Transient Apps: The Consumer Influence on Enterprise Mobility, Part 2

1Executive Summary

Technology and organizational trends are driving the demand for apps in the enterprise. As we discuss in this report, there is no better time than now to consider an enterprise mobility strategy that co-opts consumerization. Dramatic improvements in control and ultra-low costs are enabled by Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Do-it-Yourself/self-service approaches, respectively. The potential of scaling thousands of transient and persistent lightweight apps that run across the range of corporate and Bring-Your-Own (BYO) devices is an opportunity IT can seize, and in doing so deliver on the promise of an agile, empowering and productive “Workplace 2.0.”

If your IT department is feeling intense pressure from employees for the allowance of personal devices on your company network, it’s likely resulting from Apple and Google’s strategy of launching smartphones to consumers first. These new mobility market entrants wisely recognized that the path of least resistance was through consumers, and chose not to directly confront the obstacle of enterprise inertia. But this has generated demand from information workers and executives that is impossible for IT to ignore any longer. Our GigaOM Pro report “Rogue Devices,” Part 1 in our series on the consumer influence in enterprise mobility, examines the issue and urges IT departments to adopt a strategy to co-opt this frustration.

One such strategy that also saves enterprises money is the “Bring Your Own” trend, catalyzed in part, by the phasing out of corporate reimbursements of home broadband. In the past, CIOs would simply say “no” to rogue devices, end of discussion. But today, compelling devices and a consumer app explosion have created something RIM alone could never have—a tipping point of consumers who will gladly pay their own way. Early iPhone adopter Kraft Foods, for example, announced a “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” policy that opened the door to a “Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC)” policy. A growing trend in consumerization is now “Bring Your Own Everything (BYOE).”

Other early iPhone adopters, such as Genentech, are a step of ahead of mainstream enterprise. These companies have co-opted the frustration stemming from a vacuum of enterprise apps and have built an enterprise app store, such as Genentech’s, which is now stocked with 30 thirdparty, simple workflow and robust business apps. The app storefront trend has created a universal “I have an app for that” mentality fueling unprecedented demand for native and webbased mobile apps in the enterprise. With a multiple of 37 apps per one “rogue” device (the average iPhone has 37 apps, Android 22, BlackBerry10, according to Nielsen), there is an enterprise app deluge in the making. Contrasted with a consumer-to-app ratio of 37:1, what’s your work-app ratio?

This app trend in small, medium, and enterprise businesses won’t be driven by a killer app like Facebook, however. Instead a long-tail statistical distribution of multi-level apps will form a new wave of transient and persistent lightweight, purpose-driven apps. Developed for a disruptively low cost, transient apps open an entirely new category of enterprise apps that will emerge to meet the needs of multi-tasking workers.

This deluge of apps at multiple organizational levels will join a groundswell of legacy mobile apps, such as rugged-device field force solutions and laptop-based sales force automation (SFA), repurposed and retooled to exploit new device form factors. By securely marrying sensor and personal data on the device (presence, location, video, accelerometer and social graph) with third-party XML data in the cloud (unified communications services, back-end CRM enterprise data, public newsfeeds and maps, other user-generated content), these legacy apps will be more responsive, relevant and agile. And they will provide a fertile foundation from which a new crop of transient and persistent lightweight apps will grow.

Finally, next-generation mobile technology requires next-generation organizational models. To avoid neglecting changes in governance and process, companies should take a holistic approach to mobility strategy. Organizational structures like a Mobile Innovation Coalition (MIC) should be taken full advantage of to empower departments and users, while at the same time setting and enforcing policies centrally. Even the cadence and role-focus of the planning process needs to be adapted to ensure mobile strategy evolves in the right direction. As a result, IT fosters new levels of IT/Business collaboration, empowers employees and adds shareholder value.

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