Mobility is everywhere, there’s no escaping the i-everything trend. Whilst some areas of the finance industry have begun to recognise the value of mobile for capturing consumer interaction and increasing sales (pulling out the stops with a mobile app or a mobile website) there remains slow uptake in enabling the same for internal employees.
Working practices and expectations internally have changed. All users (just like your customers) are mobile, demanding and self-sufficient. Business technology has also evolved; mobility and cloud has driven a smart device, app and web service explosion in enterprises. It’s the perfect storm for increasing employee productivity & business performance. Yet there remains two key ingredients that have held the industry back; rigid legacy infrastructure and security concerns…
Beyond the device:
For early ‘mobile first’ adopters, there’s no doubt that providing employees with access to the tools, and apps, they need to work most productively on the devices that they love using (most of which are wireless) has proven a great enabler. The legal industry is a great example. Many implemented successful ‘Bring your own device’ initiatives, others rolled-out hundreds of corporate-owned iPads for partners, whilst many are now going down the ‘Choose your own device’ approach. There’s more to it than providing the device of choice though.
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Fighting rising traffic demands, multiple devices, mobile app access and the complex security and control requirements that come with it – it’s tough for traditional network infrastructures to keep pace in this ever-changing mobile world. Many of the early Wi-Fi deployments, for example, are constrained by rigid architectures and costly controller environments, which need to be retrofitted to meet the needs of a capacity-hungry mobile enterprise.
The desire to sweat such legacy infrastructure assets, combined with the pace of change in mobile, has left organisations waiting for the right time to make the leap; a clear path to build a platform for mobility. And looking at the opportunity for businesses today it turns out that it was, in fact, a good call.
Change is inevitable:
We’re seeing the old adage ‘the second mouse gets the cheese’ now ringing true for business mobility. Those industries – such as finance and insurance – that were tentative in going head on into ‘mobile first’ in everything they do, are in fact at an advantage today. As the market rapidly matured, mobile, networking and cloud innovations have become accepted practice amongst business, users and vendors, the big failures have happened, lessons have been learnt and solid industry partnerships have been built.
Moreover, we now know that mobility and the consumerisation of IT is not going away. It’s not a fad. Waiting until the question marks and challenges around security, compliance, Operating System uncertainty (Android, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, All of them?) and user culture played out in competitors was, in most cases, sensible.
Why? Well, mobility changes – and fast. Faster cultural and technical changes than we’ve seen in previous computing shifts that’s for sure. Think of Blackberry just two years ago, and think about them now. The iPad was a futuristic piece of kit in 2010, and BYO was known only to back street Italian restaurants that encouraged diners to bring along a bottle of Lambrusco from oddbins to accompany their meal.
The key lesson from the last three years of this enterprise mobility revolution, is that mobile will continue to change and adapt. And as those industries slow on mobile take-up look to leapfrog the early adopters, they can do so with eyes wide open to design a scalable infrastructure built for more change.
Whether you’ve already taken small steps to roll-out smart devices, or introduce mobile or web-based apps in your business, avoiding complexity is key. Some very early adopters are now facing unnecessary layers of mobility solutions – mobile device management, VDI, Blackberry servers, multiple firewalls and the rest. They are already in need of streamlining and updating the infrastructure investments to scale with today’s needs, devices and trends. The seven year it renewal cycle is slashed in mobile!
Making the right decisions longterm for enterprise mobility is critical. Its challenging too, for example allowing devices onto your network will force your Wi-Fi into having to act as a primary access layer for the business. This will require the resilience, access control and management features of your traditional wired network in order to make the promises of productivity a reality. A good way to tackle this is to look at it from the perspective of performance. What functionality and control do you need to enable your users and business to perform?
Think capacity, control, security and most importantly, the ability to scale, to enable users productivity both now and future performance needs that move with the evolving market.
Building a platform for mobility, with a pragmatic, un-hyped, view of mobile device management, security, control and intelligent networking at the core, is the path that Mobile Second organisations are now taking. The finance industry is not lagging behind, in fact the timing is just right. And it’s starting to pay dividends.
Paul Hennin, Aerohive Networks