VDC recently published research for The Global Market For Enterprise Mobile Devices, 2013, forecasting that the market for mobile devices deployed by business and government users will grow to $138.6 billion and 306.9 million units in 2017 – compared to the 2012 market of $116.2 billion and 220.4 million units. I suspect that the 2017 forecast figures may be achieved in a much shorter time.
The VDC report goes on to state that the efforts to mobilize workers everywhere is likely to be "chaotic and disruptive to the technology vendor community". As with most technology 'disruptions', the effects can be both positive and negative. But for enterprises of all sizes mobility is a disruption that not only should not be ignored but embraced and exploited on many fronts including business model innovation.
For a single enterprise, mobile software technology can run the gamut of: websites and digital marketing, employee productivity apps, collaboration with partners and employees, mobile sales access for buyers, customer service, and management access to real-time insight. For enterprises pursuing a "mobile first" approach to all or most of the software used by the enterprise, a significant evolution will be set into motion where "traditional" enterprise software will change to complement mobile apps and vice versa.
In a mobile first world organizations should get to work now to handle the big changes for how customers will do business with them. Internal business processes and functions in the enterprise must change to become part of the mobility evolution. Mobility goes beyond cool technology – it brings enterprises to new ways of doing business both internally and externally, and for connecting to customers.
In his blog post,Yankee Group's Chris Marsh discusses the many opportunities and obstacles facing decision-making for taking the evolutionary steps for effective mobility:
The enterprise mobility industry is at a pivotal time as companies look to gain greater mobile maturity. In doing this they need to pass through three phases:
Opportunistic mobility: Where the majority of companies still reside, characterized by the deployment of point solutions to siloed groups of workers, with limited extendibility of the architecture supporting those deployments, and with decisions heavily user as opposed to business influenced.
Strategic mobility: Where more forward-looking companies have migrated to, as they address larger subsets of workers based on the beginning of a common architecture and a more policy-driven approach; where sophisticated administration tools are used to scale policy, security and compliance across mobile assets.
- Mobile first: Few, if any, companies are at this stage, where mobility is integrated into and being used to re-envision business processes, where it heavily influences work behaviors, and where both internal and customer-facing activities have been broadly mobilized.
Further fueling changes to how enterprises operate in a mobile first world is the fact that the Cloud and Mobile are rapidly becoming one and the same. There are still technology issues to be ironed out – but there is no doubt these two disruptive forces are changing enterprises and how they do business. The businesses that find the most success are those that are proactively tackling how to best implement and exploit what mobility has to offer. Those organizations that choose to remain laggards will be very large losers in a very short time – both cloud and mobile are on fast tracks for the foreseeable future.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective