There is no doubt that mobility is transforming the enterprise. Today, most mobility use cases centre on increasing productivity by equipping employees to do their jobs better on the go and enhancing revenue by offering an alternative channel for customers that includes new features like location and presence.
While this transformation is taking place, it is also disrupting the enterprise by creating new business models and also destroying old ones. The problem is that many businesses are scrambling to create a mobile strategy; hamstrung by unrealistic expectations, vague requirements and organizational inertia. Enterprises must adapt more quickly to the mobile revolution or run the risk of being left behind by flexible competitors.
Gartner believes the most important trends that will impact enterprise mobility strategies in 2014 are:
1) Identity and access management (IAM)
Enterprises must be able to authenticate users and grant access to appropriate business resources. There are three aspects of IAM to focus on: single sign-on, adaptive access control and privacy. Small device sizes make entering strong passwords difficult and users want to sign on once to access the resources needed to do their jobs. Adaptive access control, which uses additional contextual information such as user location, behavioural patterns and many other factors, can be used to increase identity assurance and reduce mobile usage risk. Although location data can strengthen authentication surety, it also can raise privacy concerns.
2) Security and risk
Mobile users often access sensitive applications and data that may be stored on the device or in a private/public cloud. There are many cross-platform security controls, such as authentication, encryption, device wipe and anti-malware. However, the number of different security capabilities supported across different operating system types and versions makes it difficult for security and management vendors to provide uniform policy enforcement across all devices. Cloud security must also be assessed as a component of an overall mobile strategy.
3) Mobile app development
User Experience (UX) has become the overriding measure of success for virtually every mobility project. Although most developers implicitly understand they must deliver a great UX for business-to-consumer (B2C) apps, the same is not true for business-to-employee (B2E). Often, employees must struggle with outdated, poorly designed apps they would never use if they had a choice. Some may work around IT so they can use a consumer app that is more intuitive than the "endorsed" enterprise version. "Shadow IT" activities may increase security risks, and IT may have little or no visibility into it.
4) Collaboration and content
Devices are changing how people communicate, collaborate, create content and use social software. Three issues IT departments commonly confront are:
Dealing with iPads in the enterprise – apps that users need may differ from those on a traditional desktop, especially as iPads tend to be used for text consumption, not creation.
Fixing the "Dropbox problem" – many employees use consumer-oriented file synchronisation solutions such as Dropbox, to ensure they have up-to-date files on all their devices, potentially putting enterprise information at risk.
The relationship between mobile and social software – most knowledge workers can benefit from greater use of mobile-enabled enterprise social networks.
Many users are pushing IT to deploy a pervasive wireless infrastructure that serves both business and personal devices, while expecting wireless LANs (WLAN) to provide fast, predictable behaviour, just like a wired LAN. As enterprises increasingly rely on WLANs for mission-critical communication, challenges of network design, network management and problem diagnosis become more complex. Unfortunately, many WLANs were not designed to provide mission-critical services and are plagued with issues such as poor performance, insufficient coverage or lack of service for employee personal devices. Enterprises must also deal with unique demands that BYOD strategies place on site communications infrastructures. They may need to increase network capacity, manage bandwidth, segregate BYOD devices from enterprise devices, add IP voice services and expand site mobile access.
6) Management and BYOD
BYOD is the biggest change in client computing since the introduction of the PC. Gartner research indicates 38 percent of surveyed CIOs will cease to provide personal devices to their employees by 2016. However, IT is reluctantly embracing BYOD policies that satisfy the relentless employee demand to use personally owned devices. The implementation of BYOD programs exacerbates the challenges of information security, device management and workspace delivery. Unfortunately, endpoint security controls, MDM tools and workspace delivery mechanisms are inconsistently implemented across the myriad of mobile platforms. IT should collaborate with users and line of business managers to proactively create policies, implement programs and anticipate future requirements for BYOD.