Looking back at the past several decades, it's difficult to pinpoint a technology that has had more of an impact than the Internet. For years now, the web has served as an important tool on which all enterprises rely to conduct business on a daily basis.
More recently, however, a challenger to the Internet's supremacy has popped up and appears ready to take over the throne as the most significant enterprise technology. It is, of course, mobility.
During the past several years, smartphones – and tablets, more recently – have risen to prominence within all companies, regardless of size and industry. What used to be a luxury enjoyed only by executives and other members of the management team, mobile technology is now essential in order for an organization to remain competitive.
And moving forward, the recently released Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Survey showed, the impact of mobility could surpass that of the Internet, as the mobile workforce continues to grow and companies look to smartphones, tablets and mobile applications to gain a competitive advantage.
"A majority of CIOs now recognize mobility's potential to transform their business, and we see that reflected in the increasing share of spend for mobility in their IT budgets," said Dan Lauderback, Accenture Mobility Services' global managing director.
Accenture's poll of global chief information officers and other IT professionals revealed that 67 percent feel mobility will affect their businesses as much as, if not more than, the Internet did back in the 1990s. Furthermore, 69 percent of respondents said they plan to devote at least 20 percent of their discretionary budgets to delivering mobility capabilities to employees.
That will translate into major growth for the global mobile workforce – a trend that was also reflected in a report released earlier this year by market research firm IDC.
IDC predicted the mobile workforce will reach 1.3 billion people worldwide by 2015. That number will account for 37.5 percent of the world's professional population. At the end of 2010, IDC's study found, the global mobile workforce stood at 1 billion people.
"[M]obility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce and we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers," IDC senior research analyst Stacey Cook said.
However, the Accenture study also pointed out that enterprise mobility will have to clear several hurdles to attain its full potential. Not the least of those issues is data security.
Despite the continued growth of mobile technology, many professionals around the world still view smartphones, tablets and applications as data protection liabilities. And Accenture's report revealed nothing different.
Half of those polled cited data security as the top roadblock to mobility adoption. Cost and budget ranked second, at 43 percent.
More than half of respondents said they believe that Apple's iOS mobile operating system, which is run on the popular iPhone and iPad devices, is the most secure of the top mobile platforms. About one-quarter of respondents cited Google's Android as the most secure.
The greater use of those platforms, a trend known as consumerization, is also presenting companies with many issues. And no company appears safe from the trend, as more employees are demanding support for devices they are comfortable using and, in most cases, purchased themselves.
According to a recent Fresh Business Thinking report, the ability to choose the technology they use on a daily basis is driving consumerization and bring-your-own-device policies around the globe.
Consumerization News from Trend Micro