It’s not exactly a news flash that mobile technology is redefining the enterprise. But what seems to escape many business and IT leaders, including CIOs, is how fast this change is taking place. Prior to 2007, mobility mostly consisted of sometimes-connected laptops and clunky cellular phones that were used primarily for voice communication.
The iPhone changed all that. Today, smartphones are everywhere, and tablets have become a preferred way to access data and content. In fact, according to a new research report from Gartner, mobile devices are fast becoming the primary go-to device for communications and content consumption. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities.
Van Baker, a Gartner research vice president, points out that a new tech pecking order for usage is emerging. The first choice is a smartphone, followed by a tablet and then a personal computer. What’s more, behavior will further adapt to corporate wearables, as they become more widely available.
“As voice, gesture and other modalities grow in popularity with consumers, and as content consumption tasks outweigh content creation tasks, this will further move users away from the PC,” Baker explains.
The repercussions for the enterprise will be earth-shattering. The ongoing collision between the business and consumer worlds—partly spurred by BYOD—will translate into radically different IT systems and infrastructure than what exist in many organizations today.
This includes more pervasive WiFi, along with more stringent security standards. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 40 percent of enterprises will specify WiFi as the default connection for devices that are not mobile, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors and conference room systems.
This environment will also require new approaches to developing and managing apps. Gartner notes that conventional mobile application development platforms (MADPs) are rapidly introducing graphical tools for the design of screens, workflow and data sources to reduce the scope of possible projects. The use of codeless tools for the rapid development of business-to-employee (B2E) mobile apps will emerge as an alternative to outsourcing, thus limiting the use of development partners to more-advanced projects.
CIOs should take note and begin to shift thinking to a mobile mindset. Those that resist or lag behind are likely to encounter a hornet’s nest of problems, including diminished productivity, an inability to keep up with digital trends and increased shadow IT.