mobile to begin replacing the PC.
Evidence of Mobile Enablement
Early adopters incorporated employee productivity and ROI into enterprise mobility strategy. Rather than simply giving users controlled access to files and folders, going forward mobility is now about enabling interaction with business content similarly to PC interactions – and with this newfound efficiency comes justification for the ROI on large scale deployments.
It’s not just the early adopters who are embracing enablement in their mobile strategy. Recent research from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange found 35% of senior strategy makers in global enterprises believe “improving workforce productivity” is the main driver behind investments in mobile technology.
To that end, as more businesses see the value and efficiencies of mobile, 2014 will redefine who “mobile workers” are. No longer limited to sales teams issued iPads or senior managers on-the-road, the mobile workforce is becoming a stream of knowledge and field service workers.
Steps for Rolling Out the Future of Mobile Deployment
Start simply–take a use case within your business in need of a mobile upgrade. Set users up with a device that meets their baseline requirements. Now focus on enablement as a top priority. Select tools based on ability to integrate the device with day-to-day business processes–content delivery and interaction, and engagement with peers and experts, anytime and anywhere.
Next, track usage, measure and report success against the same criteria—mobile enablement. This will set the stage for a strategy that influences quantifiable productivity improvements. This will be your base line across other lines of business. More often than not, a successful rollout in one business area will lead to extensive deployments elsewhere.
Remember: true mobile enablement is within reach and doesn’t necessarily require an expensive, slow-to-deploy custom app development. Just choose a platform, deploy, and let your workers utilize mobile in a way that’s productive and beneficial to your organization as a whole.