Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

The mobile-enabled enterprise: Are we there yet?

Katherine Noyes | April 13, 2015
The potential is considerable, but plenty of challenges remain.

Vendors of enterprise software are racing to address these new expectations in numerous ways. With its workspace-as-a-service offering, for example, Workspot lets users securely access apps and data from any device, it says.

Enterprise-software heavyweight Salesforce has committed to a "mobile first" philosophy with its own applications, said Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing for the Salesforce Analytics Cloud.

"If you look at the consumer space, people spend at least 50 percent of their time on mobile devices," Rosenman said. "We're seeing our users closely mirroring that behavior."

Even Facebook is working on an offering focused on the mobile enterprise: Facebook at Work, which is now in beta.

"The cornerstone of the experience is mobile," said Elisabeth Diana, Facebook's director of corporate communications. "It's a similar look and feel to Facebook; the primary difference is that information shared through Facebook at Work stays within the company."

A handful of companies are currently testing out the technology, and Facebook hopes to expand that number soon, Diana said.

HopTo focuses on enabling mobility while allowing companies to leverage their existing Windows-based infrastructure, including Windows Remote Desktop Services, Active Directory, SharePoint sites and cloud storage services.

"The challenge we're seeing is that many companies have a massive amount of legacy software that's used to run the business," Eilam said. "Converting that for mobile is extremely challenging."

Indeed, even as new solutions continue to emerge, there is no shortage of challenges remaining for today's newly mobile organizations -- and the vendors that serve them.

Security, for example, remains a big one: By the end of this year, only 15 percent of large companies will have adequate mobile security governance, according to IDC.

"Mobile devices tend to store things locally," Eilam said. "That creates a really serious challenge: document sprawl." HopTo's answer to that problem is to keep storage at the back end, he said. Files can be edited remotely but are saved back to the place in which they were opened, such as SharePoint or cloud storage.

Workspot's Kanaan points to a need for what she calls contextual security. The idea is to build security technology that can recognize when a user is trying to get to sensitive data on a mobile device and respond by requiring extra authentication.

"That's a huge industry challenge for us to figure out, especially when you look at regulated industries like health care and finance," she said.

There's also a need for common ground on mobile app development, Kanaan said.

"It's slow and costly to make enterprise apps work on mobile," she said. "We don't have standardization there, and enterprises are still struggling with that."

In short, there's no doubt the process of mobilizing the enterprise world is happening quickly, but there's still plenty to be addressed. Said HopTo's Eilam, "I think we'll continue to see a mix of legacy and mobile technologies for a couple of decades still."

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.