During the early days of enterprise mobility solutions, there were only a few solutions capable of providing mobility to business users and the functionality afforded by these solutions was also limited to only a few activities such as checking of emails, looking up contact information, creation of documents on portable devices etc. During the initial period, enterprise mobility like many other emerging trends globally featured a needs-based approach, which led to the creation of apps as and when required by the users. The model was definitely not without its merits; however, a major issue resulting from the creation of such needs-based apps was the lack of user-friendly features as well as the minimal use of graphics in developing such apps. Things however never remain stagnant in the technology market and the enterprise mobility market changed almost overnight with the introduction of new platforms such as Android and iPhone/iOS, which featured a higher degree of user acceptance than ever before. The rapidly changing conditions of the enterprise mobility market also led to the introduction of a new trend in business- CoIT (Consumerism of IT).
In current literature, a proper definition of CoIT may be lacking, however, the basis of CoIT is much more easily understood. As smart phone adoption for personal use grew with the advent devices, which were designed specifically for individual use such as the iPhone, the iPad and various Android-based devices, many enterprise users (initially mainly senior management) wanted to be able to use their personal devices for doing company work on the move. The main reasons for this trend included the availability of various user-friendly apps and features as well as the superior design and functionality supported by these devices. The central issue for CoIT is the user’s desire for apps and devices which are easy to use, powerful as well as elegant. As such an experience was not possible as the previous generation of mobile devices and apps, the market changed seemingly overnight and CoIT emerged as a driving factor in the enterprise mobility market.
These recently launched “consumerised” apps and devices provide users with an intuitive and compelling experience, which increases the overall acceptance of available software and hardware resources provided to the user. The new solutions are almost an exact opposite of traditional systems, which even though efficient, mostly featured a slow, complex and often monotonous interface. As the old interfaces did not provide a compelling user experience, it was only natural that the new consumer-friendly apps were easily accepted by users over the enterprise mobility apps and devices, which were available earlier. The major benefits from a user perspective of these new apps are the reduction of monotony and complexity in carrying out enterprise-related tasks. From the perspective of an enterprise, the benefits include further improvement of organization-wide productivity- a cornerstone of introducing mobility solutions for an enterprise.
Repercussions of the CoIT Trend
BlackBerry to Lose Enterprise Mobility Market Leadership
One of the first market-wide repercussions after the emergence of CoIT trends was the increased acceptance of emerging platforms such as Android and iPhone/iOS platforms over the mobility market leader- RIM’s BlackBerry OS. Overtime, the market share of BlackBerry in the enterprise mobility market has been significantly eroded and more mobility users are shifting to alternative platforms in order to maximize the benefits derived from the use of enterprise mobility. Current short-term predictions by industry experts suggest that within the next 2 to 3 years, the BlackBerry OS will no longer hold majority market share in the mobility market.
Enterprises to Support Multiple Mobility Platforms
Though the senior management was among the first people to ask their enterprise IT departments to initiate support for their new devices, other employees followed suit. IT departments soon realized that it was not possible for them to enable every device on their existing platform and in many cases they decided to provide support for multiple platforms. Currently, a majority of enterprises with emphasis on mobility provide support for two or more enterprise mobility platforms in order to support a wide range of mobility devices.
The Introduction of BYOD
As the number of user-owned devices increase in the organization’s network, more and more companies are expected to implement the BYOD (bring your own device) trend to decrease overheads related to buying and maintaining multiple mobility devices for use by employees. This has been one of the key changes in enterprise mobility market, which was caused by the Consumerism of IT trend. The introduction of BYOD has been instrumental in expanding the market as more and more companies have found it necessary to support multiple mobility platforms and devices due to the exponential increase in mobility devices used by employees. However, the BYOD trend has also caused enterprises to seriously consider the possibility of breach in data security. BYOD led to companies taking more precautions to ensure the security of sensitive information. Some of the newer trends designed to provide greater security to organizations all over the world include remote wipe and container techniques.
So, what’s next?
The technology and devices market changes so rapidly that it is practically impossible to determine what course the mobility market is going to take in the future. However, one thing is for certain, the CoIT trend has already changes the way mobility is provided in enterprises all over the world and such change is an ongoing process, which will continue to bring about further change in various markets including the enterprise mobility market.