Mighty Mobility

Feature Article | April 5, 2011 by Heather McIlvaine

Mobile devices and applications will transform business (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

Mobile devices and applications will transform business (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

Sybase, an SAP company, recently published the Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011. The guide features articles from and interviews with mobility leaders at Sybase, SAP, Accenture, RIM, Google, Verizon, and other companies at the forefront of enterprise mobility.

These industry experts share their thoughts on the fears that keep some companies from embracing mobility, the demands of managing a mobile workforce, and the ways mobile applications will transform business.

Why mobility is here to stay

By the end of 2011, smartphone users will make up the majority of mobile phone users in the United States, according to The Nielsen Company. And the trend is not specific to the U.S.: Smartphone sales worldwide increased 87% in Q4 2010 over Q4 2009. As technical capabilities improve and prices drop, smartphones and tablets will become even more ubiquitous.

Even when a smartphone or tablet is purchased for personal use, you can bet it will find its way into the workplace. A Forrester survey of the U.S. workforce indicates that 48% of employees use a personal mobile device to check work email, and 42% use it to search the internet for work-related information. Employees want mobility, and they’re not waiting around for management to implement a mobile strategy first.

Demand for mobility in the workplace will only continue to grow: Young professionals now entering the workforce have grown up with mobile devices, and they will expect to make use of this technology at work as they already do at home. Clearly, enterprise mobility is here to stay.

CIOs should be thrilled to hear that. Read on to find out why mobility is good for business.

Next Page: Mobility: It’s good for business

Mobility: It’s good for business

Studies show that organizations benefit from mobility. In a 2010 Forrester survey of over 2,200 network and telecom decision-makers, 75% reported increased worker productivity after their firm deployed mobile applications. Respondents also noted faster resolution of IT and customer issues and increased customer satisfaction. In a separate survey, most companies that allow the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace reported higher employee satisfaction.

Yet despite these benefits, many organizations remain hesitant to integrate mobile devices and applications into their daily business. The Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011 addresses the most common concerns that cause companies to delay mobility.

Fear of the unknown

Many companies are plagued by device indecision. That is, they’re unsure whether to support one or multiple mobile operating systems, and whether to supply all employees with the same device or to allow employees to bring their own device.

Conventional wisdom says to go with multiple mobile platforms, but that means companies must deploy applications and security updates to various devices and operating systems, which could be costly and time-consuming for IT.

Application integration on the back end is also a major concern for many businesses. Employees need to be able to do more than just check work email on their mobile devices. Integration across a variety of enterprise applications and data stores is essential for a fully functional mobile workforce.

Enterprises, of course, want to accomplish all this without compromising data security or the bottom line. According to a 2011 study by Kelton Research, security fears have caused 75% of companies to delay rolling out mobile applications at one time or another, while cost concerns have caused 54% of businesses to hold off.

On the next page, we take a look at the four must-haves for mobile security.

Next Page: Mobility meets security

250 companies in the U.S. and U.K. named security and cost as top concerns (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

250 companies in the U.S. and U.K. named security and cost as top concerns (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

Mobility meets security

When it comes to mobile security, CIOs are mostly worried about the interception of data in transit and the retrieval of information from a lost or stolen phone. Joe Owen, Vice President of Engineering at Sybase, an SAP company, defines four mobile security must-haves that will allay CIOs fears:

  • Require employees to set a strong password and change it every three to six months.
  • In case a device gets lost or stolen, you need to be able to remove information remotely.
  • If your company supports a “bring your own device” policy, you’ll want to keep enterprise data and personal data separate. When an employee leaves the company, IT can remove corporate data from the device without deleting personal information.
  • Encrypt enterprise data during transit and when stored in the device’s memory.

Companies can fulfill these security requirements with a mobile enterprise application platform, or MEAP. In fact, a MEAP will help companies address most of the mobility concerns we outlined on the previous page.

A closer look at MEAP

A mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) provides a unified platform for organizations to develop, deploy, and manage applications within an enterprise. MEAPs are device agnostic and can support various mobile platforms. The platform also makes use of standard development tools, so organizations can easily develop and customize their own applications. Companies are able to write an application once and run it on various devices. These features produce a lower total cost of ownership per mobile employee. Security concerns are also addressed: a MEAP allows organizations to remove data from a lost or stolen device remotely.

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, “95% of organizations will be choosing MEAP or packaged mobile application vendors as their primary mobile development platforms.”

One such mobile development platform is the Sybase Unwired Platform. The Sybase Unwired Platform offers all of the functionality described above and can be integrated with Afaria, Sybase’s device management and security solution. Keep an eye out for an upcoming SAP.info article on these Sybase offerings.

MEAPs orchestrate back end data, mobile applications, and various mobile devices (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

MEAPs orchestrate back end data, mobile applications, and various mobile devices (source: Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011)

Next Page: Mobility will transform business

Mobility will transform business

Mobile applications are already transforming many lines-of-business, with customer relationship management leading the way. Mobile CRM adoption is ahead of all other applications, other than email. With real-time access to customer information, employees are more responsive to customers and can resolve issues faster. They increase revenue by improving customer retention and making more deals.

Adoption rates of mobile applications for workflow management, such as authorization and request execution, follow closely behind CRM. Companies can run one application for multiple business processes on various devices and operating systems, increasing efficiency and reducing cost.

Mobile applications are also transforming the way certain industries do business. A mobile point-of-sale application for retail allows sales clerks to check inventory and order out-of-stock items from the floor. They can perform transactions from anywhere with a hand-held device. A mobile field service application enables cable service technicians to offer customers promotion packages during service calls. Industries are implementing mobility in various ways, but the common thread is increased worker efficiency, higher revenues, and reduced cost.

The public sector and utilities industry benefit from mobile workflow applications. Switching to a paperless workflow process helps them reduce administrative expense and increase data accuracy. The education and healthcare industries have already seen success in implementing mobile devices in the classroom and on rounds.

What’s next in the world of mobility? According to the Enterprise Mobility Guide, 2011 will see the development of more serious business applications. Mobile applications will also become a core offering, rather than a fringe add-on.

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