Many companies now support consumer devices
Well, it's happened. The employees have won, as the consumerization of enterprise mobility has reached a tipping point.
The researchers at Forrester recently released their latest report, 10 Lessons Learned From Early Adopters Of Mobile Device Management Solutions. Among the interesting areas covered by the report was a nugget about the prevalence of consumer-based smartphones and tablets now in use at many companies.
Forrester's analysis of the enterprise mobility management practices revealed that 59 percent of companies support consumer-based devices in some fashion.
"[Consumerization] is driving progressive firms to commence their internal overhaul with an investment in mobile device management solutions," the report stated. "As an immediate next step, firms often rethink their mobile policies to extend support to both corporate and [consumer-based] devices, inclusive of smartphones, tablets and laptops."
That says it all right there. Companies can no longer run from the trend. You heard straight from the mouth, or keyboard, of the expert – enterprise mobility platforms must lend support to devices other than the old standbys.
Of course, there's nothing really new here. We've seen this coming for a long time. In fact, it began in the summer of 2007 when Steve Jobs took to the stage and introduced us to the new toy that people across the world would soon be clamoring to get their hands on – the iPhone.
Since that time, more technologically forward smartphones have been released to an increasingly crowded marketplace. That has caused employees to view the grass on the other side of the enterprise mobility fence to be greener than what they have – or had – with a BlackBerry.
While some companies may have held out hope that employees would come to their senses and return to the umbrella of the one-device-for-all model, it's just not happening. And Forrester's new study proves that.
“[I]n the next 12 months, 83 percent of firms expect to support iOS and 77 percent expect to support Android, despite underlying security concerns for these platforms,” the report stated.
What company executives and mobility managers have to understand, however, is that consumerization won't spell the end of the world, or even mobile device management, as they know it. All will be fine so long as the appropriate solutions and mobile policies are in place to support and oversee the use of Apple and Android-based products, as well as others.
For example, a wireless expense management solution allows a company to see what devices are being used by employees. That includes their contracts and even what version of a mobile operation system is installed. Such information will allow managers to spot any issues in terms of either cost or use of a smartphone or tablet that is accessing enterprise network.
Getting ahead of the consumerization trend and aligning mobile device management solutions and policies appropriately will prevent a company from suffering the nightmare scenarios that all mobility managers dread, experts say.