Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you probably aren’t surprised that smart devices including smartphones and tablets have invaded the enterprise over the past 18 months. According to recent Aberdeen Group research (March 2011), 82% of companies currently have smartphones accessing their WLAN – and 99% of them plan to in the next 12 months. When it comes to tablets the numbers are equally as impressive – 75% currently allow access and 94% plan to in the next 12 months.
These numbers are staggering considering that media tablets only came on the market exactly 12 months ago. This forecast is just shy of 100% of enterprises expecting to support smartphones and tablets in the next year — I think this certainly qualifies as an ‘invasion’.
We talk to an incredible array of large and small enterprises who are trying to figure out exactly how to manage this ‘invasion’ successfully. The consensus is that this is not a trend or a fad – it is driving a fundamental change in the way businesses operate. Mobility is a core component of leading companies’ strategy – and it is helping them get ahead of their competition.
So, that begs the question ‘what are these companies doing about it’? I’ve seen two distinct ‘camps’ in how companies are approaching mobility today. The first camp seems to want to start by gaining control over the device invasion – they are wrapping their arms around security and policy enforcement of mobile devices. They see this as a necessary first step to deal with the immediate need of getting devices on the network and secured. Often this is driven by the BYOD model where employees are demanding access to corporate email from their personal devices. Once devices are securely onboarded, this camp swiftly realizes that mobility is about much more than access to email – they rapidly look for and deploy mobile applications to improve business productivity.
The second camp seems to take a broader strategy up front. They are investing in mobility with the expectation that it will transform their business. They are fundamentally looking at smart devices to change how work gets done. They know that mobility is all about the Apps, and they seek company-wide input on an application strategy that will fundamentally change their business. And, of course they build security into their plans as well.
Both strategies are excellent approaches to gaining control of the invasion and will ultimately end up with the same result – business transformed by the power of mobility. The most important consideration is not to wait. Because mobility isn’t going away.