Sunday, 12th December 2010
Tim Buckley Owen
Business professionals remain significantly ahead of consumers when it comes to using the mobile web, according to a new report from the Financial Times. Its findings are backed up by recent IT predictions from three further authorities – so why are respondents to FreePint’s own mobile survey so lukewarm about its adoption within the enterprise?
Unsurprisingly in view of its core business the FT report, Mobile in the Boardroom, is almost entirely concerned with executives’ use of news services and their propensity to pay for them. It doesn’t consider the rolling out of enterprise based content and applications to mobile devices (further findings and link to free report at http://digbig.com/5bdbxk).
But it does find that over 60% of business professionals are now using their mobiles to access the web, with almost as many using apps and levels of adoption among business users far outstripping those among consumers. So it’s inconceivable that those executives won’t be demanding mobile access to enterprise-based networks before too long.
Yet respondents to FreePint’s survey Enterprise Market for Mobile Content (which was partly sponsored by the FT, alongside Reed Elsevier, incidentally) raised all sorts of concerns. Managing single sign-on and authentication with mobile devices is difficult. Their implementation crosses many departments so lots of stakeholders need to be brought on board. Reliable industry standards are a prerequisite. And security is incredibly important (more detail and link to free report at http://web.freepint.com/go/about/press/61284).
Security worries or not, the trend towards use of mobile applications in the enterprise is unstoppable suggests one IT analyst, Gartner. By 2014, it predicts, 90% of organisations will support corporate applications on personal devices – and the main driver for their adoption will be individual employees who prefer to use private consumer smart phones or notebooks for business, rather than ‘old-style limited enterprise devices’ (http://digbig.com/5bdbxm).
Security issues are also acknowledged in the top ten enterprise IT trends for 2011 offered by another analyst, Ovum. The challenge will be to embrace mobile technology while maintaining a balance between user productivity and corporate security – but there are also big opportunities to revolutionise business processes it says (http://digbig.com/5bdbxn).
It’s not unreasonable to assume that significant impetus for corporate deployment of mobile applications will come from the upcoming millennial generation – so social networking will also play a large part. Social web specialist David Armano certainly believes so, commenting in a Harvard Business Review blog posting that 2011 will see social networking ‘on the go’, whether out of the house or the office (http://digbig.com/5bdbxp).
So all the signs are that mobile apps for the enterprise are unstoppable. Whatever reservations information managers may have, we’d better start planning for it – and if Gartner is to be believed, we have about three years.
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