The Mobile Enterprise is Here and Now

By: In: Information Management On: Feb 10, 2011

The numbers and projections on mobile data growth from Cisco last week in its Visual Network Index (VNI) report, while mind blowing, simply confirm what most of us have expected. Mobile data is exploding. According to the study, the amount of data passed over the mobile Internet will increase 26 fold between 2010 and 2015. Where is all this growth coming from? The boom of smartphones and tablets, the spike in mobile applications and especially the growth of video are all to blame. In 2015, there will be more than 7.1 billion mobile-connected devices — approximately equal to the world’s population in 2015 (7.2 billion).

The Android Honeycomb, Google’s new OS for tablets announced last week, will now make tablets available from a variety of hardware vendors similar to what we saw in the smartphone market. The tablet market now has many alternatives including the iPad, the RIM Playbook and the recently announced HP (with Microsoft still missing!), resulting in better affordability across a wider segment. This will further drive data growth as each tablet generates 5 times more traffic than the smartphone. We are also now seeing the cannibalization of PC and notebook growth by tablets, a clear sign that the tablet is emerging as its own category.

While consumer mobile growth across the world has been explosive, what about the enterprise? The Mobile Enterprise is here and now. Those enterprises that embrace this change will see new ways to make business processes more effective, new collaboration methods and significant growth in business productivity. Some will even find new business models that would not have been possible before the mobilization of the enterprise.

Mobile Workers Have Consumer Expectations

When it comes to accessing information—the speed, the flexibility, the experience—employees expect what they’ve come to enjoy as consumers. And those expectations are influencing change in the enterprise. Nowhere is this consumerization of IT trend felt more than with mobility.

The workforce is changing and a new generation of employees expects to be online at all times with fingertip access to enterprise applications. Employees expect anytime, anyplace access to information. These employees also seek to have a virtual work presence that does not require them to be tied to a desk or a PC. With the availability of technologies and devices for 24/7 connectedness, there is a redrawing of boundaries between work and personal  time and space, as The New York Times pointed out in last week’s story, Who’s the Boss, You or Your Gadget?.

Employees who carry their mobile device, glued to their body 24/7 justifiably think of it as a personal device. It’s a reflection of their tastes and who they are.  Often these employees are willing to purchase their device (“Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)”) acknowledging its dual personal and work use. Giving employees the freedom to choose their devices can make for a more attractive workplace and enhances productivity, but makes it impossible for IT to standardize on one mobile device for the enterprise.

Rapid Growth and Diversity of Smartphones – Source Asymco

The deployment of smartphones for email has been a major advance in enabling mobility in the enterprise. Mobile market intelligence blog, Asymco, points to the $85 smartphone as a possibility in the near future, which will make its presence in the enterprise ubiquitous. Employees bring into the enterprise a diversity of smartphones but also multiple mobile devices on their person. In the recent Pew Internet report, we see that users own multiple devices particularly Millennials (18-34) and Gen X-ers (35-46), some of whom have laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Ultimately, enterprises don’t really have much of a choice. A young workforce is at the gates, and they have never known a world without mobility. As enterprises embrace these new employees, businesses will become more agile and competitive.

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About the author

TM Ravi

T. M. Ravi is chief marketing officer for Iron Mountain responsible for marketing and strategy for the company’s cloud, on-premises and hybrid information management solutions that span data protection, archiving, eDiscovery and compliance. Ravi joined Iron Mountain through the acquisition of Mimosa Systems, the leader in enterprise content archiving, where he was founder, president and chief executive officer. Before Mimosa, Ravi was founder and CEO of Peakstone Corporation that provided performance management solutions for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to his role at Peakstone, Ravi was vice president of marketing at Computer Associates (CA), Ravi he was responsible for the core line of CA enterprise management products, including CA Unicenter as well as the areas of application, systems and network management, software distribution, help desk, security, and storage management. Ravi joined CA through the $1.2 billion acquisition of Cheyenne Software, the market leader in storage management and antivirus solutions. At Cheyenne Software, he was the vice president responsible for the company's successful Windows NT business with products, such as ARCserve backup and InocuLAN antivirus. Earlier in his career, Ravi worked in Hewlett-Packard's Information Architecture Group, where he did product planning for client/server and storage solutions. Ravi earned a MS and PhD from UCLA and a Bachelors of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, India.