Employees and other key stakeholders of a business now expect seamless, ‘always-on’ mobile connectivity from the device of their choice. Work processes are now built around mobility, and a throwback to the “stone age” of communications is unthinkable. Enterprises not providing enterprise solutions based on hyper-connectivity not only miss out on seizing the business moment, but also face the risk of top talent leaving to better “digital” pastures.
Most enterprises play to the gallery. The latest smartphones come with several advanced features enabling asset tagging, image building and management, RFID/UID tagging, laser engraving, custom labeling and packaging, knitting or reverse kit solutions, and several other possibilities not easily doable before.
Wearables leverage features such as the accelerometer, barometer, gyro, ambient light, barometer, altimeter and other key features to automate key tasks, issue timely alerts, and more, without any action from the user. Such devices, and mobility solutions leveraging such devices, already play a critical role in inventory planning, field collaboration, strategic analysis, and several other functions of the enterprise. Businesses leveraging such latest technology to offer cutting edge enterprise solutions can expect to ride the digital wave to success.
However, much more is required, to sustain the success. As it is with technology, mobility is in a state of continuous flux. New technologies such as Augmented Reality and Internet of Things promising to take connectivity to whole new levels. Businesses have no option but to keep track of the latest developments, and they also need to take a few other coherent steps to ensure they deliver the goods in today’s hyper-connected world.
Pay Attention to All Round Security
Safe and reliable connectivity is the basic objective of any mobility strategy. Enterprises ignore network security at their own peril, but many enterprises also make the mistake of limiting security to protecting the device or strengthening the firewall. Managing access is just as important and many enterprises underestimate the potential vulnerabilities on offer in this front.
Today’s users access mobility solutions through wi-fi, Bluetooth, SMS, email, or other options available in the device. The coming Internet of Things will expand such options. With such wide options come wide threats. Each of these connectivity options is a potential threat vector, which an enterprising attacker could leverage to breach the network. Enterprises need to establish policies that cover various aspects and implications of connectivity, as in the security implications when accessing the corporate network from public wi-fi available at Starbucks and other places, data retention when connectivity is disrupted or intermittent, implications of sensitive data being siphoned off by hackers who take advantage of Bluetooth technology, and more. Effective security now requires not just macro level provisioning but also paying attention to details.
Take Stock of BYOD Challenges
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD), a norm in many enterprises, is a double-edged sword. It is a win-win in the sense it spares the enterprise from the investment in procuring handsets, and it offers employees the convenience of carrying around just one device. However, it also poses grave security implications, when employees use their device for personal purposes.
BYOD is sure to subvert the enterprise network unless strong security policies are in place to ensure the employee’s personal activities do not encroach on the corporate assets in the phone. Containerization separates personal data from corporate data and is the preferred option in most mobile device management approaches. The “enterprise wipe” removes data from the corporate container, handy when the employee leaves the enterprise or turns rogue. MDM solutions enable effective enforcement of all corporate policies on company and BYOD devices.
There is also the issue of platform fragmentation, with enterprises having to roll out apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, and cater to different device configurations. Even without BYOD, enterprises need to take the decision on which platforms to support upfront.
Deploy the Required Infrastructure
Effective policies require backup in the form of adequate infrastructure. Evaluate the quality of the existing infrastructure by conducting wireless surveys, gap analysis, and other methods, to ascertain the gap between the present and the desired state, and work to provisioning for the ideal state. Some areas where infrastructure usually requires ramp-up for mobility include ingress/egress infrastructure, the number of points on the network, bandwidth capabilities, network segmentation, switching, and routing capabilities. Make sure the provisioned infrastructure is scalable.
Apart from the technical backbone to run mobility solutions seamlessly, there is a need for robust development infrastructure as well. Developing mobility solutions is now a cross-functional team effort, with members from different backgrounds heavily involved in all stages of the development process. It requires a culture of collaboration, backed up by adequate infrastructure such as project wise Git repository, coordinated workflow, development tools such as native SDKs, hybrid Apache Cordova, HTML5, Sencha, Xamarin, Appcelerator, or any other tool, as appropriate. The best practice is to use open and cloud-based technologies, with an emphasis on reusability, collaboration, and scalability, as this perfectly complements sustainable innovation, so essential to keep pace with things.
Enterprises also require flexible and easy-to-deploy solutions to secure apps and deliver data in a secure manner. The best solutions virtualize and pool compute, storage, and network resources, and ensure rapid assignment and deployment, as needed. Enterprise solutions build on hyper-convergence is the way to go in an increasingly connected world.
It requires both skill and experience to deploy an effective mobility strategy that enables the enterprise to leverage the latest mobility must offer. The internal IT team may be handicapped in this regard, and would anyway have their hands full with keeping the system running. Often, roping in a strategic partner works wonders to implement an effective mobility policy. Opt for partners who work with the enterprise, understand the requirement, and offer customized solutions rather than try to push generic solutions they already have.
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About 71% of enterprises regard mobility as a top priority, and Nasscom estimates the global enterprise mobility market to be worth $140 billion a year, by 2020. Such widespread adoption of enterprise mobility solutions come as no surprise, considering an employee gains 240 hours a year on average, in terms of productivity, if they use cutting edge mobility solutions at work.
However, mobility is still an emerging technology and an extremely fluid space. New paradigms emerge by the day, and there is no standardized way to apply or govern technologies. Success requires a lot of trailblazing, adopting the latest trends, and tackling challenges head-on. Here are the latest trends to follow, and the challenges to overcome, in 2017.
1. The Rise of Companion Apps
Enterprises are scrambling to develop enterprise apps for both their internal functions and for their customers. Rather than generic apps, there is now an increasing shift to companion apps, or apps aimed at making a specific thing or function easy, rather than try and replicate every single feature of a desktop app.
Research major Gartner estimates the demand for enterprise mobile apps outstripping available development capacity by five times. The pressing challenge before enterprises is to solve the grave talent crunch, and develop the required mobile apps, or run the risk of losing out big time in productivity and new possibilities. Enterprises also face a far daunting challenge of unlocking data silos to ensure mobility solutions work optimally.
2. BYOD Becomes Much More than a Trend
The Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) culture is already well-entrenched in the corporate world. The tremendous productivity and efficiency benefits it brings out, coupled with the rising popularity of mobility apps have graduated BYOD to much more than a trend. BYOD is fast becoming the established norm in many enterprises.
BYOD however brings new challenges in its wake. Employee devices rarely feature the required enterprise-grade security features, and the enterprise IT team remains hard-pressed to manage the wide range of BYOD devices that operate within the corporate network. Mobile device management (MDM) solutions, implemented to ease out potential pain points often hinder the productivity or fluidity of the work carried out on the devices.
Enterprises need to devise effective mobility policies that secure employee-owned devices. Centralizing the management of mobile devices, akin to remote management of PC and notebook desktops enable enterprises to have control over the devices in use. The trick is to roll out such policies without compromising the privacy of employees.
3. Accelerated Migration to the Cloud
The increased maturity of cloud services, the easy availability of affordable and reliable cloud services, and the game-changing possibilities with big data has accelerated migration of enterprise solutions to the cloud.
The increased popularity of the cloud notwithstanding, security remains a pressing challenge. Enterprises seeking to reconcile the security issue increasingly opt for hybrid solutions, hosting mission critical apps on premises and other apps on the cloud. The increasing stakes of security mean regulatory security controls may not be too far away.
4. Personal Assistant-Friendly Features Go Mainstream
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has already made its mark in computing. More and more enterprise apps are now becoming “smart,” leveraging features such as those offered by Siri, Google Now, Cortana, and other smart personal assistants. There is a boom of “smart apps” that allow users to control lighting, heating and security systems using Siri.
As AI makes the enterprise more and more dependent on technology, security becomes even more important than before, and security breaches run the risk of bringing down the entire enterprise. The onus is on the enterprise to guarantee effective security.
A key focus of enterprise network security now is effective threat management, or identifying potential vulnerabilities and operating system-specific threats. A multilayered approach that authenticates enterprise applications, reinforced with agile device management solution is the way to go for most enterprises.
5. The Rise of Citizen Developers
The growing demand for enterprise apps has resulted in the rise and popularity of cross-platform low-code and no-code app development platforms, which offer easy drag and drop options and accelerate the app development timeline greatly. Side by side with such new app development technologies is the rise of citizen developers, who can leverage such platforms to develop apps on the fly, with little or no coding knowledge.
Accelerated app development and the rise of citizen developers present its own challenge of half-baked implementation and serious vulnerabilities in the developed software. Native apps, developed for the platform, are generally more feature-rich and deliver a better user experience, over the HTML5 based cross-platform app development. Native apps also allow administrators more control.
Your best bet to overcome such challenges, while tapping into the latest trends at the same time, is to partner with a sound professional developer like us. Partnering with us allow you to leverage our wealth of experience and expertise in rolling out highly intuitive enterprise mobility solution that meets all your objectives, in a cost effective manner.
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What seemed to be a far-fetched idea or an unclear, undefined entity, a few years ago, is what is ruling the world of business today. Enterprise mobility.
People are all for the concept of “bringing their own devices” at their workplaces these days. More than 60% of workers have access to their company data or work through their smartphones and tablets. Interestingly, only about a third of business enterprises have any kind of BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) management strategy in place.
“People are bringing their own devices, but in many cases, they and their companies are not taking care of those devices and the applications on them appropriately.”, says Richard Absalom, consumer impact technology analyst at Ovum.
It is very important to have a proper Enterprise Mobility Management strategy for every organization, especially since most of them are spending a pretty significant amount on mobility.
Here is what you can do to better manage enterprise mobility.
Any BYOD policy has to be developed with inputs from all over the organization. Driven by the CIO, BYOD management efforts should involve everyone from developers to users to the IT team. Even the human resource and legal departments have to be included. As it means an entire culture change in the organization, it necessitates the need for everyone to be on the same page, about what can and cannot be accessed over personal devices.
The use of mobile devices automatically implies the use of various technologies offered by them such as Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, cameras, audio recorders and other sensors. Widespread use of such technologies across the organization may cause loss of data and even loss of important intellectual property to be looming concerns. Imagine the consequences of loss of an in-house video of an application’s development processes! Worse yet, are the legal implications of the same, or of other videos involving the organization’s officials in compromising positions. Hence, BYOD policies should be formulated after taking into consideration these aspects as well.
An Exit or Loss Policy
While devising BYOD policies, something that people generally tend to miss out, is an exit strategy. When an employee in any department of an organization leaves, he will be carrying a lot of information concerning his department on his smartphone, with him. This is a huge loss for the organization.
“When an employee leaves, say in sales, and they take all of the contacts on their personal phone, that is a big corporate asset that goes missing.”- Absalom
Hence, you need to develop appropriate theft, loss as well as exit policies. Along with technical issues you need to raise the security stakes. You need to find a balance with all these features and risks, so as to protect your employees’ personal information as well as your business reputation.
Usage of insecure Wifi networks might need separate provisions in a BYOD policy since their security measures are very limited. For example, some WiFi networks may be labeled as “off-limits” on the basis of security alerts. Devices used in an enterprise should be protected against possible loss of data and attacks. An organization has to make sure that all the personal devices are well in line with the enterprise security standards. Encryption and access control are ways in which valuable corporate data residing on any device can be protected.
Credentials for users, such as usernames and passwords, need to be created securely with utmost care. Credentials which may be sufficient for certain kinds of applications may not be suitable for other kinds of applications that need more security. Short number strings for example,while may be appropriate authentication for a user on game leaderboards and scoreboards, they won’t be enough for a social networking application.
All of these practices call for crisp and clear policy guidelines. Their compliance needs to be made mandatory as well. You need to make sure that all your employees are well aware of the rules regarding joining, leaving or altering their role or participation in a BYOD initiative. Signatures on policy agreements need to be made compulsory. Absalom also said that it would be good to have all employees agree to legally upholding their policies and to getting their devices locked on events of it being stolen, lost or compromised in any way.
Hence, if well managed, enterprise mobility can be the best thing that ever happened to your business. Keep the above pointers in mind, embrace mobility and manage it efficiently.
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After several years of living with the Internet of Things (IoT), ubiquity of software, and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon, which has almost become mainstream now, we have a relatively new phenomenon coming up. The “Consumerization of IT”.
While BYOD, BYOPC and the like, are all elements of consumerization, it is actually much more than all that. It is a broader concept, that makes the end users do pretty much whatever they want, with the IT being powerless to a large extent in order of stopping or controlling them. In many cases, the IT doesn’t even know that they have people doing this.
So what exactly is consumerization of IT?
Consumerization refers to the proliferation of IT at the place of work, which originates in the consumer market, and is used for professional purposes. It basically involves the usage of consumer-oriented technologies at the workplace. It is a part of the cycle of IT, that emerges in the consumer market and then spreads to the business environment, primarily because consumers use popular technologies and devices like PCs, iPads and tablets in their homes and start introducing them at their work as well. Apart from devices, it also involves the use of online services like data storage, web based email systems and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
It is completely driven by the employees themselves, as they buy their own devices, use their own online service accounts, download and install their own applications and often use their workplace network connection as well.
Why is it important for marketers?
“Over the next 30 minutes, over 700,00 apps are likely to be downloaded from the app store, up to 21,000 Twitter accounts are likely to be created and Facebook users will have spent around 146 man-days on it”
Consumer behaviour has undergone drastic changes over the past few years, ever since the advent of the mobile era. Their engagement through social media has increased more than ever. According to findings, over the next 30 minutes, over 700,00 apps are likely to be downloaded from the app store, up to 21,000 Twitter accounts are likely to be created and Facebook users will have spent around 146 man-days on it.
These figures only show how fast human interaction across networks is, and how consumers are almost always ahead in things, including technology, before businesses follow.
That way, consumer behaviour can be considered to be one of the major indicators of what might happen in the business world. Since they are always accustomed to new ways of thinking, they start expecting the same level of convenience from businesses as well.
For example, Amazon.com delivers, what can be called a superior shopping experience to its customers. They even have other third party affiliates paying them to make use of this experience. This makes it one of the best B2C companies. Even in the B2B segment, they have the Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) Solution, which makes them one of the most preferred providers of cloud-based infrastructures in businesses as well.
With these two areas already mastered by Amazon, they could very well consider creating a rating system, just like the one in their consumer site, for B2B products and services as well. Put together with B2B related social media channels, it could become a powerful peer recommendation platform.
This kind of a spillover of consumer shopping, buying as well as using experiences, on business experiences is something that is going to affect product marketers and sales and marketing product management as a whole. In order to get ready for this “consumerization”, marketers might need to create specific and personal plans to analyze things and adapt, while at the same time implementing strategic plans for their entire company as well.
How can marketers adapt
Just like B2C marketers, who already know that they no longer have total control over their brand, B2B product marketers also need to understand that, with the explosive use of social networks and the media, they need to adapt and listen to conversations going on through the social channels. They need to meaningfully engage with their customers on a regular basis through social media.
Short, dynamic and engaging content is what businesses need to adapt to the consumerization effect basically. When such effective content gets delivered in different formats across various channels and to the right people, it reflects in the number and quality of your leads.
This way marketers and business officials can thus make use of the consumerization effect, and turn it to their advantage by taking the necessary steps.
As consumerization is something that is increasingly becoming popular, businesses do need to adapt to the phenomenon. Hence, the earlier the better. Analyze the significance of consumerization, its effect on your organization and start making the necessary changes right away.