Mobility adoption in the enterprise
For more than a decade, organizations across the globe have been discussing mobility and its enterprise readiness in general, or specific to their organization's applications and users. A decade ago, the decision was whether to adopt mobility or not. Today the decision to be made is what and how - which technology and how mobility can be implemented in the enterprise.
Humble beginnings were made when mobile phones were able to access the internet, and special web pages and applications were being built using WAP in the yesteryears. Mobility really came of age with the launch of the first smart phone by Apple, followed by rapid releases of Android smartphone operating systems by Google, and a whole universe of mobile phones built around Android.
Internet technology too changed with web technology evolving to detect mobile phones and show them pages designs adapted to show on the smaller screens of the mobile phones. Applications such as gmail, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter have further fuelled the adoption and usage of smartphones by every user - this adoption happening despite the higher costs of a touch based smartphone as against the traditional button dial phones.And then we had tablets which again gained wide adoption across the board. Mobile phones and tablets had come to stay as alternate devices for the end user to access applications on the internet - at home and at work. With smartphones having become extremely affordable, just about every employee in the enterprise owns a smart phone and is compute ready to access enterprise applications anytime anywhere.
This omnipresence of mobiles across all levels of the hierarchy has brought about several changes in the way organizations are looking at mobility and driving employee productivity
Lets take a look at some of the changes this mobility has brought about
- End point device agnostic –end users have a plethora of device options to access enterprise applications
- Real time access to information can be enabled, particularly analytics for quick informed decision making
- End user is compute ready for access to enterprise applications anytime, anywhere, from any device and on any network
- Many solutions with varying features and costs makes it difficult for the IT manager to decide which is the best option for them. Rapid and accelerated changes in mobility solutions as well as the technology landscape makes it even more difficult to decide on which solution is worth the investment for a decent ROI.
- Ever increasing security vulnerabilities and threats - with very serious consequences if security breaches occur.
- IT has little control over end user owned devices, and protecting enterprise IT while allowing the user access from their mobiles is a huge technology and human challenge.
Wide choice of Solutions
Given the omnipresence of the mobile, enterprises have also begun to provide access to email and selective enterprise applications on the mobile.They are looking at several solution providers to isolate enterprise applications on the mobile, get better management of the device and also ensure secure access and usage of the applications.
Products like AirWatch from VMWare, and Enterprise Mobility solutions from Microsoft provide a range of features for securing applications on the mobile, and securing the device itself. CISCO also has their own portfolio of mobility solutions.System Integrators such as Frontier work with these companies, and architect mobility solutions for the enterprise. Cloud providers such as AWS works with partners like Crimson Cloud and provides a range of services for developing mobile applications, testing and managing them.
Getting started on mobility
There is an urgency to implement secure mobile access to enterprise applications. Users are demanding it, and organizations will definitely be benefited with empowered employees who are available anywhere, anytime to attend to business.
However, mobility solutions need to be evaluated in-depth before adopting any technology or solution. When adopting solutions that provide application isolation and mobile device management, the mobility readiness of applications and IT infrastructure will have to be evaluated for security, portability (where applicable - especially legacy applications) and availability.
It is recommended that enterpriseswork with expert system integration companies such as Frontier Business Systems for on-premise solutions or Crimson Cloud, both of whom also happen to be vendor agnostic and have experience across a range of platforms and products.
Whichever solution(s) you shortlist, it is worthwhile to invest the time and effort necessary to have a Proof of Concept setup and tested extensively in your environment, for your applications and by your users.
Once the POC delivers results that meet your critieria, you may want to detail our your current infrastructure, applications that need mobile access, users and access rights, application integration with external systems, security criteria, and projection of user growth across geographies. You also will need to evaluate availability of skills for deployment, monitoring and management, and in the absence of adequate internal skills, set up a plan for outsourcing to companies such as Frontier or Crimson. After you have your plan and projections in place, you are probably in position to commission your mobility project.
When evaluating mobility solutions, it is also worthwhile for you to evaluate desktop virtualization, or even go in for 'Desktop as a Service'.Adopting either of these solutions will greatly enhance your IT security, tremendously simplify IT management, slash CAPEX and give your employees anytime, anywhere, any device access to your enterprise IT.