Enterprise mobility is the trend towards supporting employees to work in the location that makes the most sense in terms of the business task to be performed.
In the conventional definition, enterprise mobility encompasses “all the personnel, processes, and technology that work together to manage the increasing range of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, wireless networks and associated services to enable the broad use of mobile computing in today’s business environment” (Patel, 2014). This may still mean that employees all work together in a central office. But it also means that more and more employees, supported by mobile devices, cloud services, and networks, can do their job from anywhere they’re required. Enterprise mobility not only means they can place employees at remote locations, it also means they can securely access corporate data and communicate with co-workers where and when they need them.
Perhaps most important of all, mobile devices are actually a bundle of technologies you can carry with you and access at will. At Float, we have identified over 30 “affordances” of mobile devices that can be used in work situations. These include high-speed computing power, sensors that allow our devices to figure out many aspects of our context, and artificial intelligence machine-learning algorithms that get smarter as we use them.
All this will change workflows and power relationships in large organizations. In fact, enterprise mobility is being driven by the “consumerization” of IT. Mobile devices, originally accepted by employees for recreational purposes and for personal home use, are brought into the workplace where employees expect to use them. The same expectations are there for a corporation’s clients or customers. Customer expectations include:
- Wherever I am, your company is available.
- Whenever I choose, your business service is at my fingertips.
- Whatever my next step, you have expected my needs.
- Whenever my action, you are ready to respond. (Shandler et al., 2014)
It’s inevitable that this new reality of customer and employee expectations for highly responsive, personalized, and hassle-free access to the information they need and want will shake up an organization built with silos of influence, where knowledge is guarded by those in charge. This disruption is being facilitated by the deployment of high-speed networks around the world that enable applications such as videos, virtual private networks, and remote monitoring of all aspects of the enterprise.
Enterprise mobility is much more than the use of mobile devices for work. It is part of what is being called “the fourth industrial revolution” (Schwab, 2016), or the age of “brilliant technologies” (Brynjolfsson and McAfee, 2014), where businesses can combine global supply chains, automatic factories staffed by industrial robots, artificial intelligence algorithms based on machine learning, and continuous gathering, storage, and analysis of data, while working together with alert and motivated humans in hybrid arrangements that maximize human creativity, problem solving, and productivity.
Are you ready for this revolution?
Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. (2014). The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
Patel, Rakesh (2014). Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions. Gurgaon, India: Partridge Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Schadler, T., Bernoff, J., and Ask, J. (2014). The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment. Cambridge, MA: Groundswell Press. Kindle Edition.
Schwab, K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Davos, Switzerland: World Economic Forum. Kindle Edition.
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