Plate Spinning: How to Manage the Move to Next-Gen Enterprise Mobility


Spinning plates

Boosting employee productivity sits at the top of nearly every survey focused on the anticipated benefits of workforce mobilization – including this one. Businesses of all sizes are counting on continued advances bringing increases in profitability and competitiveness.

To reap those benefits, though, enterprises will require a smooth and effective migration – easier said than done.

Enterprise mobility is actually evolving through a series of simultaneous, interdependent transitions.

That’s a lot of plates in the air.

Let’s take a look at four of the most prominent transitions.

From Tactical to Strategic

The initial influx of mobility forced enterprises into a tactical mindset.

The concept of workers accessing corporate data and resources using personal communications devices was foreign to most IP departments, which saw the trend of IT consumerization as more of a threat than an opportunity.

Accordingly, IT spent most of its time putting up barriers between BYOD-wielding end users and corporate data, rather than working with those employees to improve efficiency. Here’s a ZDNet blog from 2012 that attributes IT worker insomnia to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

But reactive thinking is now giving way to strategic planning.

After getting a handle on BYOD, IT is now teaming up with line-of-business leaders to drive employee productivity to new levels.

Workforce mobilization is steadily being recognized as an essential component of an overall business strategy.

From Device-centric to App-centric

The first phase of enterprise mobility – dominated by BYOD – was all about devices. The small amount of management that organizations applied to the mobile workforce was done at the device level.

The primary shortcoming of a device-centric approach is the lack of granularity – common IT operations, like wiping out data in the case of a lost or stolen smartphone or tablet, had to be executed on the entire device, resulting in personal data being killed along with any work-related information.

Responding to the shortcomings of a device-centric approach, businesses are implementing technologies, such as containerization and enterprise application stores, which enable IT administrators to control portions of a mobile device, such as a workspace reserved for business-only content or an individual application.

The added degree of granularity is instrumental in reducing the threat of attacks and data leakage, as well as alleviating end user concerns about losing personal data.

From Email to Business Process Mobilization

Making corporate email accessible from mobile devices was an undeniable boon to employee productivity and collaboration, but it’s the access to behind-the-firewall information and mobile-specific apps that will turbocharge innovation and increase the velocity of business decisions.

That’s why the next phase of enterprise mobility, according to a consensus of observers, will be fueled by a rapid acceleration in the development of compelling mobile apps and the efficient mobilization of core business processes.

Extending the core of the enterprise to mobile endpoints will provide employees with the information they need at the right place and right time.

From Centralized to Distributed

The center of the enterprise mobility universe has shifted significantly.

Once centralized with the CIO, enterprise mobility planning in many organizations is moving toward a distributed model, as line-of-business leaders now actively direct the course of workforce mobilization.

Market research firm J. Gold Associates estimates that roughly 65% of enterprise mobility implementation and purchasing decisions are made by LOB, rather than IT.

While the IT department may no longer have the loudest voice in enterprise mobility planning, it can still play an influential role by shepherding the interests of various business units toward a common goal.

NGEM Artwork

Diving Deeper

Unleashing Business Transformation Through Mobility, a recent BlackBerry white paper and navigational aid for IT managers and business leaders, provides organizations of all sizes with a glimpse of enterprise mobility’s future, as well as advice on how best to evolve workforce mobilization initiatives to make their businesses better.

About Joe McGarvey

An Enterprise Mobility Strategist at BlackBerry, McGarvey has covered the enterprise and telecommunications industries for more than 20 years as both a journalist and analyst. He is best-known as a long-time principal analyst at leading market research firm Current Analysis. McGarvey has also been an analyst for Heavy Reading and an editor at several leading technology magazines.

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