It is hard to believe that the first-generation iPhone was only released eight short years ago, and trying to envision the private sector prior to this landmark breakthrough in computing technology is difficult at best. The average business is now heavily reliant upon smartphones and tablets - largely those manufactured by Apple and Samsung - and it has not even been a decade since the only device available in this category was the BlackBerry, which has since faded into black.
In the same vein, the enterprise mobility market has expanded so quickly in the past few years that it would be easy to assume investments into these industries would begin to plateau or even shrink back thanks to widespread adoption. This, however, has not been the case at all, as businesses, consumers and public-sector agencies continue to pour money into devices that are, for a moment's time, the "latest and greatest" technologies out there.
At the same time, organizations continue to struggle when working to not only protect themselves from mobile-related threats, but also to maximize the returns on investments made specifically for BYOD and other similar strategies. There is no denying that enterprise mobility will eventually make its way into every type of company, and one can only hope that leaders begin to gain a better handle on the management, security and optimization demands therein.
To get an idea of how complex the management requirements can be, check out this tutorial from Cisco that explains the backend networking demands of BYOD and mobility at large:
With all this in mind, it should be clear that entrepreneurs need to make the creation and execution of a sound, profitable mobility strategy a high priority in the coming years. Remember too that the Internet of Things, which is not necessarily directly linked to enterprise mobility but is similar in many management matters, is spreading. This means those firms that have fallen behind in their BYOD strategies need to act now to capitalize on the future.
A quick look
Just to provide some evidence that the enterprise mobility market is still indeed expanding, Mobile Commerce Press recently reported that the industry is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8 percent between 2015 and 2022. This shows that not only are companies still increasing their investments targeted at device, app and management software deployments, but also that the number of entities with relevant strategies in place will continue to grow for years to come.
The research anticipated that the enterprise mobility market will be valued at $6.6 billion globally this year, but will rise to $11.2 billion in annual investments by the end of the survey period in 2022. Some of these investments are likely to involve the unified communications and cloud services necessary to achieve an optimal enterprise mobility strategy. These solutions have also been growing in market size over the past few years and are expected to do so through the end of the decade.
Simply put, companies cannot simply tell their employees to begin using personal or corporate smartphones and watch the rewards stream in. Rather, a significant amount of work needs to be done to build the right strategy and craft relevant policies, support operating systems and apps, grant secure access to data for authorized parties and more. Luckily, a proverbial universe of best practice recommendations has been made available to help guide small-business owners through these procedures.
How smart is your plan?
Apps Tech News recently argued that most companies fit into one of three categories when it comes to effectiveness of BYOD policies, and those include aware, reactive and proactive. For obvious reasons, proactive is the stage that all companies should strive for, as it will generally translate to the most secure, productive and efficient use of smartphones, tablets, mobile apps and other assets within the strategy.
According to the news provider, proactive strategies will generally be clearly and intelligently defined, rich with personalized application development and represent a continued commitment to performance improvement every step of the way. In juxtaposition, reactive will be a middle-of-the-road type of position with respect to the types of solutions in place that are meant to manage mobility and a less thorough range of policies.
At the end of the day, companies will need to ensure that they are at least on the right path toward proactive management, as this cannot necessarily be achieved overnight. Setting achievable goals to reach the more advanced stages of enterprise mobility is a smart way to position the small business in a safe and forward-looking environment for the coming years, which might also help to avoid disruptions otherwise brought on by change.
"The right backend solutions must be in place for mobility."
The path forward
So, businesses will want to ensure that they are mindful of the impact of enterprise mobility, plan out their relevant investments intelligently and find ways to become more proactive in their handling of the strategies and included activity. However, this will be virtually impossible without the right backend solutions in place, as enterprise mobility can be extremely straining on a non-upgraded infrastructure.
First and foremost, leveraging cloud services to make mission-critical apps and data available for authorized users should be a priority, while expanding the network's capacity for traffic and usage will also need to be a priority. Network virtualization and cloud-based infrastructure can help to ensure that the mobile initiative is properly and consistently supported for all users, reducing the threat of downtime brought on by a hemorrhaged system.
Next, integrating enterprise mobility into the standing UC strategy will help to bring the initiative along significantly, especially from a management standpoint, as handling these processes separately will rarely yield optimal outcomes. Small-business owners might want to consider leveraging the support of a managed service provider that can help out with the UC and IT aspects of enterprise mobility optimization, as well as the long-term maintenance demands to sustain maximum performance.