A few months ago, I discussed how enterprise mobility is part of the modern business evolution. Revolution might be more like it. In 2016, we saw record numbers of companies changing how they function in the new mobile environment—increasingly working from mobile-only apps and providing only mobile devices to new employees. As the technology grows and expands, it has the potential to own and define the digital transformation. It’s changing how we work, think, and relate. And with the help of IoT and virtual reality, there is literally no telling what other changes lay in store. The following are a few trends that are already making an impact.
An Increasing Shift to Mobile-Only
Gartner predicts by 2022, 70 percent of all software interactions will occur on mobile devices. You read that right: all software interactions. Gone are the days when only managers, off-site contractors, and field service workers received laptops and company phones. Within the next five years, the majority of us will be doing the majority of our work from phones, tablets, and wearables. This change alone has the capacity to flip our traditional idea of work—and the modern workplace—on its head. Yes, it will save money and overhead, but it will do much more. It could mean companies can do away with offices altogether.
Businesses worldwide are desperately aware of this trend. Two years ago, Gartner predicted customer mobile engagement would drive mobile commerce revenue to half of the entire U.S. digital commerce revenue by 2017. Nasscom predicted it will be worth $140 billion annually by 2020. Companies are already scrambling to move work to the mobile space. Some are even scrambling to find qualified employees to create apps they can sell to other companies and customers looking to do the same.
A New Mobile Partner in Crime
You might be thinking: “How is this possible? I can think of tons of programs on my computer that simply wouldn’t transfer to a mobile environment. I need a mouse! I need two screens (or more). I need a desk!” The market hears you. That’s why there is also expected to be a boom in the number of companion apps that work along with your desktop software. Windows 10, for instance, merged desktop and mobile almost seamlessly, and it’s anticipated that even more companies will follow suit. While they won’t replace your desktop services (yet), they will allow you to keep projects moving until you get back to your office. (They’ll also serve as a transitional buffer for those in denial that mobility is overtaking the workspace.)
A Focus on Flexibility
The mobile transformation has given all of us a taste of freedom, and it’s unlikely we will ever go back. IDC research shows mobile workers in the U.S. alone will reach more than 105 million by 2020, and that number will only grow as more Millennials, who value flexibility and work-life balance over traditional working environments, surge into the work force. Employees and customers alike love that they are no longer tethered to their desktops to work, shop, or even check the weather. They can be productive and connected from literally anywhere.
Productivity and Security are Key
Please know this: Companies are not offering mobile flexibility simply because their employees like it. They know that mobile is actually making their employees more flexible, as well. Reports show the average worker gains 240 work hours a year when using mobility solutions. They no longer have to wait until a meeting—or even their lunch break—is over to respond to an urgent email, make an edit, or send a file. They can be “on” at all times of the day, whether in transit or at their desk. That push for productivity is similarly pushing companies to focus on mobile security. With so many employees accessing important data and documents from outside the company firewall, businesses have no choice but to invest in virtualization to keep their BYODs, mobiles, and Cloud data safe.
Mobile is the New Digital Strategy
Forget mobility becoming a part of a company’s digital strategy. As noted above, mobile will define the entire strategy itself moving forward, with a renewed focus on freedom, flexibility, and productivity. Combined with the IoT and virtual reality (VR), the ability to track, do, be, act—and even profit—on mobile devices is reaching record heights. The most amazing part: We’re only getting started.
As development becomes more agile, and more qualified developers enter the market, the sky is the limit to where and how mobility will transform not just our workplaces, but our lives. While some warn of “app fatigue” because of so many apps overwhelming the market, developers are similarly answering the call. Some companies are reverting to offering text and Facebook interactions to make lives easier for their customers. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how we’re getting the information. It only matters that it’s fast, easy, and profitable—and in all of these aspects, mobile is—and will continue to be—king.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.