When will we achieve widespread enterprise mobility, and what will it look like?

Here’s another way to think about the question.

[Note: This article is part of a series. Click here to get to other parts.]

Recently I’ve written a few articles about the state of enterprise mobility in 2016.

In the first article I wrote that many of our enterprise mobility management tools, technologies, and concepts are quite mature—or at least on their way to being mature soon.

In the second article I wrote about the different ways that companies are using mobility: Many companies are using mobility on an ad hoc basis. Some companies are using EMM because they feel like the have to or they need to because they’re in regulated industries. And finally, only a small number of companies are using enterprise mobility in a strategic way.

The conclusion from these two articles is that even though enterprise mobility tools are available and mature, overall adoption of enterprise mobility is not yet mature.

This brings us to the next question: When will we get to widespread enterprise mobility, and what will it look like?

This is a hard question. On one hand, in 2016 every company is using mobility in some way or another, and many companies are already finding a lot of value just in ad hoc mobility deployments. On the other hand, truly strategic mobility is not very widespread, and EMM adoption a ways to go. Overall, there’s a lot more work to be done.

To begin to answer the question, we can certainly say that it’s not going to be overnight. While we’ve had “the year of [technology x],” there will be no single year that is “the year of strategic enterprise mobility.” Instead this is going to be gradual, over several more years.

This isn’t a very definite answer. However, here’s another way to think about it: compare mobility today to the Internet in the 90’s.

Today in 2016, if you were to ask “what is our Internet strategy?” you would be laughed out of the room. The Internet is unquestionably embedded in every business, and it has been for years. However, back in the 90’s, this question was on everybody’s mind. To get a good feeling for that era, look back at Bill Gates’s “Internet Memo” from 1995.

Now, let’s come back to the question of “what is our mobility strategy?” This question has been around for a few years now, and it’s certainly a very important right now. We’re all living it every day, but for an interesting point of reference, look at Satya Nadella’s 2014 Microsoft “productivity and platform” memo, which talked a lot about mobility.

So, when will we get to widespread enterprise mobility, and what will it look like?

At some point in the future, asking the question “what is our mobility strategy?” will begin to feel the way that asking “what is our Internet strategy” feels like today in 2016. Then we will know that—regardless of the definition—we have truly achieved widespread enterprise mobility.

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I would add to reasons for deploying an Enterprise Mobility solution:
Reaction, a company has had issues with employees using personal SaaS applications due to lack of an Enterprise Mobility policy.
We have in our minds that it is someone with bad intentions trying to compromise data security. What about that hard working employee, that uses a personal SaaS app so they can work later at home, after having dinner with their family?
If companies don't have a mobility strategy then their employees are working around it.
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