When we conduct research at ESG, we are always inquiring about the sources of information that are most useful in helping to learn about, research, and evaluate technology products and services. “Interaction with peers” constantly tops the list, and was well reflected in the caliber of attendees at the Enterprise Mobility Exchange event I recently attended in Las Vegas. The majority of the event is dedicated to peer interaction, but attendees also receive 1-on-1 time with participating vendors. It’s an ideal way to “speed date” over several days to learn about new market innovation, potential resolutions to top challenges, and even get a glimpse into some roadmap discussions. The event is a win-win scenario for me as well, as I slice time between IT conversations and listen to fascinating discussions regarding business challenges and mobility success stories.
The primary takeaway was that mobility remains complex, and incorporates multiple pieces of technology, internal organizational alignment, and flexible business processes. Here are a few of the highlights.
- The airline industry continues to interest me in multiple ways. The mobile use case regarding less paper and better information in the cockpit is an excellent example of mobility at work. The industry extends the value to flight crews with scheduling improvements, maintenance process simplification, and better POS solutions. And while the groups are typically separate, airlines are the great case study for B2C mobile apps that drive revenue through a mobile experience.
- Integration with legacy systems exposes a conundrum for businesses. Most businesses have a database, an existing HR application, finance tools, etc. While some may have the luxury of upgrading these to modern platforms, most must learn how to integrate mobility strategies with these systems when it makes sense. Blanket statements that express “we need to mobilize these systems” is not always the best route, nor may it be necessary. I have spoken with a few IT vendors (Capriza, Sapho, and SkyGiraffe) that focus on rapid app development and mobilizing these legacy applications, but have yet to see a train that is racing ahead.
- BYOD remains a market buzzword, but strategies vary significantly. One of the hot topics was around how to address non-exempt employees. The conversation quickly swings to “how to avoid legal trouble with these employees if they enroll in BYOD and work on the device outside of their set work hours.” Are they eligible for pay? Overtime? It’s an issue that many companies are facing. I also observed large businesses leaning toward corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) devices to simplify security, billing, support, etc. Both BYOD and COPE will continue to be hot topics into 2017.
- I found most mobility experts are shy to talk about mobile threat defense. Although they recognize that mobile devices are an attack vector, they’re reluctant to discover just how vulnerable (or not) these devices are. I’ve heard stories confirming small pilots of 100 devices being exposed to massive risks, while others shared how they piloted a loaner scenario for employees traveling to India and Asia—and found zip. This market is hot with vendors, and I highly suspect we will see the adoption rate of these technologies pick up. I also expect to see acquisition in the space from the likes of Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Google, IBM, Cisco, and Amazon.
Attendees had great exposure to the above topics, and I’m certain they walked away with new ideas and perspectives. Events hosted by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, such as this one, are an excellent way to step out of the day-to-day routine, and be able to network and learn from industry peers to validate hypotheses, while injecting fresh ideas into your mobility strategy.