Being Mobile in the Enterprise world – 65% Smartphone Users By 2015

Being mobile is not considered a luxury anymore in our day to day lives, it has become a necessity. So how can we expect something so vital from our daily lives to not spill into our professional circuits. We know that being mobile, and by that i mean the adoption of mobile technology, has its benefits by keeping you connected all the time and anywhere you want, but there are a whole bunch of challenges that are involved when it comes to large scale custom deployment of new technology. Smartphones have already caught the eye of the consumer and now its time for the enterprises to empower their workforce with adoption of mobile technology.

Traditionally enterprises have always been the first ones to take new technology seriously. And so far it is limited mostly to email and some document viewing. But newer and better devices now add a host of other capabilities and with that add massive value to having an employee always connected. A simple example can be an agent that needs to report back to the office to complete some paperwork that he may not be carrying but needs to be signed by him. Setting up a procedure that lets his particular devices file a digital equivalent of the paperwork, all complete with the digital signature of the employees device.
Of course there are many challenges that need to be resolved when you think of solving a problem like this, but one thing is for sure, the applications are diverse and the benefits of these are yet to be reaped by enterprises in India.

Here’s some stats that show the current scenario for mobile workforces and what it may look like in a few years.

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A study conducted by Springboard Research expects the enterprise mobile workforce to touch 205 million by 2015.

Almost 65% of enterprise mobile workforces will have smartphones.

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The above figure illustrates the results of a syndicated survey carried out by Springboard Research on enterprise smart mobile devices usage in India.

Clearly all the stats suggest that one should go for deployment of mobile technology for enterprises. We’ll explain to you some of the benefits and challenges that may be faced when a large scale deployment takes place. First, the good stuff :

Advantage 1: Improved productivity :
Making enterprise resources function efficiently is the number one advantage of having a well connected mobile workforce. Completing on-site tasks help in making time critical decisions promptly.

Advantage 2: Employee Accessibility :
For years now this has been the major advantage of smartphone adoption by enterprises, and enterprises in India regard this as one of the major advantages of adopting mobile technology. IMs and e-mail have long been regarded as essential services by enterprises.

Advantage 3: Brand Value :
While not a direct contributor to the assets of an enterprise, the image that a tech-savvy enterprise portrays  does impress employees as well as others. Imagine a sales pitch conducted on a cool device like the iPad, cool for sure!

Now that we’ve seen so of the advantages let’s look at the challenges.

Challenge 1: Security :
This is easily the biggest challenge involved in the adoption of mobile technology for enterprise as enterprise data may be considered more valuable that average consumer data. And the very nature of these devices being mobile means that they are vulnerable to loss and theft. Additional concerns that arise are the use of these devices for personal as well as professional use, making these devices open to malwares and virus.

Challenge 2: Support for multiple devices :
The adoption of tablets and smartphones running on different Operating Systems and manufactured by different OEMs is a cause of concern for IT departments. All this choice may not be a good thing for enterprise, the nature of application of these devices needs to be thoroughly studied before a choice on support for devices is concerned.

Challenge 3 : Integration with existing systems :
There is no doubt that adoption of new technology will cost money, but how much of it that will be dependant of whether it is possible to integrated the new technology into existing enterprise systems.

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For now the opportunities offered by a move to embrace mobile technology seems to have a lot of challenges but the advantages it offers are significant. Would you invest and go for a mobile workforce or is it a solution to a problem that you have not yet faced? Let us know.

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