Like everyone else, I am seeing tablets and smart-phones in use everywhere. This includes where I work and at the customer sites I frequently visit. Though an interesting aspect of this is, very few of these respective IT shops are sponsoring these devices — employees are simply using their personal devices. It already seems too late to alter the trend, especially as a large group of these users are managers and executives.
It is interesting to watch, and it is even more interesting to see how corporations are trying to manage the trend. Some are talking about sponsoring company specific and dedicated mobile devices. Others are simply trying to help users more easily interact with company applications using their personal devices. While I certainly don’t know how this will all play out, companies trying keep their information safe by providing approved, company sponsored devices does not seem like the winning solution.
The more popular solution I am currently seeing is simply to allow employees to more easily work with these new (and varied) devices on corporate applications. The reason, it is making a measurable improvement on productivity. For IT, the issue seems more about re-purposing applications to facilitate productivity. We are seeing this trend in several of our legacy modernization projects with many of the projects having a contingent of mobile devices within their target users.
While the technology battles about how to best service this trend are on-going, those of us in the trenches are simply building solutions that marry enterprise applications to whatever devices are being used. It really isn’t that difficult. I have heard from many IT shops that they need to replace applications to serve this change in employee behavior, but this doesn’t seem valid.
The same service enablement processes we have used for years to modernize legacy applications translates well to enterprise enabling a mobile workforce.