The mobile workspace: accelerating business transformation

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Today’s businesses increasingly need to be connected to their employees, customers and marketplaces 24/7. Users want access to their data wherever they are or on whichever device they may be using. It is no surprise that the mobile workspace is pivotal in digital transformation. But its deployment must be well thought out to succeed.

Employees no longer view mobile as a unique way of working – it is now an integral part of their digital workspace. It is also a central part of digital transformation as enterprises look to prove themselves more agile and accessible in highly-competitive markets.

The necessity for business apps and devices is only set to increase. The worldwide mobile workforce will grow from 1.45 billion in 2016 (38 percent of the global workforce) to 1.87 billion in 2022 (42 percent), according to analyst firm Strategy Analytics.

Mobile use will become routine as customers, partners and employees demand mobile solutions to interact and manage workflows. Mobile apps make collaboration far easier, ensuring that everyone can see the status of projects, wherever they are.

Walmart, for example, has developed a mobile app for suppliers which gives them real-time access to stores’ inventories. This has made stocking more efficient and improved communications. Orange Business Services has helped international chemicals and advanced materials specialist Solway manage 7,500 mobile devices, hosted in the Orange cloud to control costs and increase worker collaboration.

Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that by 2022, 70 per cent of all software interactions in the enterprise will be on mobile devices reflecting growth in ‘mobile first’ development. This will result in enterprises expanding their use of mobile development tools and establishing dedicated DevOps teams.

“Mobile has been one of four disruptive technologies in the Nexus of Forces, and is now an essential component of the digital business platform,” according to Jason Wong, research director at Gartner. The other three being social, cloud and information.

At the same time, we are seeing enterprises move away from a one-size-fits all approach to mobile devices towards personalization. Users are choosing their own devices and demanding the same user experience as they get from their own intuitive consumer devices. IT departments will need to be prepared to support a wider range of devices as enterprises transform.

Mapping a mobility strategy

Worldwide mobility spending is set to hit a colossal $1.5 trillion this year according to market research company IDC. Purchases of mobile hardware, software, and services is expected to rapidly continue, with sales reaching $1.7 trillion in 2020.

Mobility has moved from a niche backwater to a pivotal part of end-user technology for enterprise workforces, according to Phil Hochmuth, program director, enterprise mobility at IDC. “While devices and apps transform how workers do their jobs, mobile app platforms and services create entire new business models and customer interaction opportunities.”

“To take advantage of all this, enterprise IT buyers must know the relationships, dependencies, and requirements of all aspects of mobile computing, from hardware and devices, to management and development platforms, security, and services,” explains Hochmuth.

The mobile workspace brings with it many benefits, including greater flexibility, collaboration and productivity, but preparing employees for digital workspace success is vital.

An enterprise’s mobile strategy must provide a seamless and consistent experience across its entire infrastructure. Mobility does not come without risk. Robust IT governance needs to be put in place covering data collection, sharing and storage. Mobile workspaces by their very nature often require extra layers of security. Finally, employees will need training and support on their new tools and will need to be fully briefed on security and compliance to make the strategy work.

Mobile isn’t just about the device, it is about completely transforming the way users access information and carry out processes. Creating a mobile workspace is a challenge, but enterprises that take time to plan a solid mobile strategy will see increased productivity, innovation and user satisfaction, enabling them to accelerate transformation in an every changing digital landscape.

Find out how your organization can transcend traditional ways of working and realize business value by embracing the latest mobile technologies here

Jan Howells

Jan has been writing about technology for over 22 years for magazines and web sites including ComputerActive, IQ magazine and Signum. She has been a business correspondent on ComputerWorld in Sydney and covered the channel for Ziff-Davis in New York.