The importance of mobile strategies in the enterprise space is rising at remarkably high rates. In a recent study, it was found that nearly 45% companies already have ‘mobile-first’ approaches – and 7 out of every 10 enterprises consider that ‘mobility‘ will be a key propeller of growth in the foreseeable future. Speculations about a slowdown in the global Mobile Device Management, or MDM, sector have also been laid to rest by a MarketsandMarkets report (from a sub-$2.9 billion market value in 2018, MDM is projected to jump to ~$8 billion by the end of 2023). Over the next 5 years, the CAGR of this market will hover around the 23% mark.
The rapidly increasing role of laptops and smartphones and tablets and other smart gadgets for business is, in turn, fueling the growth of the worldwide enterprise mobility management (EMM) industry. Between 2014 and 2020, the market is expected to grow by nearly 488% ($85 billion vs $500 billion), with BYOD being one of the most important drivers of this growth. Over here, we will round up all the important trends and stats in EMM to watch out for in 2019:
Focus on business apps is increasing, with location-based services to the fore
As enterprises are getting more advanced and spatially decentralised, the demand for customised business app development is going up. These ‘made-for-enterprise’ applications typically have quicker loading times (time is a key factor), and generally have non-intrusive auto-updation features. Given that employees might have to work from different places, the built-in GPS and other location-based features are emerging as vital elements of business apps. What’s more, the apps also need to be platform and OS-agnostic. Going forward, it can be reasonably expected that enterprise mobility would considerably reduce the reliance of people on traditional, static desktop/laptop systems.
Note: The performance of enterprise applications should not be affected by the status of network availability at any time.
BYOD will continue to grow
The CAGR of the ‘bring-your-own-device’ (BYOD) market for the period between 2014 and 2020 will be over 36% – a clear indication of how this is fast becoming a workplace norm. Given the high penetration and sheer variety of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other smart tools being used in an enterprise scenario, it becomes important to keep things organised with streamlined mobile device management (MDM) and EMM strategies. The BYOD adoption figures in companies are being driven by the potential savings in hardware costs – and the ‘BYOD culture’ is being embraced by companies across different verticals. In terms of the security factor, BYOD does bring in a set of fresh challenges – with data security, network security and device security being the most critical. By the end of this decade, the BYOD security market will be worth ~$25 billion – and EMM is going to play an increasingly important role in it.
Note: There are still a few factors holding back the growth of BYOD, with low device awareness levels and lack of adequate trust being the main issues.
Cross-platform apps are the need of the hour
Earlier this year, Google announced the beta version of Flutter – an open source toolkit for cross-platform app development (iOS and Android). Tools like React Native (by Facebook) are already fairly popular among professional mobile app developers. Platform barriers are going down in the domain of enterprise mobility – with the BYOD culture taking over, and employees using iOS and Android devices demanding for a seamless, consistent app experience. That, in turn, is pulling up the demand for cross-platform applications that deliver all the features and rich functionalities of native apps. By December 2017, more than 445 thousand cross-platform apps were in active use, and that number will continue to swell as EMM platforms get more and more refined.
Note: The number of iOS apps ported to the Android platform is nearly double of the number of apps going the other way, according to a research report.
The role of augmented reality is becoming prominent
There was a time when augmented reality (AR) was implemented only in high-end consumer apps. Technology has moved forward since than, and a key trend in the recent proliferation of EMM strategies is the usage of AR in business applications. Right from interactive employee training and corporate travel communications, to virtual modeling, field services management and sales boosts – a wide array of tasks can be made easier and more immersive than ever with the help of this technology. The potential of AR to merge elements from the real and the virtual worlds, to deliver true simulative experiences, has been identified by businesses across the globe. Real-time location system (RTLS) is being used in combination with IoT systems to make the enterprise AR resources more powerful.
Note: By 2022, the global AR/VR market’s value will be northwards of $208 billion.
Rise and rise of IoT
According to experts, IoT devices are all set to emerge as the largest set of ‘connected devices’ this year, overtaking mobile phones. As the setup of cutting-edge IoT tools and frameworks in existing enterprise IT infrastructure is getting simpler, and the connection/implementation costs are falling – more corporate houses are starting to rely on smart gadgets/platforms to collect, store and access mission-critical data. The growth of IoT in the business space is being further bolstered by the ever-increasing number of wifi-enabled devices in use. The total number of mobile subscriptions is going to go past the 9 billion mark in 2021, while smartphone subscriptions being well above 6.1 billion. In the next few years, mobility programming will be shaped by the way in which these devices are used. In addition, the exponentially-rising count of enterprise devices would also fuel the demand for smarter unified endpoint management (UEM).
Note: Real-time analytics and dashboards, powered by IoT, will also help in better business decision-making.
Shortage of expert developers with relevant experience
Advance mobility systems is gradually replacing traditional computing methods in enterprises. As a direct result, the demand for a set of ‘next-generation developers’ – with high-end technical (programming) and management skills – is arising. Unfortunately though, there is a shortage of such workers, due to a combination of factors – like lack of technical expertise or relevant experience, to inadequate formal education and/or inordinately high salary demands. In 2019 and beyond, the need for experienced developers (who would be able to add to the productivity and efficiency levels of enterprises) would increase. Skilled human workforce will continue to be the biggest asset for any company. Without adequate monitoring and proper management, EMM can run into problems.
Note: The demand for business app development is, roughly, 5 times more than the delivering capacity of leading IT companies. As business applications are increasing, more and more people are required to optimally use them.
Rise of the ‘hybrid workers’
In a survey conducted earlier this year, it was found that only around 18% of enterprises actually provide company-owned mobile devices to employees. On the other hand, ~30% companies reported that they were entirely reliant on BYOD practices. The remaining 52% enterprises are of interest over here – since they have a ‘hybrid’ of BYOD and company devices (provided to select employees, depending on tasks and job roles). The rise of such ‘hybrid approaches’ – and in turn, ‘hybrid workers’ – is an important trend in the study of EMM. As a whole, the importance of enterprise mobility has never been higher – with 75% workers stating that business workflows are directly affected by mobile devices. At many places, the management expects employees to remain available even after office-hours (and also from remote locations). In such situations, such ‘hybrid approaches’ – a cross between BYOD and company devices – make a lot of sense.
Note: For the early adopters, effective EMM can be a key differentiating factor, and can generate significant, unique competitive advantages.
Cloud computing will grow immensely
More mobile devices are driving up the demand for EMM/UEM, the rising number of ‘endpoints’ is expanding the volume of big data generated, and the potential use cases of such big data are constantly increasing. Enterprises would, understandably, try to move beyond the limitations of on-device memory and storage, and switch to secure cloud computing practices. As per reasonable estimates, the CAGR of cloud computing will be just a shade under 23%, and nearly 80% of the total revenues generated by cloud platforms (in 2020) will be contributed by the three biggest players – Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google. The onus will be on IT managers to find and implement cloud platforms that offer an ideal combination of reliability, affordability and availability. There are security threats to be wary of, and on-premise hosting of important enterprise data can be an effective strategy. It remains to be seen what other security controls come into the fray over the next few years, to make EMM and cloud platforms more robust.
Note: The total revenue from EMM will push towards $3 billion in 2019. Investments on enterprise mobility is going up steadily across the globe.
Chatbots are the future of business interactions
Given that, on average, 8 out of every 10 enterprises are looking to implement chatbots by the turn of the decade, there are little doubts over this. In 2019 and beyond, ‘intelligent robots’ are likely to emerge as the faces of businesses, easing both customer interactions and employee communications. The AI-powered chatbots will double up as task-schedulers as well, and can take away the human error element from repetitive, day-to-day jobs. In addition, enterprises have the opportunity of utilising the insights from the chatbot interactions to take better decisions, decide future course(s) of action, and haul up efficiency levels. In fact, a recent study found that chatbots have the edge over apps (69% vs 51%) as the most preferred medium of communicating with a business. Enterprise mobility management has to factor in the performance of chatbots.
Note: In 2016, the size of the worldwide chatbot market was $191 million. By 2025, this market will be worth $1250 million – and enterprise chatbots will become mainstream.
10. EMM to become more ‘intelligent’ than ever
New and interesting use cases of artificial intelligence (AI) in the enterprise domain are constantly being unearthed. That, as a result, is also expanding the overall scope of EMM. Right from static image recognitions & tagging, contract analysis and image text queries, to data detection/identification, data processing and even predictive maintenance – AI comes in handy in a myriad of fields, boosting performance and productivity metrics. With the range of features of the latest generation of flagship smartphones going through the roof, the demand is for more interactive business applications, and AI-powered tools can deliver that easily. The cumulative value of AI software implementations in businesses (directly and indirectly), will touch $37 billion by the second half of 2025. AI and ML are changing the way enterprises work, that’s for sure.
Note: $1.2 trillion is the projected market value of the global AI industry, in 2020.
11. The need for multilayered security
The importance of data for the modern-day enterprises can hardly be overemphasized. The increasing prevalence of the ‘BYOD culture’ poses a definite security threat – and there are chances of data breaches, DDoS attacks, and other forms of unauthorised third-party access. In such a scenario, EMM simply has to include a solid, multilayered security model – securing critical business data at the device level, the platform level, and the overall infrastructure level. The focus is squarely on making the storage and the authentication processes more secure – with chances of data breaches reduced to a minimum. Better endpoint security is the name of the game, and in this context, blockchain technology also can have an important role to play.
Note: In 2017, there were a whopping 1579 cases of reported data breaches. With UEM, such attacks have to be reduced considerably in future.
12. Availability of EMM as a solution package
The scope of enterprise mobility is widening at a rapid clip. Apart from the functional elements, developers also need to keep an eye on the compliance standards, and privacy/security guidelines. The need for a more holistic management platform or system has led to EMM services being offered as a suite. In such a package, MDM is, of course, the most important component – but there are other tasks, like MCM (mobile content management), MAM (mobile applications management) and MIM (mobile identity management), that are also included in a EMM suite. There is a need to provide support to more devices, while cloud integrations need to be stronger (these two factors, in fact, are driving up the demand for UEM). A more consistent naming convention would also be useful.
Note: Solution-bundling is actually increasing the usability of EMM, and giving enterprises greater options to choose custom mobility management services.
13. Challenges that have to be overcome
EMM might hold out the promises of business advantages, but implementing it optimally is not the easiest task in the world. For starters, the nature and functionality of the different enterprise IoT systems are diverse, and everything has to be managed by the enterprise mobility platform. Cloud-based solutions need to be fully scalable and highly secure, while ensuring seamless collaboration between PC management teams and mobility management teams is also a challenge. The user-experience (both for customers and employees) has to be uniformly excellent too. Apart from managing data and endpoints, EMM also needs to provide predictive analytics, to be of real value to businesses. Reaching newer markets and designing enterprise-specific use cases is also something that needs to be looked into. In 2019, we can reasonably expect these challenges to be addressed, as enterprise mobility gets more nuanced.
From greater responsiveness, a plethora of features, and compactness, to higher engagements and availability of important insights & analytics – there are many advantages of a dedicated EMM framework. In the next year and beyond, developers will place maximum emphasis on enhancing functionality levels – so that enterprises get real value and a boost in ROI. It’s still early days for EMM…and it will get smarter, more flexible, and more feature-rich in future.
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