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Arnie McKinnis | March 04, 2016

It's a Mobile, Mobile, Mobile World…Time to Embrace It

You need to go no further than any gathering of people—the mall, a restaurant, a sporting event—to realized we have become a connected, mobile society. We can debate why that is; what you can’t debate are the facts, and these are just a few:

• In 2009, smartphone shipments came to 173.5 million units worldwide. In 2013, shipments passed the one billion mark for the first time in history. (Statista)
• Over 400M smartphones were sold globally in the 4th quarter of 2015. (Statista)
• Worldwide shipments for tablets totaled 206.8 million, with detachable tablets growing the fastest within the category. (IDC - 2015)
• There are 1.5+ million (and growing) mobile applications available for download via Google Play and the Apple App Store. (Statista)
• Apple estimates 1,000 new applications are uploaded to the Apple App Store daily. (Apple)
• 70% of all smartphone users have Facebook installed. (Statista)
• In 2016, it is estimated that there will be around 2.13 billion social network users around the globe, up from 1.4 billion in 2012.

The Mobile Tech Divide: Personal vs. Work

Each of those numbers point to one simple conclusion: People prefer mobile (smart phones, tablets, laptops) and they use them for every aspect of their lives.

But that's our personal lives. What about our work lives? Does there seem to be a disconnect between how we manager our lives and how we work within our companies?

Although corporations and organizations have created policies and offered "mobile enabled" applications to their employees, our work environment and the technology we use lags behind what is available in our personal lives. The ease of shopping, banking, using a map to find a location, travel, etc. are easy on our mobile devices. In many cases, we download an application, it is automatically installed, we signup (in many cases with a Facebook account), and we get immediate value.

Contrast that with our work life. We are issued a laptop or desktop computer, we are given instructions (sometime written and printed) on how to login and use it, applications are preinstalled, and there are limited choices on which applications we can use. On our company's intranet, there are webpages on how to accomplish certain tasks—such as how to make requests, how to get computer support, how to engage HR with questions, how to get approval for travel—but there are few, if any choices, in how to accomplish those tasks in an automated fashion. In our work lives, we conform to the policies and procedures of the company. That's the way it is.

The IT Mindset

IT's a Mobile Service Management WorldFrom an IT perspective, and especially from an IT operations and management perspective, this makes total sense. It is our responsibility to "control access", to manage the company's assets, and protect those technology assets. We maximize usage, ensure servers and applications are available whenever, wherever needed—by only those employees requiring access. Hardware, software, and data are all controlled.

And IT is also balancing control with usage and support. It's easier to support 5 applications rather than 50. It's easier to troubleshoot a standard configuration rather than 100 unique configurations. Every time a new operating system, new configuration, or new user group are created or implemented, support hours increase.

While this is a perfectly logical stance, it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality that complete control is not possible when employees have other, non-IT approved ways to reach their goals quickly and easily. Shadow IT is a very real consequence of missing the mobile train. As the recent "2016 Trends in Enterprise Mobility" report from 451 Research explains:

“With nearly every knowledge worker and most task workers sporting a smartphone, there is a need for IT to offer the ability to get work done on these devices. Regardless of ownership model (bring-your-own-device [BYOD] or corporate-liable), employees are actively searching for third-party apps that will help them be productive on mobile devices. Not providing an app for employees, contractors or partners means two things: first, IT is left out of the loop when it comes to deciding which app will be used; second, without IT’s guidance or input, security for corporate data is not considered. The employee will prioritize capabilities and usability, but with IT in the loop, consumer-grade apps can live within a secure world.”

Embracing the Mobile Imperative

Now, what if you embraced mobile? And then you partnered with a service management company with a "Mobile-first" design philosophy? How would that change your perspective of user support, user engagement, new service releases and a hundred other activities dealt with on a daily basis?

EasyVista is that company, demonstrating an appreciation for the way people think and act today. It starts with a mobile-first design that rejects traditional approaches that alienate today’s users. Within this model, the assumption is made that all users prefer to help themselves first, using tools available to them that are intuitive and easy to use. If that doesn't solve the problem, the next step is the ability to reach a human being to help work through it. Users can quickly and intuitively get their needs met, with information presented at the right time to zero in on task completion from the device in their hands, or on their desk—same interface, same information, same location.

With the many demands being made on IT, not every enterprise is ready today to deploy on mobile. But every enterprise understands the mobile imperative. With EasyVista, the mobile capabilities are built into the product. So an enterprise can choose to deploy just to the desktop for now, knowing the expansion to mobile devices will be easy when the time is right.

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Arnie McKinnis

Arnie McKinnis is an industry insider with 30+ years experience in the high tech space. For the past decade, Arnie has helped develop and launch “as a Service" cloud, Service Management, and Service Integration technology products, delivering true value in the marketplace.