Enterprise mobility trends to watch in 2011

Enterprise mobility trends to watch in 2011

Norman Lo, RIM  |   January 17, 2011
Enterprise investment in mobility has picked up this year, as companies big and small focused on boosting their productivity and efficiency as the economy ramped up back to recovery in 2010.
According to Gartner, Asia Pacific enterprise IT spending is expected to rebound in 2010 with 10.6 percent growth, following a decline of 1.3 percent in 2009, This year, deployment and growth forecast of smartphones were stronger than ever.
At the same time, there is rising interest in tablets among companies. IDC said in a report published in early December that there will be 330 million smartphones sold worldwide and 42 million tablets. A survey conducted by ChangeWave which queried 1,641 business IT buyers in November shows that 7% of respondents said their company currently deploys tablets and 14% said their company will buy tablets in the first quarter of 2011.
As we enter 2011, we see a definitely upward trend and a strong uptake of smartphones and tablets among mobile workers. Here are our key predictions on the direction and dynamics of the enterprise mobility market in 2011.
Willingness to deploy smartphones and tablets among enterprises 
This year will be the time when scenes of mobile workers using a smartphone and a tablet interchangeably will become commonplace. The debut of the tablet wave in 2010 attracted a great deal of attention in the enterprise mobility market due to its portability and affordability.
As more tablets with improved specifications are launched, there will be a rapid increase in demand from enterprises and their employees for a mobile device in compact size with a bigger screen, for video-conferencing, improved document-viewing/editing, web browsing and presentation quality. We foresee that tablets, paired and synced with smartphones, will be increasingly popular among mobile workforce next year.
New focus on mobile security
The big wave of consumerization of IT will continue next year. More employees will bring their own smartphones as well as their tablets to access confidential corporate information, no matter with or without formal corporate approval. This will put sensitive corporate and customers’ information more at risk of being exposed to other parties if the devices are lost or being stolen.
With the increased usage of mobile apps, like banking apps and the fact that more employees will download applications from mobile application stores to their smartphones and tablets, these devices will become the main targets of mobile malware attacks as they are stored with sensitive personal data like bank accounts details. It is expected that more companies will revisit their mobile strategy and implement stricter IT policies to ensure that data stored on these mobile devices are properly secured.
Increased complexity will put more pressure on better IT management
As more enterprises will start to deploy tablets in addition to smartphones in 2011. IT administrators need to subscribe to new data service plans and implement another set of IT policies for the tablets which add to the administrators’ challenge in controlling mobility cost and managing an even more complex IT environment.
More companies will consider deploying a tablet with sophisticated security features. For example, a tablet that allows mobile workers to view confidential corporate data that is accessible through their smartphone, but will be automatically erased once a connection is broken. Nonetheless, the complexity in managing corporate IT environment will be heightened with the consumerization of IT within enterprises.
IT spending will be more ROI driven than ever
Despite the economic recovery, there is a lot of uncertainty looming in the market, especially in view of the European debt crisis and weak US recovery. In line with this, major analyst research firms predict that the overall enterprise IT spending will slow down in 2011 compared to the growth in 2010, and Asia Pacific will play a more important role in the global context. 
We believe that enterprises, however, will continue to invest in mobility solutions, both smartphones and tables, as well as business applications. But they will be more focused on ROI and measurable productivity.
Continued growth in customized mobile apps
Despite the fact that mobile email, address book and calendar are still the top mobile applications that are most frequently used by enterprises, we notice that in recent years, an increasing number of companies have started to deploy customized business applications that improve and streamline workflow processes.
Business applications such as sales force, enterprise resource management (ERM), customer relationship management (CRM), field service and inventory management will be embraced in 2011 by more companies in vertical industries including healthcare, banking and retail sectors.
The increase in the adoption of tablets for business use will also enable rich, highly productive secure collaboration among enterprise teams and mobile workers globally. In addition, as the speed of mobile networks proliferates and technology advances, there will be an increase in web-based mobile enterprise applications on smartphones and tablets.
Norm Lo is vice president of Asia Pacific, Research In Motion
Norman Lo, RIM

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