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We have seen some incredible numbers on the pace of adoption and innovation in mobility. Such breakneck speed begs the question: why is this happening now? We think it’s because, for the first time ever, all three major drivers of innovation are present in full force: people, technology and business.

 

PEOPLE

Innovation doesn’t happen without people. A project may be technically feasible and make all the business sense in the world, but unless it’s supported by real people at all levels of the organization, it’s dead on arrival. Remember enterprise social networking? Exactly.

 

 

Mobility, today, has that kind of support. People have deep, personal attachments to their mobile devices, are passionate about the services and applications that these devices deliver, and demand support for this technology in the enterprise. Known as the “consumerization of IT,” this phenomenon has made organizations around the world support iPhones, Android devices and now an increasing array of tablets that are often owned and paid for by the employees themselves. 

 

With the mobile worker population projected to reach 1.2 billion (or 35% of the global workforce) this year, there is an expectation among today’s employees that a smartphone, or similar device, will be a part of their everyday routine. In fact, many of these 1.2 billion people will be Millenials, who have grown up using mobile phones and social media. Ignoring their deep affinity with mobile computing won’t just be a productivity issue, but an HR issue as well.

TECHNOLOGY

The second driver of innovation in enterprise mobile apps is technology – which needs to be robust and mature enough to allow cost-effective, flexible and reliable mobile solutions. Without sufficiently advanced technology, a market just take off. Rooftop solar panel? Anyone?

 

 

In mobility, by contrast, the last 12-18 months brought vast technology improvements across the entire mobile solution stack — including devices, operating systems, networks, peripherals and development tooling.

 

Driven by cut-throat competition among device, OS and chipset makers, today’s handhelds and tablets are becoming exponentially faster and easier to use. Many now ship with dual-core processors and 4G connectivity, allowing complex and bandwidth-intensive applications to run with ease.

 

In addition to sheer speed, devices are becoming much more integrated. This includes better support for onboard and external peripherals, along with enhanced capabilities to integrate with other applications on the device. As a result, you can easily leverage the device’s native apps such as email, phone and calendar, as well as embed or launch third-party software directly from your application.

 

Tying these improvements together are mobile development tools that are simultaneously easier to use and more effective at addressing the complexity of multiple operating systems and device form factors. For example, SAP Mobile Platform model-driven development framework lets companies create Android, iOS, Windows and Windows Mobile applications from a single set of definitions and without writing native OS code.

 

Together, these technology improvements make it easier and more predictable than ever for companies to roll out multiple mobile applications for their employees, managers and customers.

BUSINESS

Lastly, the business side of the enterprise now fully supports mobility initiatives. Management sees great opportunities to interact with customers in exciting new ways. They understand the tremendous productivity benefits for the workforce. They get the business case, proven time and again by many companies that went before them. Top executives perceive less risk in mobile projects—in great part because they are more familiar and comfortable with mobility having used it in their personal lives. This results in more projects coming up, getting evaluated and passing the internal hurdle rate requirements—which were previously unattainable for all but the most obvious of mobile deployments. 

 

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