Juniper Research estimates the number of smart phones used for business will exceed 350 million by 2014, and Gartner estimates downloads from app stores will likely surpass 70 billion annually by the same year. Here’s what to keep in mind as you plan to expand or incorporate BYOD and other mobility solutions into your enterprise.
Microsoft Surface could change the face of BYOD: Whilst most organisations have accepted iPhones and iPads, whether company-issued or used through a BYOD scenario, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows 8 have made some traction as enterprise mobility solutions. In fact, Gartner believes Windows 8 will become the third most-used OS on mobile devices— behind Apple and Android — by 2015. Specifically, Microsoft Surface Pro is expected to boost the use of the Windows 8 OS and its accompanying apps and also might change the nature of BYOD. The device is portable like a tablet yet carries some of the functionality of an Ultrabook, which has some mobility analysts predicting employees will ditch multiple devices and rely on Surface as their BYOD of choice. This development could make BYOD management easier for your organisation by cutting down the number of devices IT needs to support. It also cuts the confusion stemming from one employee using multiple devices for BYOD.
Enterprise mobile app stores will become commonplace: By 2017, Gartner predicts 25 per cent of organisations will create private mobile app stores so employees can download approved business and consumer mobile apps. The firm lists enterprise app stores as a strategic technology trend for 2013, citing a major benefit as the fact that IT can actually control which apps employees have access to as opposed to public apps stores from which employees can download whatever they want. These enterprise app stores will eliminate the time it takes for IT to produce documentation and training. And, most importantly, private app stores prevent employees from installing software with security vulnerabilities, because all mobile apps available through the app stores are approved by the business first.
While there are many advantages to employee-facing apps, they will require more testing by app developers to guarantee they offer high-level usability. Apps must also be usable across multiple platforms to account for different device types, especially for BYOD. Make sure to ask mobile apps developers, whether they are internal or outsourced IT staff, how they plan to ensure app functionality and integration into your organisation.
Surface Pro and enterprise app stores are disruptive mobility solutions that might not work for every organisation. The best way to determine if you should incorporate them into your business is by looking at your mobility strategy in a holistic way. This approach will help you align specific mobility solutions with business needs so you can continue to drive value and increase productivity.