Enterprise Mobility Trends 2015

Sarah Leung
March 3, 2015

According to a recent Mobile Analytics Report released by Citrix, the total number of enterprise mobile devices worldwide increased by 72% last year. Similarly, Cisco reported that just 11% of users access their business applications only when in the office. The other 89% are using those tools on the go with smartphones and tablets. More people are doing their jobs on mobile devices than ever before, and for businesses operating in today’s market (including businesses and brands selling wholesale), responding and adapting to these trends is a matter of remaining competitive or falling behind. We break down some of the key enterprise mobility trends and statistics coloring the landscape of today.

Enterprise Mobility Trends 2015

1. The dividing line between personal and business mobility is no more.

“As we enter 2015, traditional distinctions between personal and business mobility are quickly fading from view.” This was the key finding in Citrix’s Mobile Analytics report, and it’s a recurring theme in our recent discussions of technology’s role in the wholesale industry. In an era when we seem perpetually glued to our phones and tablets--typing out texts, swiping through social media feeds, and tapping through food orders and gift purchases--the way we interact with mobile applications in our personal lives inevitably blends into our behaviors and expectations of mobile technology in the workplace.

2. Many businesses are now “BYOD.”

Due to this merging of our personal and work habits, more and more companies are implementing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies, in which employees are encouraged or required to use their own devices for work. There are several reasons for this. In some cases, it’s that businesses are simply unable to keep pace with the speed of technological innovation. As employees carry their own personal preferences for what devices they enjoy using and seek to upgrade with each new release, the BYOD trend is already maturing. Proponents argue that this approach increases productivity and lowers costs. Naysayers warn that allowing corporate data to be accessed on personal devices poses security risks. In the case of companies using sales order management software, for instance, there’s a strong case for maintaining control over where that customer order history, etc. is stored. How any business responds to this issue is very much dependent upon their goals, needs, and limitations.

3. Many mobile app developers are shifting focus to the B2B space.

In the saturated consumer app market, app developers are quickly realizing that it’s becoming more and more difficult to come up with the next Facebook or Twitter. As a result, many developers are moving over to the enterprise space, where there’s a growing demand for their mobile-first expertise. Indeed, the great apps we’ve grown used to in our consumer lives have raised the bar on standards of simplicity and ease-of-use in our business software. As developers move into the enterprise space, we’re seeing a “consumerization” of enterprise software--intuitive business applications that make the clunky, overly complex software of the past pale in comparison.

4. Businesses want native apps.  

These trends feed off of each other. Just as developers are looking to create seamless, intuitive mobile apps for business, those businesses are specifically demanding a native mobile experience to meet both employee and customer demand. For businesses that depend on mobile sales channels, this is even more important. If a business is looking to implement a mobile eCommerce experience or equipping their sales force with mobile order writing tools, offering a native mobile app is vital.

5. Tablets may be replacing laptops among the mobile workforce.

There is some debate about this trend, but there’s no doubt that smartphones are getting bigger (phablets, anyone?), and tablets are becoming smarter and faster. Microsoft finally released Office for iOS last year, and for those who work largely on the go, tablets are becoming their device of choice. The tablet seems to have reached that perfect screen size sweet spot--big enough to work as a computer (with or without a wireless mouse/keyboard), and small enough to toss into your bag. Employees and businesses alike are reassessing how many devices they really need for work, and many are reducing that number. For many in the mobile workforce, a tablet and phone seems to be the combination of choice.

6. iOS leads the pack.

iOS remains the dominant mobile platform in the enterprise space. In Q3 last year, iOS comprised 69% of smartphones and 89% of tablets sold to businesses in the United States. Globally, Citrix reported that of the 72% increase in overall enterprise mobile devices, 64% were iOS devices (27% were Android, 9% were Windows). Why? iOS is often the first choice when employees have a say on the matter. In the wholesale and retail industries in in particular, Citrix found that the majority of businesses prefer iOS over Android, Windows, or any other platform. Notably, “Apple increasingly has been focused on the mobile enterprise market, updating its enterprise-level mobile device management tools earlier this year and recently partnering with IBM to develop new business apps and services for Apple’s iOS devices,” according to MacRumors. Cisco has predicted that mobile traffic will represent 26% of all business Internet traffic by 2016 (compared to just 4% in 2011). Right now, companies large and small are making enormous investments in mobile technology, and wholesalers (with their largely mobile sales teams) can’t afford to fall behind on these trends.