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Enterprise Mobility: What to Expect in 2016

Enterprise Mobility: What to Expect in 2016


According to VDC research, only one in three mobile workers has access to enterprise applications to support their workflow. Despite the global mobile workforce growth in 2015, the enterprise mobility opportunity remains largely untapped.

In this blog  we will discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities uncovered in Enterprise Mobility Exchange’s recent Analyst Insight Report conducted by David Krebs of VDC Research and sponsored by Mobile Labs.

#1 Mobile Drive Digital Transformation

As mobile devices saturate the enterprise environment, enterprises are beginning to shift focus toward enhancing their applications to create greater value. This means creating more use cases and allowing for integration with business systems and systems of record. According to the report, there has been an increase in the focus of mobile applications that integrate with back-end applications.

The report predicts that in 2016 enterprise mobile applications will be designed to:

  • Seamlessly integrate workflows and applications across multiple channels
  • Use reactive data collection to adapt field workers workflow
  • React intuitively in customer asset facing interactions with smart alerts and prompts based on environmental intelligence
  • Personalize services and interactions based on user preference and environment

There’s no question that mobility is critical to businesses across all industries, so investments that allow employees greater efficiency and productivity are unavoidable. Organizations must consider which applications to focus on, which styles to use and which development tools to use to build applications—a list that continues to grow.

Another obstacle to address is that no enterprise mobile application is alike; each comes with its own set of challenges and requirements including:

  • Demand for fast responding agile mobile applications
  • Demand for advanced security
  • Demand for increased mobile app deployments

As users expect enterprises to develop and deploy applications at a fast pace, best practices and trends have emerged to help enterprise meet business expectations.

#2 Legacy

Modifying legacy application code in hopes of making the application more flexible and modern can be time consuming and expensive, but it will ultimately result in a more powerful application. Luckily, a new class of modernization and rapid app development solutions for automated object-based transformation can take the headache out of manually modernizing code and result in powerful, cost-effective mobile apps.

Finding the right alternative to code transformation depends on your organization’s business objectives. If your primary objective is risk reduction, then recoding is likely the only option. But, if your objective is to enable existing back-end systems to work with web applications, there exists a variety of alternatives to rebuilding applications from scratch.

When applications are rapidly developed and deployed, user experience often falls by the wayside. So, many enterprises are addressing this challenge by focusing on key pain points to bridge the performance gap.

#3 Bring Your Own Tools (BYOT)

We all know of BYOD (bring your own device), but with the growing number of mobile applications another BYO trend has emerged: bring your own tools (BYOT). Just as organizations had to adapt to BYOD, mobile app development platform vendors are having to adapt to BYOT in order to support the wide assortment of tools and protocols. The BYOT approach benefits developers because it allows them to use their own tools and platforms, cutting down on the learning curve associated with having to use fixed platforms.

#4 Cloud Mobile Development on the Rise

Like everything else, mobile development will continue to move to the cloud. While increasing efficiency is one advantage, the real benefit to cloud development is the ability to rapidly launch new applications and quickly make edits to the application as needed. Cloud computing takes away a lot of back-end work allowing the developer to focus on the end-user application.

#5 mBaaS (Mobile Back-end as a Service)

Large organizations favor mBaaS services because they take away the need for developers to code common mobile application functions. Web developers also like these solutions as they allow them to use existing skills for mobile app development.

Creating mobile applications that are well designed and work properly for the end user is time consuming and difficult. Back-end system integration, mobile enterprise ROI, scope creep, cost and device management will remain the key challenges to development in 2016.

#6 Device Saturation

Mobile device saturation in the workplace is causing numerous management, security and support challenges for IT, especially when enterprise applications go beyond the traditional email, messaging and calendars.

Compliance will remain a key pain point as data regulations continue to grow in the health care and government industries. This means organizations must be aware of where their data is stored, where it is being transferred and what level of encryption is needed for their content. Implementing strict mobile security will be a major requirement for organizations in 2016.

#7 Rugged Devices – do they still matter?

For many years, warehouse distribution centers, inventory management providers, couriers, etc. have all relied on rugged devices to track materials, inventory and deliveries. However, the main operating systems—Windows CE and Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5—which supported these devices stopped being sold in 2015 and will reach the end of service life in 2020. What does this mean to enterprises? They now have to recode and modernize these legacy applications.

Although a challenge, this movement represents a huge opportunity for mobile development platform and tool vendors. While many organizations continue to support legacy customers, the majority have focused their resources on developing next generation applications available on Android and iOS. As the window of opportunity for next generation Windows platforms closes, industry experts expert Android to lead the next generation platform for rugged handheld devices in 2016.


Businesses continue to develop mobile applications to minimize costs and improve communication, collaboration and efficiency across their organizations, but using these mobile applications effectively still remains a challenge.

In 2016, VDC Research sees enterprises developing more immersive and functional applications to transform workflows and leverage the growing mobile workforce. With that being said, investing in mobile is a challenge as the mobile development vendor landscape is fragmented and proving ROI can be difficult. Though there may be downsides, the benefits of enterprise mobility are very real and should be considered by all organizations.

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