How Mobility Is Changing the Enterprise

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Harvard Business Review

WITH THE BOOM in smartphones and tablets, we are in the vortex of the technological shift from Mobile 1.0 to Mobile 2.0. The zenith of the Mobile 1.0 explosion came late in 2008, when the sales of laptops sur¬passed the sales of desktop PCs for the first time. Enterprises had long before begun outfit¬ting what they called “road warriors” with laptops—salespeople, field support personnel, and on-the-go executives—giving them access to inventory, documentation, and other databases. Simple wireless antennas, followed by built-in Wi-Fi, coupled with virtual private network software, made logging on anywhere and anytime almost as easy as it was in an office.

Later enterprises realized that by outfitting even more employees with laptop computers instead of desktop computers, even traditional office workers could improve their productiv¬ity. Employees could collaborate in conference rooms, in the offices of partners and suppliers, and in airports, no matter where their work took them. History is about to repeat itself. Sometime in 2015, according to a Forrester Research fore¬cast,1 the sales of tablets will overtake laptops. If Mobile 1.0 was about the extension ofcor¬porate data to mobile devices, Mobile 2.0 is about innovation and transformation.

According to the results of an online February 2012 survey by IDG Research Services, three drivers are accelerating the demand for mobile access to enterprise apps: executive demand, the increasingly mobile workforce, and customer’s demand for real-time informa¬tion and action.  According to the IDG survey, more than half of the respondents have deployed industry-specific mobile applications and half have deployed mobile apps for specific de¬partments, such as finance, human resources, sales, or field ser¬vice. In addition, almost half have deployed dashboards, access to analytics, and key performance indicator alerts on mobiledevices. 

A recent IDG Global Solutions survey and report on mobile device use by more than 20,000 IT professionals, line-of-business managers, and con¬sumers reported that almost half watched work-related video on their mobile devices. Interestingly, more of them watched more technology content after hours (68 percent) and on weekends (57 percent) than during business hours (40 percent).

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