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The Slow Death of the Enterprise Smartphone


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December 03, 2013

The Slow Death of the Enterprise Smartphone

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

If you haven’t already noticed, the enterprise is going mobile. This trend is so much more than the companies of yesterday that gave BlackBerry’s to all their sales reps. Yes, the security, capabilities and access provided by this critical device opened up a whole new world for individuals consistently on the go. For a while it seemed that BlackBerry was the go-to mobile device and would dominate the space for the foreseeable future.

Like all technology innovations, however, there is always opportunity for improvement. Apple (News - Alert) stepped in and took the mobile experience to a whole new level. While the platform didn’t offer the same level of security as the BlackBerry, it did offer powerful communication capabilities, ease of use and access to hundreds of thousands of apps that made mobility easier. Android (News - Alert) was soon to follow, and together these devices erased the need for the enterprise smartphone, shifting the business world to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model.

Believe it or not, the shift toward BYOD is due in large part to demand among users. This is an interesting phenomenon, as the enterprise is not always known for making decisions based on user preference. Companies continue to find that employees are much more productive in the field when they select their own device. When too many vendors get involved, however, the cost efficiencies previously enjoyed are eliminated. Therefore, to protect the benefits associated with going mobile, BYOD is an attractive option.

Companies also discovered that the network operations center (NOC (News - Alert)) – once the cornerstones of Research in Motion’s (RIM) value proposition – is no longer viable. RIM’s NOC managed the flow of all email traffic, keeping it secure and available. This was essential before the arrival of WiFi (News - Alert) on every corner where reliability was nearly nonexistent. In fact, the NOC was exactly what helped RIM dominate the market. As cloud-based options continue to emerge, however, it has now become clear that trusting all communications capabilities to one vendor puts a company at risk.

Finally, the arrival of the iPhone (News - Alert) and the Android platform made it apparent that email is no longer enough. Mobile employees need access to so much more than just email, as they rely on their smartphone to serve as a mobile office. If they can select what platform serves as their office on the go, they’re more likely to accomplish what they need to do, generating more benefit for the organization.

This shift toward BYOD is not without risk, however. As employees use their own devices to access the corporate network, it introduces new challenges to the mix. Fortunately, mobile device management can help. Partnering with a company like MobileIron to gain complete visibility and access to any device connecting with the corporate network is paramount to protecting this capability and associated corporate assets. The provider’s mobile device management solutions do just that, providing the proper protection while also extending capabilities. 

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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