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With all of the research and resources being poured into mobile, you’d think every single company would have a mobile strategy in place — and be hard at work executing it. However, the number is probably lower than you think.

According to a study by Lopez Research, more than 75 percent of enterprise companies surveyed concede their e-mail, calendar and contact applications are all they have enabled for mobile.

“The vast majority of businesses are either just getting started or are just starting to realize they need to accelerate their mobility needs,” said Adam Stein, vice president of mobile solution and product marketing for SAP.

“Twenty-five percent are using apps for workforce management, productivity gains and to improve the customer experience. And that really helps them make gains in the mobile organization."

Why So Slow?

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Stein gave a variety of reasons why companies have been slow to jump on the mobile bandwagon. Some don't know how to start. Others believe the transition to mobile will be too difficult.

“They want to be careful of giving up the security of existing applications,” said Stein. “They think it will take up to a year, whereas it could take 30 days to mobilize an existing app.”

For companies wondering how to start on the road to mobile, Stein recommends (not surprisingly, given his affiliation) taking a look at SAPMobileJourney.com. The interactive mobile journey strategy map gives enterprises at the beginner, advanced and expert levels of the adoption curve, tips and considerations for moving ahead with mobile.

Although the map includes SAP solutions and customer stories, it also highlights relevant research about the mobile space, and provides issues to consider for those ready to take the next step with mobile.

Stein also gave us a rundown of the top three trends he thinks all companies need to consider regarding mobile, regardless of where they are on the adoption curve.

Key Mobile Capabilities

1. Cybersecurity

With the increased number of employees bringing their own devices (BYOD) to work, companies are at higher risk of a breach, said Stein.

“The attack surface is growing rapidly on most enterprises,” he stated. “Businesses will need more protection to prevent hackers from gaining access.”

One place to start is by focusing on your application stack, he continued.

“Spend time on applications and content beyond the device,” he said. “Devices are important to limit hackers, but the attack surface can be greater with applications.”

He added that it’s important to think about the overall attack surface and how to limit it and protect it through methods like encryption and VPN functionality.

Another issue most companies don’t think about, said Stein, is the fact that, when employees use their own devices, they not only access your company applications, but they bring their own applications with them (BYOX – Bring Your Own Everything).

“People aren’t just bringing their devices, they’re bringing their own consumer-style apps and content management, like Dropbox and SkyDrive,” he said. “They may be putting confidential data into those applications.”

The solution?

“Don’t punish employees for not using company applications, but reward people for using them.” said Stein. “Give them an easier way to store, distribute and share content.”

2. Industrial Applications

Industrial applications are a growing sector of the mobile market, and increasingly in demand, noted Stein.

“If you look at industry apps and where they’ve gone – that generation of computing is quickly coming to an end,” said Stein. “What the CIO’s and CEO’s of these companies are seeing is that a lot of business partners and customers are looking for organizations with mobile access to be that company’s partner.”

Because of this, industrial mobile innovation and adoption are on the rise, he added.

For example, rather than having to bring large industrial machinery into a showroom to fix as most industrial goods manufacturers have had to do in the past, that manufacturer could dispatch technicians to the customer site more efficiently with work order management using virtual apps.

“These apps let the technician know they’re going on a work order request, understand which parts are needed based on age, know the history of the machinery, and can have a parts depot ship the parts ahead of time so there is less downtime,” he said.

3. Contextual and Actionable Data

By giving workers context-based information through devices that are aware of their surroundings, said Stein, companies can increase the productivity of their workforce, allowing them to make decisions faster than ever before, in real time.

He gave the example of how a field worker at a water district could operate a dam through a mobile device armed with contextual capabilities.

“When you look at the IoT [internet of things], if you have a sensor on a dam, and there’s a flood coming, the dam sensors can release enough water to avoid flooding,” he said. “Without IoT sensors and context-based capabilities in weather service, the dam would have no way of reacting to weather force.”

To boost personal productivity, businesses could provide mobile workers with the capability to access applications that would automatically update their appointments and travel plans based on a change in one event, such as a meeting being rescheduled, said Stein.

“To have those things trigger off of each other and not have to figure that out, that’s the start of contextual-based computing.”

Title image by Asa Aarons Smith/all rights reserved.