We all love our mobile devices. They (many of us now have two — usually a smartphone and tablet — some of us [like my wife] have a COPE [corporate owned personally enabled] smartphone, and a personal smartphone and tablet) are inevitably never more than a few inches aways from us — this of course means that they are with us both at home and at work.
The Way in Which we Work is Changing
While today's workforce is changing, and our employers are increasingly providing us with powerful tools that bring reliable access to corporate data and the ability to collaborate with co-workers remotely — a large portion of our workforce (the clear majority) still commutes on trains and drives to their offices. For many of us (I know that many of my firends who work in large corporations don't see this changing any time soon), this may be the case for the foreseeable future.
Sure there are forward-thinking companies like IBM, SAP, and Cisco that "eat their own dogfood", and have embraced technology, offering their employees tools to enable them to work remotely. However, it is important to point out that the aforementioned tools are largely aimed at remote application access via laptops. What has and will continue to change is the way in which we work ...
Yes, I'm Going to Talk About BYOD ...
Modern mobile platforms are the change agent — our personal devices that we bring into the workplace and carry with us everywhere we go have opened the door to productivity-enhancing scenarios that are often "customer-facing". Forward-looking companies recognize this opportunity, and will continue to increase their investments in enterprise-grade mobile applications (VDC estimates this to be a $6B market in 2012). While many businesses have started to offer COPE options and are likely to continue down the COPE path (i.e., offering employees a choice of mobile platforms)— others will put mobile policies in place that accomodate BYOD. These trends, along with a burgeoning apps ecosytem are driving both opportunities and challenges to CIOs and IT organizations that administer and manage these deployments.
Multiple Paths Have Emerged
Clearly enterprise mobility is an increasingly hot topic in the enterprise — moving forward, the single most important priority that will give companies the peace of mind to invest in the mobile enablement of their workforce, will be securing their mobile deployments. The real challenge that I see for companies moving down the mobility path is the competing approaches that have emerged — this has put a significant burden on companies who want to deploy mobile solutions, as it is causing them to have to evaluate multiple approaches and vendors. These emerging paths will increasingly be covered as part of our mobile software research here at VDC.
One method to securing mobile applications that has quickly gained traction is the "secure container" approach, where corporate data is protected (i.e., encryted and isolated). This can be evidenced not only by the funding that several startups in this space have obtained, but by the large cutomers that they are beginning to attract. While several vendors that have emerged with secure container solutions, the most visible today are: Bitzer Mobile, Good Technology, and Excitor — as would be expected, each has a different approach and value play.
Be sure to Register for an Important Webinar Discussing the Impact of BYOD on July 19th at 2PM EST
If you'd like to learn more about BYOD, and the competing paths to securing mobile applications, I welcome your participation in an important webinar I will be co-hosting with Bitzer Mobile (@bitzermobile) later this week — you can register for it by clicking here.