Enterprise Mobility-The Application Focus

October 9, 2013

The Consumerization of IT has led to the increase of mobile devices and applications. Employees started to use their own mobile devices for work-related tasks (like emailing). Enterprises framed policies like BYOD (Bring your own device)  to leverage this trend and address its challenges. This led to the growth of enterprise mobility. Over a period of time, applications have also gained focus in enterprise mobility. Applications help in quicker processing and timely availability of data, which is the key for business efficiency/competitiveness.

BYOA (Bring your own application) policy allows employees to use their own applications at work. Research suggests that upto 30% of employees use their own applications in work place.The key applications used are Message and VoIP (like Skype, whatsapp), file synchronization/sharing(like Drop Box). It benefits the enterprise as software license costs can be reduced. Consumer applications can provide diverse functionality at lower price. Also the continuous innovation in consumer mobile applications creates features which can transform business. A messaging application (like whatsapp) with file sharing feature can be used by field professionals (like sales executives) for faster communication with associates. High user experience and ease of consumer applications can make the work of an employee easier and hence it can cut down effort on employee training.

Multiple applications across different platforms increases the load of  application management. Sensitive enterprise data can be accessed by third-party applications. It can result in misuse of enterprise data. Many consumer apps cannot guarantee the long-term viability and features expected by the enterprise. A comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy with inputs from all stake-holders can address these challenges. It must define aspects like handling enterprise data (like encrypted storage),scope of allowed applications and vendors etc.

Trends suggest that global market for enterprise mobile applications shall continue to grow. Consumer application developers and device manufacturers may begin to incorporate functions/features relevant to enterprise needs. Yet, critical enterprise applications (like HR management) shall continue to be custom-developed for greater control over features and security. Enterprises may setup their own app stores which comprises of in-house and third party applications allowed for employee use. It makes application management easier. The future of BYOA will depend on the ability of innovative consumer applications to match with enterprise requirements.