What is the Mobile Enterprise?

Information Integration:

The Mobile Enterprise integrates consumer needs with business products by creating low-friction virtual exchanges or “Innovation Platforms”. These platforms fall into traditional categories:

e-Commerce, Supply Chain Mgt, Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relations Mgt, Analytics or Business Intelligence

but deploy nontraditional architectures, technologies or processes to satisfy the demands of mobile consumers.

E-Commerce has always had to support some modicum of “bring your own device” (BYOD) but, as Gartner notes, “The rise of BYOD programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded the workplace.”[1]

IDC groups Mobile, Cloud, Big Data Analytics and Social (The Third Platform) as the major components of IT solutions over the next five years with mobile generating nearly 57% of the industry’s growth in 2013.[2]

Mobile enterprise integration joins BYOD consumers (via custom Apps) with commodity cloud services (SaaS, iPaaS, PaaS & IaaS) to create Innovation Platforms that are fungible and elastic to market demands. The cloud(s) provide an economic solution to changing demand and expectation.

Innovation Platforms service customers on their terms, embracing new expectations. The goal of the Mobile Enterprise is “information mobility” because, inaccessible information is irrelevant to customers. Mobile is a pervasive business need and requisite IT strategy.

The “retailization” of IT Consumers via mobile devices has changed their value perspective, at home and work. A business’s virtual differentiation is based on customer-facing front-end App’s, supported by commodity back-end clouds with superior analytics. Integrating elastic systems is the key to mobilizing information and creating an innovative consumer platform.

The business need:

Enable roaming consumers to use their value perspective while aggregating information. This could be a physician using her tablet to access a boutique clinical service, a road warrior’s “SalesForce” laptop or the CEO’s iPhone.

The precedent in value perception has already been set by hundreds of thousands of “retail” iPhone Apps and there accompanying Software as a Service (SaaS) subscriptions. Now the Enterprise is compelled to provide the same “low friction” information services.

Forrester Research continues to corroborate the business need of the Mobile Enterprise with its “App Internet” analysis. A phenomenon Forrester defines as “specialized local apps running in conjunction with cloud-based services” across smartphones, tablets and other devices. CEO and Chairman George Colon re-confirmed Forrester’s August 2010 App Internet report, at “IT Forum 2011”, as a 2.2 billion dollar market with a compound annual growth rate of 85 percent through 2015. Conclusion, both Enterprise customers and vendors will change their basic operating model to accommodate the new App reality.

The IT strategy:

When 1 in 14 people, worldwide, are touched by Facebook, it is no longer prudent to discount the function or technology these SaaS applications employ. While Facebook’s audience is exceptional, most Apps succeed by focusing on a specialized customer base.

In contrast to traditional Enterprise software suites, Apps find success by being opinionated. They lower the cognitive price to users by catering to a narrower audience. Apps tend to do a few things really well. This also means a typical consumer will increasingly rely on more software programs. This might be chaotic for an Enterprise charged with information governance and customer support? Any IT strategy must account for these new realities, enter the Mobile Enterprise.

This strategy embraces mobility or agility at key levels to create an Innovation Platform. Like an electrical utility, the Mobile Enterprise transforms a complex supply chain into an easily consumed service.

Specifically, the Mobile Enterprise delivers loosely coupled information services to roaming consumers via an abstract or mobile infrastructure exploiting commoditized resources. Abstract infrastructure? The Gartner Group projected in January 2010 that, “a fifth of Enterprises will hold no IT assets by 2012”; this is an abstract IT infrastructure based on Cloud computing services. This shift is huge, even if direct cloud adoption is less aggressive than projected, the Enterprise will be compelled to integrate more value-add SaaS applications.

Clearly, every corporate IT strategy must address the exponential growth of

  • mobile consumers,
  • third party SaaS applications running on
  • commoditized Cloud computing resources.

Only a platform functioning as an “information utility” can hope to successfully negotiate this complex supply chain and distribution grid. Only the Mobile Enterprise can insure the lights stay on.

  1. “Bring Your Own Device Programs Herald the Most Radical Shift in Enterprise Client Computing Since the Introduction of the PC”; Gartner Inc. Stamford, CT, August 28, 2012.  ↩

  2. “IT Shifts to Third Platform as Mobile Spend Grows by 20%”; International Data Corporation Mobile Enterprise, December 3, 2012.  ↩