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August - 2014 - issue > In My Opinion
The Mobile Revolution: It's Just the Beginning
Suresh Batchu
Co-founder and CTO-Mobileiron
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Much has changed since Blackberry introduced the first mobile email device in the late 90's – the prototype for today's smartphone. Since then, we've seen an explosion of smartphones, tablets, applications and faster networks.

Today, mobility is transforming business all around us: retailers are using iPads instead of cash registers; healthcare organizations are replacing patient charts with mobile devices, and the majority of large companies are creating and deploying their own mobile applications. For instance, Genentech, a biotechnology company, recently created an app cleverly named "Get a Room" to book conference rooms easily and avoid workspace conflicts.

Employees demand the same flexibility, applications and great user experience at work as they do in their personal lives. Yet companies and their IT departments lag behind bridging existing PC platforms to mobile ones.

The mobile tipping point

The adoption of mobile technology is a disruption of historic proportions that has outpaced earlier transitions such as mainframe to PCs and client/server to the Internet. This is just the beginning of a fundamental shift in IT as organizations are undergoing a transition from legacy PC platforms to embrace mobility as their primary computing platform.

Companies are faced with challenging questions: How does mobility change our business processes? How do we empower a mobile workforce? Do we have the right infrastructure to support the pace and expectations of our mobile workforce? What is the right mobile strategy for our company?
Many companies have launched BYOD programs, but this is only the first step towards a larger mobile strategy. Securely managing BYOD programs is challenging and extremely complex. IT must support an ever-changing array of applications, devices and operating systems. Legacy computing infrastructure simply wasn't designed to support this level of rapid change and complexity.

IT and Business priorities are misaligned

In March 2014, the Ponemon Institute surveyed IT professionals and found that only half of organizations surveyed have a mobile strategy. Of those companies with a mobile strategy, 45 percent say it is not aligned with IT objectives and 36 percent say it is not aligned with business objectives. Tactics are over-shadowing the development of long-term strategy.

Even in the face of the overwhelming promise of enterprise mobility, only half of businesses have developed an integrated, formal mobile strategy that addresses a legacy computing infrastructure. At MobileIron, we call these organizations "Mobile First" companies.

The upside of enterprise mobility

Being Mobile First means delivering core business processes on a mobile platform that prioritizes end user experience and workflow. Mobile First companies have much higher productivity, have a competitive advantage and better cost efficiency because their business processes are designed around the way people work. Companies with this vision are more agile and do not have to play catch-up to stay ahead in their industries.

Mobile First companies are more secure than companies with patchwork systems that still mainly rely on a PC infrastructure. Consider recent security breaches, a Mobile First strategy prevents these vulnerabilities.
Some great examples of companies with innovative mobile strategies are Discovery Communications, Equinix and Needham Bank. Even a few state and local governments have taken a leading-edge approach to mobile, such as the State of Indiana, which implemented a mobile strategy to boost employee productivity and improve service to taxpayers.

Embracing a robust and scalable Mobile IT platform is critical for companies to prosper today and in the future. But accomplishing this vision must come from the highest levels of the organization and be integrated into corporate policies. A tactical, partial or ad hoc approach to mobility is counter-productive, stalls growth and leaves companies vulnerable to ever-present security risks.

Suresh co-founded enterprise mobility management leader MobileIron (NASDAQ: MOBL) to provide the foundation for companies around the world to transform into Mobile First organizations. As CTO, Suresh is responsible for anticipating the future mobility needs of customers and leading MobileIron's research division.

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