Mobility a Top Priority for Businesses, but Hurdles Remain

The top two mobile initiatives are increasing development on mobile apps and increasing adoption of secure file sharing and collaboration tools.

Mobility is a top priority for businesses, which believe it to be the greatest factor in helping organizations gain a competitive advantage, according to a survey of 1,700 senior IT decision makers in 17 countries conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne and sponsored by IT communications company Citrix.

The report revealed approximately half have implemented technologies to support mobile devices, with 48 percent using mobile device management (MDM) and 47 percent using mobile application management (MAM).

The top two mobile initiatives for businesses are increasing development on mobile apps and increasing adoption of secure file sharing and collaboration tools. Improving network performance and access is the third most important mobile initiative.

Organizations reported an average of three main barriers preventing formal support for mobility initiatives, the most common being a lack of security controls for new devices and clients (38 percent), legacy systems unfit for mobile purposes (37 percent) and challenges supporting multiple mobile operating systems (36 percent).

Just more than half (51 percent) of organizations say they are changing management processes to better manage those working on any device from anywhere, and the results indicated organizations are most focused on measuring the impact that mobility has on productivity and employee motivation.

The research also revealed that enterprises are embracing a variety of mobile platforms. Google’s Android operating system is far and away the most popular platform, according to respondents, with 72 percent saying they support or are planning to support Android this year, and another 65 percent seeing an increased use of Android in their organization.

The report found Microsoft Windows 8 has become more popular than Windows Mobile, with 46 percent of companies supporting or planning to support the full-featured operating system, compared with 32 percent for the mobile version.

Organizations are also recognizing the need to provide Windows apps and desktop to mobile workers, with 41 percent of businesses using or planning to use application virtualization and 40 percent leveraging desktop virtualization.

BlackBerry still retains a significant presence, supported by 35 percent of companies, though only 18 percent have seen an increase in its use since last year. Apple’s iOS remains popular, with 54 percent supporting or planning to support the platform, and 48 percent seeing an increase in its use from last year.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is quickly becoming the new normal, with 71 percent of companies allowing, accommodating and encouraging the use of personally owned devices.

Of these companies, 76 percent estimate that more than 100 unidentified devices access their networks each day. Worldwide, organizations report a daily average of 425 such connections, with the highest figures from businesses in Brazil (994), Canada (649) and Japan (618).

In addition, file sharing, sync and storage have been or will be implemented by 40 percent of companies to support mobile users.