The mobility landscape is a constantly evolving business sphere. Given its ever-changing nature, enterprises must constantly be prepared to adapt to new mobile technologies and trends in order to effectively operate with the times. Thus, “enterprise mobility”, as a strategic business concept, is quite fluid.
Clutch partnered with DMI, a leading end-to-end mobility services company , to produce a survey of 582 enterprises (defined as companies with 500+ employees) in efforts to understand how exactly enterprises define and approach this crucial business pursuit. Specifically, this survey sought to identify trends, and the future direction enterprises plan to take, regarding their approach to mobile strategy and investment.
- Cloud integration is the top mobility priority among enterprises, both in terms of current efforts and future plans.
- Managed services— mobile device management, mobile application management, and mobility managed services—all rank within the four most common mobility efforts pursued by enterprises.
- Enterprises struggle to find a balance between access and security regarding their data. “Improved data access” ranked among the biggest benefits, while "data security" was identified as the leading challenge, of mobility investments.
Defining Mobility in the Enterprise
Mobility, as a strategic business pursuit, is nearly unanimous in the enterprise; currently, 89% percent of enterprises have a mobility strategy in place.
An enterprise mobility strategy, though, has no one standard definition. Richard Rabins, CEO of Alpha Software, describes a mobility strategy as primarily concerned with “defining the areas where mobile can impact [enterprises] the most, by either getting information faster and then acting on that information”.
In the survey, we followed Rabins’ impact-centric model by defining “mobility strategy” according to the scope of mobility efforts pursued by enterprises.
Based on this research, the scope of enterprise mobility strategies can be broken down into two distinct, but interconnected, central tenets:
- Mobilizing company data, via transitioning to and leveraging cloud services, and the security quandary that process creates.
- Utilizing software, solutions, and services designed to manage mobile applications and devices, along with other operational mobility investments in the enterprise, for example, hiring an enterprise app development company.
1. Mobilizing Data: Cloud/Security Complex
Formerly concerned primarily with expanding mobile communication capabilities, mostly through the provision of mobile devices to employees and access to email and corporate channels, the major focus in enterprise mobility has recently shifted toward the larger strategic objective of mobilizing company data.
“We have seen the way mobility has grown in the enterprise - initially it was about device security and accessing emails. Now enterprise mobility is more about applications and data,” said Varun Dogra, Chief Technology Officer, DMI. “Enterprises are moving towards providing secure access to enterprise data. They are looking for ways to improve the productivity of their workforce by ensuring their employees have secure access to accurate and timely information while they are on the move. It’s mobile first, cloud first everywhere.”
As Dogra explains, the primary vehicle by which this large-scale data mobilization effort is accomplished is through using cloud solutions.
For Dogra, the move to cloud for enterprises is about three things in particular:
Ultimately, through facilitating scalable data management and expanding employee access to company data, all the while enhancing mobile security, the cloud provides enterprises with an advanced degree of flexibility in handling company data, thus allowing it to be used as a ubiquitous business resource.
However, more fluid data mobilization, as facilitated by the cloud, presents an added dimension to the existing enterprise mobility security complex.
“Now that mobile devices are being used for more than just email, it’s not just about securing the device. With increased access to corporate data, organizations are moving from securing the device to securing the data.”-Kathleen Urbine, Executive Vice President for Mobility Managed Services, DMI.
Specifically, mobility-related business investments have a compounding effect on security concerns due to the increased number of end points-i.e smartphones, tablets, and sensors- that all have access to company data and networks. As Urbine describes, enterprises must now secure the physical device, the data it can access, as well as its points of access.
Ultimately, this process and added premium on data security fuels a sort of “access vs. security” dynamic in the enterprise, in which enhanced mobile access provided by investment in the cloud becomes pitted against the security threat it poses.
This quandary is apparent when measuring the benefits against the challenges of investing in mobility: “improved data access” is listed as a top benefit of investing in mobility, while “data security” is pegged as the biggest challenge (ahead of budget).
Faced with this issue, enterprises are hard pressed to find a balance, or tolerance to the level of data exposure they are comfortable with. Jason Sinchak, Chief Technology Officer of Sentegrity, says enterprises have to be up to the task of measuring how that balance can be reached: “The solution to this issue revolves around balancing usability with the security needs of the enterprise. This can be done by measuring the trustworthiness of the device (security) and user (based on behaviors exhibited) to determine an appropriate level of authentication to enforce for a given situation.”
Sinchak’s nuance underscores the new reality regarding enterprise data security in an increasingly mobile economy, in which data security will always be a challenge. Given this situation, the best an enterprise can do is find a happy medium, or appropriate level of authentication in any given situation, that effectively minimizes security risk.
2. Managing Mobile Apps and Devices
While cloud integration tops the list as the most common current mobility effort in the enterprise, three of the four most common efforts regard the management of existing mobility pursuits and investments, namely mobile apps and devices.
Nearly two-thirds of enterprises invest in mobility solutions such as mobile device management, mobile application management, or leverage managed mobility services, in order to deliver their mobility solutions.
Kathleen Urbine, who runs managed services for DMI, describes the concept of using a managed services approach to deliver an organization’s mobility solutions as “relieving an organization of administrative and infrastructure burdens in order to concentrate on the organization’s mission, reduce cost, increase security, and deliver a consistent user experience.”
As Urbine surmises, managed services use a shared cost model to reduce cost, allowing enterprises to redirect their mobility budget dollars toward other investment priorities while still harvesting the benefits of previous mobility investments, like mobile apps and devices.
“Companies that have made prior investments in managed mobility are starting to see the cost benefits of those investments. With a streamlined mobile environment, they are now able to reap greater benefits with lower investments, giving them the opportunity to focus on other priorities, such as cloud integration or IoT.”
– Varun Dogra, CTO, DMI
This effect of these solutions can be seen with enterprises investments in mobile application management (MAM). More enterprises expect to receive benefits from MAM (10%) than expect to increase investment (6%) in it in 2017. (See below graph: Mobility Areas of Impact in 2017.)
Mobility in 2017
Our research shows that 69% of enterprises expect investment in mobility to increase in 2017. A recent report done by Enterprise Mobility Exchange on the outlook of mobility in 2017 reinforces this finding, and indicates that well over half of organizations expect their mobility budgets to increase. Both reports also find that less than 8% of organizations will decrease their investment in mobility over the next year.
Specifically, the expected primary mobility areas of impact in 2017—cloud integration and security—are extensions of the mobility priorities of 2016.
Cloud integration and mobile security are expected to bring benefit (28%, 17% respectively) as well as experience investment growth (30%, 18% respectively) by more enterprises than any areas in mobility this year. With the increased focus on newer focus-centers in enterprise mobility, enterprises will continue the trend away from traditional mobility pursuits, like providing mobile devices to employees and mobile application management (6% each).
In addition, the increased investment among enterprises in these specific mobility efforts over the next year will likely further fuel the “access/security” dynamic as a challenge for enterprises. Thus, going forward, enterprises will continue to grapple with the reality of ever-increasing mobile security exposure. That being said, they will also continue to streamline and scale data accessibility and security using cloud, facilitating more efficient more efficient business and operations.
DMI, the world’s first end-to-end mobility company, combines all the skills and services necessary to deliver mobile enterprise solutions. Built to reinvent business through mobility, DMI has expertise in mobile strategy, UX, web, and app development, omni-channel commerce, brand and marketing, big data management and analytics, and secure device and app management.