As Workers Go Mobile, IT Must Follow
Recent studies by IDC and ABI Research found what you probably already knew — that there are more smart phones and your workers are becoming increasingly mobile. And that’s going to have broad implications for IT.
First of all let’s look at some of the trends. As an article on Integration developer news pointed out, research is confirming that smart phones are poised to take over. In fact the article, pointing to ABI Research results found that smart phone sales could surpass 50 percent, making it the first year that has happened.
IDC reported that as recently as 2010, 75 percent of the workforce was already mobile. Not quite sure what they mean by that since many workers would have no reason to be mobile, but they might carry a mobile phone, but regardless, the data says your workforce is increasingly going to be mobile and those phones are more than likely smart ones.
While all this happening of course, your employees are getting to choose their own phones. Gone are the days when you gave everyone in the company a Blackberry and they went happily on their way, probably using the Blackberry for work and a second phone for home. Nowadays that’s just not the way it is anymore.
And as a result, the whole mobile workforce is increasingly out of your control, but as your workforce heads out the door, with smart phones in hand, you can go with them — so to speak — if you set up enterprise mobile applications that provide a secure way to access your content and systems from the road.
You need to start setting up the resources to build these applications, either by hiring developers for the major platforms or hiring outside resources to build these applications for you. You also have to make decisions about what platforms you want to support and what the implications are for those platforms you choose to leave out.
For instance, if you have some users on Windows Phone 7, but you’re only supporting Blackberry, iOS and Android, you have to provide a way for these other users to get at the same content and services.
And that’s where HTML5 might come into play because it provides a way to build browser-based services and applications, but whether you choose to go the app or browser route, or if you combine them and support some platforms and not others, you have to have some sort of mobile strategy in place if you haven’t already done so.
Because one thing is clear from all this research. People are hitting the road with smart phones in increasing numbers, and you need to be ready with a plan to follow them wherever they go.