It is the end of the year so that must mean prediction time for analyst firms...how predictable! VDC's Mobile & Wireless Practice has put together its own set of expectations for trends and expectations we will be tracking in 2011. This post is the first in that series. Enjoy, and, as always, your thoughts and feedback are always welcome.
2011 is certain to be another exciting year for all things mobile, with continued innovation and new capabilities occurring throughout the mobile ecosystem. The upcoming year will feature new upstarts fueled by venture capital investments, continued advancements on both the hardware and software front and new opportunities for businesses to empower their workforces.
While 2011 promises much excitement, VDC Research has identified seven key initiatives that will shape and drive the enterprise mobility market in the coming year.
1. Mobile is the enterprise…the enterprise is mobile
Enterprise mobility impacts virtually every industry across the globe. With the global mobile workforce estimated at almost 1 billion – and growing – enterprise mobility is officially engrained in the fabric of the enterprise, and we expect the mobile worker will become "just another node on the network" in the not too distant future. Enterprise mobility is not just about empowering your own workforce, but also about the very nature of how organizations communicate – internally and with their customers.
Key 2011 enterprise mobility initiatives are too numerous to list. Some of the more unique trends that VDC will be tracking include:
2. Emergence of cloud-optimized mobile solutions
Cloud-based mobile “app-stores” have been a boon for several organizations. However, these services have been optimized for consumers and consumer-like applications. In 2011 we expect to see the emergence of enterprise application stores offered as a managed service. The distribution of applications to more management oriented services, including application management, configuration and provisioning, will be key features. A couple of factors that are lacking from today’s consumer-centric models, but will be critical for the enterprise will be:
Beyond cloud-based mobile application distribution and management services, we also are tracking a growing opportunity for cloud-optimized mobile devices supporting enterprise applications. While not the stripped down thin clients in the traditional sense, these will likely be devices than can support both connected and disconnected operation. The emerging class of tablets/media-pads – with their more smartphone-like OS profiles, processing capabilities and interface options – are likely to be deployed in this fashion.
3. Enterprises embrace application development liberties of next generation mobile platforms
The democratization of mobile application development – enabled by emerging mobile platforms, such as Android, and today’s micro-app mentality – is taking the enterprise by storm. Organizations have become enamored by the low-cost/low-risk approach of internally developing mobile applications to support specific workflows or use cases. This has been especially apparent in the military where Android and iOS development is actively encouraged and invested in. Dozens of vendors focused on mobility have emerged with robust tools and platforms that enable “click and build” capability for creating mobile applications. Considering the level of customization required for currently deployed “traditional” enterprise applications (i.e. desktop applications), we see a significant opportunity for businesses to take advantage of these tools and build their own customized applications that will extend their often significant enterprise application investments.
While this trend is unlikely to significantly impact development of more mission critical applications – and nor are we suggesting that enterprises are taking control of all mobile development – the expectation is these developments will result in the enablement of entirely new mobile workflows and evolve into incremental opportunities for mobile solution providers.
Stay tuned for the next post...