Mobility, like many catch phrases in the ICT world, means different things to different people. For some, the idea of being able to remotely access emails and the Internet through their notebook or smartphone while in another state or country, is mobility.
For the guy working down in the mines or driving a truck, mobility could be the tools to get a purchase order signed and lodged into the CRM system without having to return to head office. But for a 16 year-old kid, mobility is about updating their Facebook profile from their iPhone while on the train or bus.
ARN recently held a roundtable with a range of industry representatives to debate what mobility means in today’s ICT-savvy world, as well as the opportunities and inhibitors facing vendor and channel players providing related solutions. Among our attendees were hardware and components manufacturers, Dell and Intel, along with network operator, Vodafone, and several SMB and mid-market IT resellers and integrators.
While everybody agreed mobility was increasingly influencing IT usage and systems, it’s not always easy to associate a definitive ROI and get sign-off for a mobility solution. As a result, integrators face increasing challenges bringing in and securing ad-hoc and ever-changing devices to the corporate network. Although it is relatively easy to standardise a PC fleet for example, many customers are still unwilling to commit upfront to a similarly uniform mobility process and policy.
What also became evident through our lunch discussion, was that mobility solutions are not only specific to a certain vertical market, or organisation size, they’re also heavily and increasingly influenced by individual tastes and devices.
The advent of the BlackBerry and accessing corporate emails while on-the-go, was a real accelerant for mobility in the business community. But, arguably, it’s the consumer-oriented iPhone, with its applications for absolutely everything, that’s really challenging the status quo. Not only is it generation Ys bringing these into the corporate environment – it’s also the CEOs and sales guys demanding connectivity through these handheld devices to corporate applications and emails.
Yet while devices might be driving mobility demand, the associated costs of connectivity and limitations of applications on certain types of devices can hinder it.
Business-grade mobility solutions will only be truly comprehensive and successful when the device, network connectivity, applications and infrastructure required to provide back-end support, is aligned. To me, that sounds like a golden opportunity for integrators to tackle.
This Mobility supplement is sponsored by Dell.