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It's Time Companies Put Mobile First

It's Time Companies Put Mobile First

Enterprises that are not yet ready to adopt a mobile-first strategy perhaps should rethink their position. Employees are less tethered to their desks than ever. That's due in part to shifting lifestyles and other personal reasons. Also, it's because companies know it is far more productive for employees to be out and about in the field, while still connected via a mobile device.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
08/21/14 7:13 PM PT

A growing number of consumers are becoming mobile-first or even mobile-only, so why not businesses? Granted, it is hard to image the company whose computing power and data could be accessed and manipulated only through a mobile device. However, a company that gives mobile the same status and resources as its other IT initiatives? That is a little easier to envision.

The bad news is, such companies are still in the minority. The good news: In small increments, that is changing.

That is reflected in data Good Technology released last week. The number of secure mobile apps companies activated rose 20 percent in the second quarter over the first quarter, according to the report. Many were productivity-related apps, but CRM and business intelligence comprised a significant portion.

Enterprise Apps Gone Mobile

Among the report's findings:

  • After dropping last quarter, business intelligence regained its spot as the up and coming app, with more than 200 percent growth in total activations quarter over quarter.
  • CRM was crowned "the next fast rising star" by Good Technology, with total activations in the mobile app category increasing, quarter over quarter, by a factor of seven.
  • Enterprise application activations continued to see significant double-digit growth, increasing 20 percent quarter over quarter.

Some of the reasons behind these increases are particularly interesting. Employee and customer demand is driving some of the activations, no doubt, but the recent surge in BI app activations is "a testament to the more advanced app-to-app workflows organizations are deploying to mobilize business processes," Good Technology noted.

In short, there are larger trends at play. The desktop may no longer be convenient or indicative of how we are working, but it is also a side issue: The true issue is not desktop versus handheld, but access to information and data, and the actual platform.

When viewed through that prism, it hardly matters whether a desktop or tablet is used. Both can be -- and seamlessly, in fact.

Still Not First

Separate figures from IDC, reported earlier this month by survey sponsor Kony, show just how far enterprises must go on their mobile journeys.

Of the more than 400 IT decision-makers surveyed, only 16 percent have implemented mobile-first enterprise strategies, the survey found.

Here, too, digging behind the responses yields interesting insights: High costs or lack of resources are not why so few companies are adopting mobile-first strategies. Now companies' concerns are with security and compliance, and with integrating mobile platforms to existing databases.

They are valid concerns, and they represent an important shift: It is not that companies are staring blankly when mobile-first is posed as a strategy. They are well aware of it, but have additional concerns that must be addressed, the report indicates.

The Productivity Factor

The market eventually will come to the rescue and offer solutions for these problems. Once that happens, mobile-first strategies will be far more common, and companies that haven't considered adopting them will be forced to do so for competitive reasons -- namely, the increase in productivity that mobility delivers.

Employees are less tethered to their desks than ever. That's due in part to shifting lifestyles and other personal reasons. Also, it's because companies know it is far more productive for employees to be out and about in the field, while still connected via a mobile device.

For that reason alone, a mobile-first enterprise era is coming -- probably even faster than many realize.


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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