The current state of enterprise mobile: Seven trends increasing complexity

Just two years ago, enterprise mobile began to replace the dominant siloed approach of deploying mobile one department or business unit at a time, with a new enterprise-wide orientation. As a result, scalable, organisation-wide deployments of mobile are now the norm. Mobile began to be valued as a transformative catalyst for business. Enterprises combined mobile assets with cloud-based applications and business intelligence tools to pull from mobility previously hidden business insights.

With mobility becoming a strategic weapon in business transformation, seven characteristics are converging to exponentially expand mobile’s complexity, including:

Faster refreshes

In consumer mobile, users expect to see significant advances every 1- 2 years, and they upgrade their personal devices accordingly. Enterprise users now expect the same – even as finance departments struggle against declining device values. As a result, pressure is building to find new, innovative ways to finance mobile devices with guaranteed technology refreshes every 12 to 18 months.

Constant flow of OS upgrades distracts IT

Compounding the fast-track pace of updates is the lack of tools to control users’ upgrading efforts. For example, each Android release is managed not through a central authority, but by each mobile operator. This lack of synchronisation often forces the enterprise and its users to manage a constant stream of updates by operator and device type over many months. 

In this era, the complexity of managing app and OS changes, while overseeing device upgrades and the proliferation of custom applications, escalated severely. As a result, the burgeoning demands of mobile and its users’ sky-high expectations have distracted IT staffs from their business-critical responsibilities.

IT staffing lacks deep mobile knowledge

The impact on IT has been pronounced, especially in light of the fact that IT staffing has not been funded to hire enough expert staff to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated users’ mobility demands. According to Spiceworks, 45 percent of organisations predict that their IT departments will grow by the end of 2018. These same IT staffs are under pressure to support the latest-and-greatest iterations of mobile, while steadily advancing enterprise-wide strategic initiatives such as cloud computing, security and IoT.

Cost management concerns

A recent survey by IDG and CIO.com highlighted the concerns executives have over controlling mobile costs. In all, 44% of executives surveyed stated that cost management was the top challenge in meeting enterprise needs. Supporting multiple mobile device types was the top concern related to costs, with worries about time commitments and resource costs following closely. 

With the enterprises’ acceptance of unlimited data plans, overages on data usage have largely been eliminated. However, the ongoing staff costs associated with having enough mobile resources to support a myriad of device types and user profiles continues to be a very real issue for CIOs.

Backlog of user applications growing, while number of deployed apps remains flat

The resulting impact on enterprises’ ability to “get things done” in mobility may be best reflected in mobile applications. While the demand for mobile applications to support business needs is rising, 91% of survey respondents pointed to an average growth of almost 26% in mobile app development spending. However, deployment of these apps is languishing.

Over one quarter of global enterprises have not customised or developed apps within the past year. While this number may seem high, it is lower than the 39 percent of companies that had not developed apps in 2016.

Lines of business taking over mobility

Due to these unmet needs, more lines of business (LOB) are taking over responsibility for mobility. In all, 74% of total mobility spending now happens outside of IT departments, up from 69% the prior year. Gartner expects that by 2020, 70% of all enterprise mobile apps will be developed or adopted without IT involvement.

A lack of visibility into mobility management and performance

Most enterprises are struggling to maintain visibility across their mobile device deployments to understand which devices are in use, which are performing well, which need replacement, which apps are being used and how a myriad of other data points can be analysed to determine enterprise mobility’s overall performance. Complicating this need for aggregated performance reporting is a mix of different device types. 

The complexity of this multiple variables driving mobile performance either makes vendor-specific management platforms to myopic for the enterprise or requires a myriad of management systems and tools to understand and manage mobility at the enterprise level.

Conclusion

Clearly, a seismic shift in enterprises’ expectations for mobility and the internal resources needed to plan, deploy and support devices, users and applications has occurred.

Working against a backdrop of increasing complexity, enterprises frequently seek out an expert MMS provider with deep technical knowledge of devices, planning and deployment strategies, management platforms and 24x7x365 support. Collaborating with an MMS provider delegates responsibility to a turnkey mobile specialist, freeing internal IT teams to focus on business-critical technical initiatives.

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