Enterprise mobility entails a gradual, but extensive, evolution in how companies run their day-to-day business. With the popularity of the Apple iPad and Android-based tablets on the rise, businesses are starting to adopt mobile technologies to improve communication and collaboration. Mobile Enterprise/Device Management service provider Zenprise (news, site) has shared some predictions in the enterprise mobility scene for 2011.
In a survey among Zenprise’s approximately 350 enterprise clients, along with industry trends, the company has come up with predictions that could help businesses manage their own deployment of mobility tools and systems in the short term. Zenprise CEO, Jayaram Bhat, stresses the evolving needs of businesses with regard to working while on the go. "As a result, mobile management and security in 2011 will require taking a broader, more holistic approach that encompasses the people, the technology and the business process."
Touch Interface Trumps Traditional Keyboard and Keypad Entry
Email, SMS and instant messaging have long been the killer applications of portable devices, particularly in the enterprise setting. However, with larger touch-based interfaces on the rise, users are quickly shifting to iPhones, iPads and other tablet devices. Touch screens have been found to be more intuitive in terms of the user interface. Meanwhile, bigger tablets like the iPad have found favor with enterprises over smaller mobile phones because of their flexibility and better computing potential.
Zenprise predicts that 2011 will be the year when tablet computing devices will trump the laptop, in terms of popularity. Traveling executives will particularly find lighter and more user-friendly devices to be more ideal than traditional laptop computers for certain needs. Gartner (news, site) was cited as predicting tablet sales to reach 54.8 million units in 2011, growing to 208 million by 2014.
Application-based Transactions On the Rise
Web based applications and services started becoming popular, with data increasingly going to the cloud. Due to the rising popularity of mobile devices as the preferred means of transacting while on the go however, applications will start gaining ground again, in terms of traffic and transactions. Zenprise’s study predicts that employees will increasingly use “micro” applications for doing office transactions.
Security is a Growing Concern
While enterprise mobility enables employees and managers to do business while on the move, there are also increased risks that mobile access will entail. For one, being able to access information anywhere at any time can be a human-resources issue. Being connected 24/7 will quickly blur work and personal lives. This already has several labor lawsuits as precedent. Employees will claim being required to work on-the-go without pay. Therefore, corporate policies will have to be clear on after-hours work done on mobile devices, and the proper compensation thereof.
Finally, there is the security risk of mobile devices carrying information outside of the confines of an office. First, tablets and mobile phones are prone to theft or loss — corporate data along with it. Second, malware and other vulnerabilities are always a looming threat whenever computing devices are considered. In this case, mobile devices can act as a carrier of malware from the Internet-at-large into the office network. As a result, businesses see a growing need to use mobile security solutions that will reduce or mitigate the risk of losing sensitive information stored on mobile devices.