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The Business Forum Journal


Mobilization of the Enterprise

 By Timothy P Washington


Innovation in mobile device technology continues to move at an alarming rate. A cascading series of new mobile hardware introductions notably Apple iPad; Blackberry Playbook; Cisco CIUS and Motorola XOOM continue to capture the imagination of everyone from consumers to Wall Street making it easy to lose sight of what it all ultimately means: the unchained or mobile enterprise.

The current mobile device landscape, comprised primarily of Smartphone�s and laptops, has already expanded traditional corporate boundaries and disposed of the traditional office cubicle.  This fact is exemplified in the growing trend of companies allowing workers to telecommute.  Still, many companies continue to organize themselves around the traditional corporate campus not making full use of the productivity revolution these devices represent.  This traditional corporate mindset is colliding with a digitally engaged millennial mobile workforce and their �always on� lifestyle.  Today�s new mobile worker does not operate in a fixed location from nine to five, but wherever he or she happens to be and whenever there is an opportunity to connect.

Businesses of every size should take note.  The timing is right and the major drivers to enable a new mobile work style on a massive scale are in place.  Devices like Apple iPad; Blackberry Playbook; Cisco CIUS and Motorola XOOM are right-sized, light-weight, feature-rich and platform-rich media tablets geared toward the corporate enterprise market.  These devices are supported by broadband networks like 4G that offer high-speed ubiquitous broadband connectivity.  These powerful mobile devices and 4G networks are fueling the development and adoption of new and powerful mobile enterprise applications which have the potential to eventually shift the old corporate paradigm into a mobile dream work environment.

Retail consumers worldwide downloaded nearly 5 billion apps in 2010 compared with 2.5 billion in 2009. In 2010, revenues from downloaded apps exceeded $6.8 billion, even though 80 percent of consumer apps are downloaded for free. Unlike consumer applications only 20% of enterprise application may be freeware.  Mobile based enterprise solutions earned carrier-generated revenues of over $2.3 billion in 2008 and it is estimated this figure will reach $10.3 billion in 2013. 

Many senior executives ask what these enterprise applications might do.  There are applications that will be used to manage organizations and projects, manage sales activity, share ideas, collaborate on documents, and conduct online meetings and direct workflow.  They will possibly be rich Information Technology (IT) dashboards; new Healthcare Operating Systems that securely connect to a hospital�s electronic health records or help with patient interaction and education. Other apps will include for example those used for conducting paperless auditing and others that enable media-rich, interactive sales presentations or map efficient pick-up and delivery of goods. There will also be enterprise productivity applications that provide sales and field forces access to a real-time helpdesk of experts.

The onslaught of powerful smart tablet devices and the pipeline of mobile enterprise apps have the potential for incremental transformation of the corporate enterprise organization.  As more businesses take up these liberating mobile enterprise applications, as technologies like cloud computing mature to better manage the security and scalability of these applications and content, and as devices become even more lightweight and robust, we see the promise of a transformational mobile world in which any and all office activities can be performed from anywhere at any time. We are creating an environment in which mobile enterprise applications are the catalyst for changing business practices in a manner that reduces overhead and transaction costs.

The benefit for every organization that stays ahead of the technology curve is that the new mobile enterprise worker can be productive wherever that employee pauses to use his or her portable device.

Timothy P. Washington is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Intelligent Broadband Solutions, LLC, and was previously President of PCI � Prolific Consulting, Inc.; a Business Development Consultant for FCSI � Future Computing Solutions, Inc.; and Vice President of IP Communications  and Business Development for Citadel Capital Management Group. He also has extensive international experience in the field of Global Business Development and Information Technology Operations Management including Acquisitions and Divestitures. Timothy studied Business Management, International Business at Morehouse College, Atlanta and is currently a Board Member for Verbosity Online LLC and the Fairhaven�s Foundation.

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