Thanks to Muppalla Sridhar, one of the organizers for Tech Symposium, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel entitled “ Enterprise Mobility – Challenges and Opportunities”. This is a summary from this session which will give a quick overview of various issues in this sector.
Thanks to my following fellow panelists who helped me with various questions including some from the audience
- Sanjeev Gupta (General Manager, Avaya)
- Ashwin Krishnan (Director, Product Management,Juniper Networks)
- Indranil Chatterjee (VP Product Management, Openwave Mobility)
- Toby Rush (CEO,EyeVerify)
The issues discussed can be split into the following main heading
- BYOD – Bring your own device
- Type of Device – Android, iOS or Windows
- Making a Business Case
- Security & Authentication
- Applications and App Stores
- Connectivity and Service Provider Issues
With the consumerization of IT, consumers are more in control of what mobile devices they use. So rather than employees having multiple phones and tablets, enterprises have decided to allow employees to bring their own device or as someone put it more aptly as LYOD – lease your own device to the enterprise.
Type of Device
Some discussions reaffirmed that RIM’s Blackberry failed to deliver to market expectation and is losing market share constantly. Apple iOS is very popular and almost the only tablet device in the corporate world. Android is important and with some new advancements like from Samsung in virtualization, it may become more enterprise ready. Microsoft Windows8 is great on paper but it is not clear if users will adopt it as fast as IT and/or Microsoft may like to see. Bottom line, any device that wins users will become the choice of enterprise as well.
Making a Business Case
Sanjay Gupta, both in his session and at the panel, offered many examples of companies in healthcare and government who have justified use of iPad due to increased productivity like saving of 15 minutes per day of nurse time. May be we can share some of those slides in Slideshare at a later time.
Security & Authentication
Security is paramount but focus of securing device needs to shift to securing enterprise data. VPN systems may not an ideal solution for securing mobile devices unlike PCs due to various reasons including power issues of mobile device. Toby Rush feels time for biometric security has now come with new cameras and additional capabilities on mobile devices and their software.
Applications & App Stores
First and foremost, users need access to everyday files on their mobile devices something DocSync.Net offers. Then there is the issue of porting and running enterprise apps and with the fragmentation of so many devices this task is not easy. To know whether a particular app is secure or not is a challenge for which there are no clear answers but user education and enterprise authorized app stores were offered as possible solutions without any conclusion.
Connectivity and Service Provider Issues
Ideally enterprises would like to get data only plans and family calling type plans for data services. The service provider billing systems will take some time to get there even if they are ready to offer such services. It was also felt that large operators like Verizon and AT&T have less incentive to offer these services and these services may initially come from regional operators.
Enterprise mobility is a new frontier with many issues and so there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprising vendors in the eco systems to take advantage of it.