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Enterprises must focus on application management to enable 'mobile-first' business

Matthew Finnegan | June 10, 2014
Enterprises aiming to become true ‘mobile-first' businesses must adapt their mobility management strategies to support a wider variety of applications, with many firms currently falling short of customer expectations.

Luisa Childs-Brown, head of mobile strategy at Royal Mail, said that there is still a disparity in terms of what businesses can offer compared to what employees can access on their personal devices.

"There is no doubt that there is a gap between the services that you have at home and the services you have in corporate environment. There are definite camps that are developing - you have Apple camps, BlackBerry camps, Android camps," said Childs-Brown.

"From an organisational perspective, the complexity in terms of how to support and manage all of these devices is huge. A lot of individuals don't realise this, they think they can just walk in and connect to the network and carry on."

Shadow IT
The danger of shadow IT should be a major consideration for businesses. Just as employees wanted to bring their devices to work, they are also keen to access cloud-based applications such as Dropbox, Twitter and Skype in the workplace.

According to an Ovum survey, around half of employees who use an enterprise social network are using one which was not deployed by their business.

Andrew Broadbent, IT director at charity Anthony Nolan Trust, said the introduction of younger staff into the workplace is helping to drive expectations about enterprise applications. He suggested that businesses should accept that employees will want to use their own apps, and should adapt accordingly.

"We want to provide an environment staff like working in, and often that means enabling them to do what they like, because frankly they are going to do it anyway," he said.

"You can put as many controls in place as you like, and you can say 'I can provide that using SharePoint, come back in three months and I will have delivered it'. But by the time I would have delivered it they would already be using Dropbox or Yammer or something like that."

Ovum's Absalom says that IT teams should take a proactive approach to deciding which applications should be corporately approved or added to an internal app store.

"If people don't have the right services then they will source them through BYOD or their line manager might go out and procure them and come up with their own internal policies - which is a nightmare for IT departments to manage," he says.

"IT departments need to make sure that employees can use the applications that they need, to actually go out and work with them and find out from the lines of business what they need."


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