Beyond “mobile-first” to “mobile-only”?

Mobile technology is now a top or growing priority for the vast majority of enterprises, a new global survey shows.

More than one in four respondents (27%) to Enterprise Mobility Exchange’s (EME) mid-year survey said mobile was the top priority for their enterprises, while 61% called mobile a “growing priority”.

“The proliferation of mobile devices — laptops, tablets, smartphones, GPS, assorted rugged equipment — has elevated business and decision-making to a new level,” EME said in its survey report, Industry Insight 2017: A Global Perspective. “Now, in 2017, we’re beyond a mobile-first mindset: It’s time to focus on mobile-only.”

Wait a minute. Mobile-only? Really? Well, that’s just what you’d expect Enterprise Mobility Exchange to say! But that’s not crazy talk, according to one veteran analyst.

Think digital transformation

“We’re moving away from the mobile-first mindset — we’re already past that,” Mike Jennett, vice president of IDC Research, said in the EME report. “The whole idea of mobile centers of excellence will go away, and we’ll begin to move toward a digital transformation center of excellence.”

The survey shows we’re also moving away from something else: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Roughly one in six survey respondents (17%) said their enterprises used BYOD exclusively, while twice as many (34%) have opted for Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) mobile programs, with nearly half (46%) employing a hybrid approach.

While “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) became a business tactic in the late 2000s,” the EME report said, “many organizations have reverted back to a COPE setting.”

The reason is an old (and highly understandable) one: “Despite extra cost often associated with a COPE platform, enterprises feel more secure in having the ability to control those devices right out of the box,” EME said.

That concern for control and security was reiterated when respondents were asked where mobile security ranks as a priority in their enterprises. Nearly six in 10 respondents (59%) called mobile security a top priority, with 31% placing it in the “middle of the pack.” Only 10% of respondents said mobile security was a low priority.

Fortunately for that last group, the survey is confidential.


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