Five Hot-Button Issues For Enterprise Mobility - InformationWeek

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Commentary
12/13/2007
03:34 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Five Hot-Button Issues For Enterprise Mobility

What are the big issues for mobility in your business as you move into 2008? Is it device management, security, line of business applications, or just finding budget to deploy more smartphones?

What are the big issues for mobility in your business as you move into 2008? Is it device management, security, line of business applications, or just finding budget to deploy more smartphones?While CIOs and IT managers prepare for the New Year, I have been talking to mobility experts about how they can adjust their plans to better leverage their investments for the coming year. As a part of this set of dialogues, I sat down with Philippe Winthrop, research director for wireless and mobility at Aberdeen Group, to discuss Aberdeen's latest enterprise mobility study and the hot-button issues facing IT mobility as we head into the new year.

Over The Air (OTA): Hello, Philippe, welcome back to Take 5 on Over The Air. Can you tell us a little about your latest study of the mobile enterprise market? How does this study compare with findings from 2006?

Philippe Winthrop: The newest study is the compilation of responses from almost 600 organizations worldwide looking at the entire gamut of enterprise mobility, including strategic planning, device procurement, management and updates, security, expense management, policies for appropriate use of devices, and last but certainly not least, the applications that organizations are deploying.

This year's study shows a marked difference in the adoption of mobility. Last year, the primary driver was enhancing customer service (i.e., leveraging mobility to interact more effectively with external constituents). This year, it's all about enhancing internal collaboration and streamlining business processes (i.e., leveraging mobility to interact more effectively with internal constituents).

OTA: The shift from external communication and collaboration to internal collaboration is interesting. Let's drill deeper into these trends. What are the five hot-button issues for CIOs and senior IT managers looking at mobility today?

PW: This year's five hot-button issues include:

1.) Having a holistic vision around mobility.

2.) Ensuring that security (including antivirus software on the devices) remains paramount.

3.) Making sure that there are specific processes in place to evaluate new mobility initiatives.

4.) Having cross-functional teams that include non-IT staff to test the "real world" implications of the implementations.

5.) The ability to regularly monitor the performance of solutions and their impact on the business.

OTA: In your research you talk a lot about the so-called "best-in-class." What, in your estimation, separates the best-in-class enterprises from the laggards in terms of mobility?

PW: What separates Best-in-Class organizations from all other organizations is the first point from your last question. Best-in-Class organizations do more of more. They have better processes to assess what applications get mobilized and they document those projects more effectively. They leverage more technologies (devices, applications, 3G, Wi-Fi, etc.) and do a better job of managing and securing the devices and applications. They also have more policies in place for selecting devices and the appropriate use of those devices.

OTA: What does 2008 hold in store for enterprise mobility? Will this be the breakout year?

PW: 2008 holds a lot of promise for mobility. More organizations recognize the value that mobility can provide beyond just mobile e-mail and will therefore start adopting more applications. 2008 will see an increased adoption of Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones due in part to their ability to connect at much higher speeds than the carrier networks can provide currently. Field Service will continue to move ahead, as will BI, content management, and Voice-over-Wi-Fi and Fixed Mobile Convergence. 2008 will be the break-out year, but the adoption will really accelerate in 2009.

OTA: How will Microsoft's recent announcement about device management impact the mobile enterprise market?

PW: Microsoft's announcement regarding device management will only help push the message of the strategic importance of managing all the devices organizations have. Aberdeen's research shows that organizations on average have over 3,500 devices under their umbrella. This statistic highlights how important it is for IT departments to have as much control as possible on devices that are increasingly becoming micro computers.

OTA: In the past we've seen verticals like health care, field service, and utilities dominate enterprise mobility. What are other markets that we can expect more from in 2008?

PW: These verticals have been the earliest adopters because applications have been created to aggressively improve their business processes and workflows (which ties back to your first question). This trend will continue into hospitality and manufacturing industries that will leverage the benefits of streamlining business workflow.

OTA: Will the consumer effect continue to define enterprise mobility for the next several years? Or are businesses about to get serious about mobility and start innovating technology for their own purposes again?

PW: The consumer effect, or as I like to call it, the Trojan Horse effect, will always exist. This will occur because you will always have companies like Apple innovating and improving the mobile experience. The challenge will be for organizations to have strict policies regarding what can and cannot interact with their infrastructure because of all the issues that surround device management, interoperability, and security. IT departments will also need to step up and meet the needs of their users, who are looking for increasingly functional and easy-to-use devices.

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