There is still a wide variety of approaches to mobility and consumerisation within the enterprise, according to market research firm IDC.
These range from ignoring the trend entirely to embracing the trend to drive business value, said John Delaney, associate vice-president, Europe consumer mobile, at IDC.
At the cutting edge, businesses are using mobility and consumerisation to drive forward business objectives, he told the IDC Consumerisation of IT Conference 2013 in London.
These leading companies are using mobility as the IT platform of choice to improve productivity, flexibility and collaboration for employees, as well as facilitate interaction with customers and partners.
For most enterprises, however, mobility projects are ad hoc, even though it is taken seriously as an IT activity, and there tends to be a lot of duplication of effort, said Delaney.
At the bottom end of the scale, there are still companies that are trying to ignore the trend towards mobility and consumerisation, giving other projects priority.
“As a result, business units are tending to bypass IT to procure their own devices and services, which is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Delaney.
Benefits of BYOD
According to the latest IDC six-monthly survey, 50% of European enterprises do not have or plan to have formal bring your own device (BYOD) policies.
“This means a large proportion of companies are in denial and at risk of being left behind, however some of that 50% are instead adopting a choose your own device approach,” said Delaney.
Choose your own device means that companies identify a range of devices from which employees can choose from to either buy on purchase plans or have supplied by the company.
Of those companies that have formal BYOD policies, Delaney said an increasing proportion are going down this route for positive and practical reasons.
“Two years ago, they were doing it because they realised they needed to react, but now the policies are aimed at improving productivity, reducing costs, enabling employee and customer interaction with the company, and to further company goals,” he said.
IDC research shows that enterprise use follows general market trends, with Google Android devices dominating, followed by devices using Apple’s iOS and a host of others.
“Enterprises are having to deal with the challenges of fragmentation and diversity, particularly in the Android market,” said Delaney.
Android is also a challenge from a security point of view, he said, because of fewer controls on the Google Play app store and the fact that attackers are being attracted by the big user numbers.
“Suppliers are already stepping in, however, with BAE Systems producing a secure version of Android for enterprise use, for example,” said Delaney.
Managing enterprise mobility
Enterprises are also facing the challenge of dealing with the diversity of applications available that shape the use of smartphones and the use of cloud-based storage.
IDC research shows that of those enterprise employees that use personal cloud storage services, 20% admit to using them to store enterprise data.
“This represents a potentially significant leakage of enterprise data,” said Delaney.
Collectively, the research indicates that the proliferation of consumer devices and cloud-based services within the context of work means this is something that enterprises need to address proactively.
According to Delaney, this realisation is what is driving leading companies to adopt new mobile devices and apps as a new IT platform.
“This is only in the early stages, but we are starting to see significant adoption of mobile devices and tools,” he said.
These forward-leaning companies are moving to the next phase and proactively developing apps for business partners as a mainstream activity of the IT department.
These companies are also actively integrating mobile applications into their back-end systems, including enterprise databases and analytics systems for business intelligence purposes.
“Again suppliers are responding by expanding mobile device management (MDM) offering to include tings like security, content, and machine-to-machine communications,” said Delaney.
Application developers are also responding, according to IDC research.
The most recent survey shows nearly half are developing apps primarily for enterprise, up from just 29% in 2010.
Research also shows that mobilising the workforce is the biggest challenge in this area for organisations, particularly in the UK, followed by providing security support.
“However, the market is maturing and we are seeing the early stages of mobility management in the UK,” said Delaney.
Research shows that 13% of UK organisations are moving to wider mobile device management (MDM) that includes app, content and security components.
“This shows some organisations are already thinking the same way as the leading-edge organisations, and around a third are planning to move that way in the next six to 12 months,” said Delaney.
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