By Tom Kendra
The enterprise workplace is evolving rapidly; for IT to be prepared to manage change efficiently, securely and cost-effectively, it is essential to understand the key drivers of change. I group them into three categories.
The current overuse of terms, including “mobile,” “connected,” “data rich” and “virtual,” clearly reflects what is on the minds of both enterprise solution providers and customers as they seek to respond to all the changes.
2. Reality and preference
The reality is that tomorrow’s workplace will combine traditional approaches—offices and hubs—with a highly connected remote-worker ecosystem made up of employees, contractors and partners. Preference will become increasingly important as organizations have more flexibility in how they build their workforces—office-bound, remote or a mix—and as more workers have the tools to choose to work remotely.
3. How fast the workforce is evolving
Over the next two years, we will continue to see a rapid increase in the number of device types, use cases and collaborative tools. This will put greater pressure on IT to simplify management, secure data and protect privacy rights.
The real question is how far along are vendors in providing enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions to support all these changes? While we have made great strides, much more needs to be done, especially when it comes to vendors making it easier for IT to support their mobile and remote workforces while managing highly connected and data-rich virtualized systems.
Today, too many enterprises are still taking an array of point solutions (mobile device management, VPN, SSL, secure workspace, etc.) and self-integrating them to create a “complete” mobility management environment. One problem with this approach is that after struggling to get these disparate systems to work together, you still have to make sure their release cycles are on a similar path, both in terms of timing and industry developments. Another issue is that every time you purchase a point solution, you’re also getting a new cost structure—support, infrastructure, learning, etc. It also keeps you from fully taking advantage of the opportunity—each of these device and PC support quadrants has common technology, but you’re buying solutions that aren’t integrated, which just adds to your complexity. Lastly, you have to hope that any existing partnerships that helped deliver these existing solutions stay in place, so your current environment can continue to deliver value without disruption.
I believe this approach is unsustainable and that by 2016, the industry will be dominated by comprehensive suites that are highly integrated and can handle a much broader range of use cases and customer requirements. These solutions must be easy to acquire and deploy and offer very short time-to-usability. They must also be able to scale with a relatively low total cost of ownership (TCO)—which is, in part, why we will also likely see pricing based on what enterprises actually need and use, instead of an all-or-nothing approach.
Vendors that survive this evolution and industry consolidation will be those that truly understand—not just in sales and marketing, but in the very DNA of their organizations—the needs and wants of their customers while delivering a comprehensive EMM solution that provides choice, flexibility, simplicity and an attractive TCO.