This is the sixth part of my presentation “Making money from the cloud”. You can find the full slides at:
and the previous parts are at:
A sure sign that technology beliefs are rooted in the past is believing that desktops and servers are the most important user devices in a business. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth as mobile devices, predominately phones but also tablets, continue to dominate the IT market.
The next wave of Internet adoption and opportunity will not come from places such as Australia and the US, it will come from places like India, China and Africa. It will come thanks to the growing accessibility of smart phones and mobile Internet access. The multiplication effect of Internet access across these large populations will be unprecedented.
However, even in places like Australia that already have high mobile penetration, look at how often people upgrade their phones. Most last no more than twelve months before they are relegated to the scrap heap. Why? Because, like early PCs, we are still at the dawn of what hardware can do for mobile devices. Faster processors, more memory, better screens, etc. are driving the turnover of mobile devices as people seek a better experience and, importantly, as people use their mobile devices more and more as their primary device to access the Internet.
With that in mind, ask yourself, how mobile friend is my business? How embracing is my business when it comes to mobile technology. Are we making a centre piece of our strategy to enable employees to work where they want and when they want? Or are we still ignoring the fact that our employees are using their phone with corporate data in a way that maybe inappropriate to our organisational needs?
Good employees desire the ability to work where and when suits them. They want to be able to drop their kids off at school in the morning as well as pick them up. They want to be able to run that small errand during the day. They want to be able to choose the environment that makes them most productive and for many (including myself) that is not an office. Mobile devices allow them to achieve all this and still remain productive. It allows them to continue working for the business while suiting themselves. Good employees are beginning to demand these conditions and smart businesses are enabling it to attract and retain the best talent.
The importance of the mobile device can easily be illustrated. Let’s say that you are in presentation session filled with people you don’t particularly know. How many of you would be comfortable unlocking your phone and handing to someone else randomly? Most people would be far from comfortable in doing that. Why? Because their mobile is now their identity. It has all their contacts, messages, notes, access to financial institutions and so on. It is such an important piece of what constitutes a person in today’s digital age that it should be given the respect it deserves.
A majority of Internet based transactions are now taking place via mobile devices. We are seeing the growth of mobile payment platforms thanks to Apple and Google. Doing things any other way is beginning to introduce more and more friction in the sales process. More friction simply means less sales, so smart businesses are embracing mobile payments as way to maintain but also attract new customers.
However, one of the things that doesn’t change when it comes to corporate mobile devices is the need for control. Security and compliance of information is still a requirement for most businesses no matter where their information is accessed from. In a world where information can be accessed from anywhere a new set of challenges arises as devices are no longer within the four walls of a business. In a world where your device is your identity, what protections do you have in place to protect information you are unwilling to openly share with others as illustrated previously? Although the mobile devices is something most ‘can’t live without’ few take any steps to protect actually it.
My experience is currently that few end user mobile devices have any sort of management at all. This is strange in a world where products like Office 365 include basic mobile device management out of the box. I think the main reason is that IT Professionals are lagging in their knowledge and acceptance of these mobile trends. The worm has turned and customers are now adopting technology at a much faster rate than IT Professionals, many of whom are still land locked with outdated concepts and beliefs of how technology is used.
The limited number of mobile devices currently under management should immediately raise the opportunity and threat flags for someone with a business mindset. The opportunity is clear. To focus on offering the ability to manage devices for businesses in a market where there is currently little competition. The risk is that if you don’t do it for your customers or users then you are vulnerable to your competition coming in and doing for them and potentially pushing you out as a provider in total.
Our modern technology world is ruled by mobile devices and this will only continue to grow. It is time for IT Professionals to embrace the changing landscape of mobility and provide the necessary security and compliance services they have always provided to keep business information secure. They have the experience, they simply need the skills. Services like Office 365 already provides these mobile device management tools, it simply comes down to implementing them.
Embracing mobility is the key to success going forward for both businesses and IT Professionals. It will provide yet another differentiation point between the old and new worlds with those who ‘get it’ reaping the benefits.