Virtual Office Featured Article

Enterprise Mobility is the Next Big Challenge for Corporate IT Departments

September 10, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

Ten years ago, “mobility” meant something different than it does today. It meant that employees on the road occasionally used their cell phones to connect with customers and the office, via phone calls or text messages. Mobile devices – mostly feature phones – were simply a stand-in for desk phones and hard-wired desktop computers.

Today, “enterprise mobility” means something different entirely. Workers who are in the office may be choosing to work primarily from mobile devices, even if they’re only 100 steps away in the conference room. They may choose mobile devices even when desktop equipment is available: carrying on a chat via Facetime, for example, is easier on a tablet than on a desktop computer, because the screen can be moved and angled to change the viewer’s perspective. Mobile versions of enterprise software may be faster to use (since it’s scaled down for devices), and workers might even come to prefer them.

It’s not only inside the company that mobility counts, however. Recent research from Nielsen found that 93 percent of consumers who research products via mobile go on to make the purchase while 55 percent of them make the purchase within an hour. Companies unprepared to serve customers in native mobile channels – apps, mobile chat, mobile Web browsers and even more visual versions of the interactive voice response (IVR) – will be at a disadvantage.

While there are a lot of opportunities with using enterprise mobility devices, both internally and for customers, there are also concerns: security is one of them, according to a recent article by ManageEngine’s (News - Alert) Nirmit Glennon writing for Enterprise Apps Today.

“Securing the mobile devices through a strong password and having policies for data isolation in the event of a loss/stolen device is but a small step toward securing the data on it,” wrote Glennon. “Data can also be lost when an employee copies information from a business app to a consumer app. IT teams need to partition personal data from corporate data to prevent data loss and also enable employees to seamlessly switch between personal and professional use. It is important to ensure that the user experience does not take a hit in the pursuit of security and privacy.”

Another challenge is the fact that a company’s existing solutions may not translate well into a mobile environment. A recent study conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by Citrix (News - Alert) found that 37 percent of businesses believing that legacy systems unfit for mobile devices are a barrier to mobility initiatives. Going forward, IT departments will have a huge part to play in ensuring the company is able to “go mobile” safely. (And you wondered what they were going to do with all that time they save thanks to cloud-based business solutions? This is it.)

“As your organization embraces mobility, IT support will be under the scanner to avoid costly downtime as employees will access business apps after hours, on weekends and even while on a vacation,” wrote Glennon. “The availability of IT support for real-time monitoring and incorporating effective troubleshooting procedures is indispensable. Enterprises need to have a centralized platform to deploy multiple types of mobile applications (native, Web or hybrid) and for automating patches and upgrades in any number of devices, be it iOS, Android (News - Alert) or Windows. Also, end users should be able to self-install business apps approved by their organizations.”

It’s a reasonable assumption that the world hasn’t finished “going mobile.” Just because most Americans today have a smartphone doesn’t mean they – both workers and customers – won’t continue to move fixed tasks to mobile devices. If your organization is prepared for 2015 mobility leaves, don’t rest on your laurels: 2016 is coming. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

View All