Organizations seeking to maximize the economic and productivity benefits made possible by mobile technologies must look beyond simply which devices are used and re-examine business processes and workforce needs, new research released today by CompTIA concludes.
“Rather than focus on the device level, companies will need to assess the specific needs of their workforce and match the device,” said Seth Robinson, director, technology analysis, CompTIA.
“For maximum benefit, workflow changes will need to be considered prior to evaluating workforce needs. But this is not a trivial matter and companies will need to weigh the cost of operational disruption and change management against the potential advantages.”
At this point, most companies are not taking these steps, according to CompTIA’s Second Annual Trends in Enterprise Mobility study. Most of the current activity revolves around devices – provisioning, securing and allowing access to existing systems.
The majority of companies in the CompTIA study allow their employees to bring their own mobile devices to work. The most popular option is to have a mix of corporate-liable and individual-liable devices (58 percent). A full third of companies still strictly mandate which devices can be used for work purposes and do not allow any type of employee-provided device. For another 8 percent of firms, employees provide everything.
For companies that provide at least some devices to employees, the top two reasons are to standardize and consolidate IT support, cited by 39 percent of firms; and because it is more cost effective to provide devices rather than a stipend (31 percent).
“This reasoning is contrary to the school of thought suggesting that BYOD can be a cost-savings move,” Robinson noted. “Best practices will emerge that may change the cost dynamics, but BYOD may be similar to cloud computing in that companies may find other compelling reasons beyond cost savings to pursue the strategy.”
As employees bring their own mobile device into the workplace, they also want to bring their own applications and services. As a result, the field of Mobile Device Management (MDM) is rapidly shifting to include Mobile Application Management (MAM).
Companies are pursuing a range of solutions, including exploring/implementing virtual desktops (49 percent), building custom mobile apps for business systems (29 percent) and moving business applications to a cloud model that can be accessed through a browser (28 percent).
Many Parts to Mobile Ecosystem
From an enterprise perspective, the mobile ecosystem – in conjunction with cloud offerings – presents a significant shift. Rather than having tight control over the entire experience, IT architects now must contend with devices that often serve dual purposes and connect to third-party systems. The accompanying chart illustrates this challenge.
“Between app developers, cloud providers, wireless carriers and device OEMs, there are now many parties that can influence function and workflow,” Robinson said.
This leads to many questions:
Who is in charge of the physical device?
Who controls the software on the device (including the OS?)
Who controls the way the device connects?
How secure are the backend systems that are accessed through mobile apps?
With 98 percent of the companies in the CompTIA survey claiming some amount of mobile solution adoption, this trend already shows extremely broad appeal and will have a high level of impact as it continues to evolve.