From iPhones and Android phones to iPads and tablet computers, new mobile devices and applications are turning businesses on their heads in every industry through both internal business value and external value with customer interactions.
Enterprises barely stabilized their laptop and BlackBerry deployments when they were hit with a more dynamic and radically different mobile environment in a short time period. Are the rewards worth the switch to the new mobile environment?
Sand Hill Group’s new study, “Leaders in Enterprise Mobile Strategies: Tug of War between Business Value and Risk” proves that the rewards are huge and the challenges are surmountable.
Mobility generates business value
From an enterprise perspective, mobility is not about the device. It’s about the ability to connect and conduct business transactions from convenient locations – beaches, cars, home offices, hotels, etc. It’s about improving collaboration and productivity of mobile employees, connecting with mobile customers, and enabling business on the move anywhere and anytime. It’s about building the backbone secure infrastructure and platforms to enable developing cross-platform mobile applications.
Early adopters in our study blazed the path to enterprise mobility and achieved dramatic successes. Our study revealed a lot of excitement among companies that moved to a mobile environment and leveraged it to create competitive differentiation and developed new go-to-market strategies.
Interviews with 20 leaders in enterprise mobility strategies describe mobility’s ability to open up new markets, increase customer satisfaction and improve employee collaboration, productivity and agility. The result? A more productive, leaner and competitive business. For example:
- A pharmaceutical company saved millions of dollars in sales costs by using mobile devices and eliminating paperwork and prep work for sales calls to physicians
- An entertainment company equipped some of its front-desk team members with iPads and associated card readers, enabling them to go into the lines of waiting customers and check them in faster.
- A service provider created an innovative app for iPads, which has the potential of generating $300 million in revenues.
These are but a few of the real-world examples of business benefits already realized by enterprise mobility leaders within their businesses. This new 60-page report provides more than 20 use cases and six detailed case studies of companies realizing significant business value across multiple vertical industries including Financial Services, Energy, Government, Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Logistics, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Media, High-Tech, Insurance, and Entertainment.
Based on 20 in-depth interviews of enterprise CIOs, CISOs, principals and vice presidents, as well as a quantitative survey of 53 enterprise executives, the Sand Hill study details strategies, lessons learned, challenge workarounds, cost analysis, pitfalls, best practices and a roadmap that enables enterprises to take action now and seize the dynamic opportunities of a mobile environment.
The study participants unanimously agreed that the rewards of transitioning to mobility are huge. Although technological and organizational challenges to adoption remain, many participants reported that these are not insurmountable. They reported that they will double or even triple their mobility investments in the next two years.
The following excerpts from the Leaders in Enterprise Mobile Strategies report outline sample use cases, who is driving the move to mobility, and some of the challenges around the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model, security, market fragmentation and vendor maturity challenges.
Use cases: the benefits of enterprise mobility
Check-in/check-out. Adapting mobile devices for ordering and check-in/out tasks enables companies to gain new customers and increase existing customers’ loyalty. This powerful strategy also increases productivity and reduces costs in internal tasks. A few examples include checking in at a doctor’s office, a hotel, or airport; checking inventory items in and out of warehouses; and ordering and paying for food at a restaurant
Change an airline flight reservation and check in seamlessly. A CEO described his experience of being in a taxi on the way to an airport and needing to change his flight. He used his mobile device to change the flight, then scanned the subsequent barcode sent to his mobile phone to check in at the TSA gate and at the boarding gate. No paper, no errors, fast and easy.
Top executives, along with employees, drive adoption
Unlike other enterprise technologies, driven by the IT group, employees are driving the pace of mobile adoption, wanting the same user-friendly computing at work that they enjoy outside of work. Importantly, our interviewees stated that a sizeable number of these employees are actually top executives. They were immediately attracted to the competitive benefits of iPads when they were first launched into the market.
Our online survey respondents also indicated that senior executive roles – heads of business units and executive management – are driving the use of mobile solutions in their companies. We interviewed a CIO who related the following incident:
“When an airline pilot heard that another airline replaced paper flight plans with iPads in order to cut down on paper and increase efficiency, he looked into how to do the same thing at his company.”
“Bring Your Own Device” model is not a black-or-white decision
Whether or not to allow a Bring Your Own Device model is a hot topic at most of the companies we surveyed and executives we interviewed. A few had already implemented a BYOD model (“it just sort of happened,” one CIO stated) and were backtracking to establish BYOD policies. Others were facing a lot of employee demand and consequently were considering the issues surrounding switching to BYOD.
However, BYOD is not a black-or-white decision. Some companies are supplying corporate devices to employees who need them (e.g., sales people, executives, and employees on the move), and also allowing limited network access to corporate resources such as email to those employees who bring their own devices.
This is not really at a policy level yet. It is more a case of: “We will give access to corporate email on your device, if you ask for it.” The study outlines the economics of the BYOD model, explores the impact of BYOD on employee productivity, collaboration, and privacy, and provides practical tips on how to implement BYOD policies and pitfalls to avoid.
“Users have their own likes and dislikes, and the devices are fully capable in either case. As long as we can secure the devices, why do we care who owns them? But the proposal I brought forward was not accepted. The concern was that it would put a higher support burden on the IT staff.” – Global CIO, Entertainment Company
New mobile devices introduce new security vulnerabilities and require new security policies
Security for a mobile environment is much like the early days of laptops. The newer devices bring new security vulnerability and require new tools and methods to address them. Enterprises are trying to figure out which products to use. As we learned over the years with laptops and desktops, a good mobile security strategy should be comprised of multiple solutions to provide in-depth security for the mobile device.
Many companies already on the mobility path lack formal mobile security policies. This was borne out by respondents in our online survey. Only 51 percent have a formal security policy on mobile devices and technologies.
One executive commented that his company’s lack of policies is due to the selection of mobile devices still being “a work in progress.” Another commented that they felt secure while the company was 99 percent BlackBerry oriented; but now that they are moving toward consumerization and a BYOD model, they recognize they will need to establish policies.
The comprehensive security section in the report takes an in-depth look at the security vulnerabilities of mobile devices, strategies around containment of corporate data versus personal data in BYOD scenarios, operational areas of concern, and several key actionable insights to developing and implementing a security strategy for this newer mobile environment.
Interoperability and market fragmentation hurdles
Trailblazing enterprises encountered hurdles on their way to generating business value through mobility. These include:
- Changing landscape of mobile devices
- Disparate mobile operating system platforms
- Whether to use HTML5 or native apps
- Gaps in mobile technologies
An executive in our study mentioned the need to deliver native apps for a rich user experience, so they have invested in both Apple iOS and Android development efforts. He explained,
“We have to straddle between them to keep them in sync. Right now, our iOS app is a step and a half ahead of the Android app. We solve this problem today with a “native shell” that runs the same application between devices.”
The study takes a detailed look at Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) vendors and customer perception and adoption of these technologies. Another major section looks at how HTML5 standards are evolving and how companies are straddling the HTML5 vs. native app decisions including where the so-called “hybrid” apps fit it.
Based on the first-hand experiences of the executives interviewed, the report includes key actionable insights, practical recommendations for next steps, best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and a range of implications and ideas for cloud vendors. It is clear that enterprise mobility leaders need to act on these opportunities now in order to realize success in the rapidly approaching mobile computing era.