7 key enterprise mobile trends of 2015

EducationSummary: This will be an exciting and eventful year for mobile in the business world. We’ll see mobile do everything from improve business efficiency to completely revolutionize industries. So, where is mobile headed this year from a business perspective? Here are 7 key trends.

Back in 2012, mobile browser usage sat at a measly 8%. Desktop browser usage clocked in near 92%.

2015-browser-share2Just 3 years later, those numbers have changed dramatically. Mobile browser usage now sits at 33%, while desktop browser usage has dropped to 66%. We can expect this trend to continue over the next few years.

I bring up these statistics to highlight an important point. Mobile is exploding, and isn’t slowing down. Yet, I see businesses every day act like mobile doesn’t apply to them.

Mobile is like the internet back in its early days. Many saw its potential and jumped on board. Others ignored it. Don’t make that mistake. You can’t assume it doesn’t apply to your business/industry. You can’t afford to ignore mobile.

Why not? Because whether you like it or not, mobile is changing the business world. How so? Here are 7 big enterprise mobile trends to expect in this coming year:

1. Mobile becomes an important ranking signal

Back in 2011, Google released their “Panda” update. Designed to reduce “low-quality” results, this algorithm update changed the world of search. Overnight, many companies lost half (or more) of their search traffic.

This year, Google plans to release another update with similar implications for businesses. Only, they geared this one towards mobile. On April 21st, Google plans to increase their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

What does that mean? Sites which don’t provide a mobile-friendly user experience will get penalized in search traffic. In other words: If you want visitors to find your site via Google, it must be mobile-friendly.

“On March 3rd at SMX west Google’s Gary Illyes stated ‘I will say April 21st is a very important day,’” says Bob Shirilla, Owner/Manager of Custom Bags & Keepsakes Etc. “Over the years Google’s algorithm changes have devastated many companies. We value our mobile traffic and will comply with Google’s mobile friendly direction by April 21st!”

2. Native apps decline

When mobile apps first rolled around, businesses had a choice: Create native apps or create mobile web apps. Native apps offered more features. Mobile web apps offered a simple cross-platform solution.

As HTML5 and CSS3 capabilities improve, the line is blurring. Mobile web app features are catching up to native apps. Now, businesses can create mobile web apps that contain most of the features available in native apps.

This change, combined with the growing importance of mobile-ready web apps (see point #1), is driving another trend. As businesses focus on creating mobile sites and mobilizing their existing web apps, the use of native apps in the business world will decline.

“One of the biggest trends in enterprise mobility is moving away from native mobile applications and ensuring that existing web applications are optimized for mobile devices,” says Ari Weil, Vice President of Yottaa. “Even with responsive web designs, which adapt web content for mobile, many enterprises are finding that mobile performance of web content is still poor resulting in slow loading pages and, more importantly, low conversion rates.”

3. Mobile security practices catch up to users

Smartphone usage is exploding in the business world, but security practices are still lacking. Users still don’t practice proper security measures, and unknowingly put their company at risk. Many predict that these factors will lead to a major security breach in the coming year.

“At Mobile World Congress Avast Software wanted to make a statement on consumers’ (and companies’) naïveté when it comes to their smartphones and tablets,” says Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-Founder of Keeper Security, Inc. “The company set up a “faux-fraudulent” hotspot for convention-goers that “hacked” any mobile device that connected to it.”

“Avast’s ruse should give us all pause about how serious we take the security of our mobile devices. When combined with the BYOD trend, IT managers should be quite nervous that all their hard work into securing their company’s enterprise cybersecurity could be undone by one unprotected smartphone. Of course we can’t say when this major mobile malware attack will occur with any precision, but one will happen soon – and more will follow. It’s imperative for consumers and companies to implement or strengthen security measures that include mobile devices.”

4. Businesses move towards “mobile-ready” infrastructure

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

Over the past decade, businesses have focused on modernizing their backend systems for the web. However, some have either avoided the modernization problem altogether, or have used quick fixes. For instance, many modernize the front end, but leave the aging back-end untouched.

Those decisions are now catching up to these companies. Many realize they can’t capitalize on mobile using their aging infrastructure. For this reason, we’ll see an increased push for modernization in the next few years.

“Moving away from monolithic systems to more modern, extensible, and decoupled solutions is vital for large companies hoping to keep up with the pace of mobility and connected devices in 2015,” says Tobias Dengel, CEO of WillowTree, Inc. “The first step to taking full advantage of the new ecosystem is rebuilding back-end systems, ensuring they can interface with a large variety of devices concurrently and address all the issues that come up (e.g. data currency, security, access controls, etc.).”

5. Business systems become mobilized

Over the last few years, “Shadow IT” has grown in the business world. More employees use unauthorized applications behind the IT department’s back.

One reason for this growth: The rise of accessible applications, combined with a lack of enterprise options. While employees are flooded with third-party mobile app and SaaS options, few businesses have mobilized their business systems.

This year, we’ll see a shift. Recognizing the need for mobile options, more businesses will mobilize their business systems.

“There are more than one million apps in the Apple app store alone, but many workers still don’t have the apps they need,” says Sam Morris, director of product marketing at Attachmate. “Why? Because they need apps that give them access to enterprise resources like customer resource management systems, corporate mainframes or databases. But it’s clear they’re not getting apps that work for them. Only 26 percent of smartphone users and not quite 20 percent of tablet users report that they use the corporate mobile apps their company provides, according to eWeek.. Worse still is that these employees report their productivity suffers as a consequence. In 2015, we will start to see enterprises offer mobile apps that give employees access to the business systems they need so they can become truly mobile workers.”

6. Mobile converges with the physical world

photo credit: jnxyz via photopin cc

photo credit: jnxyz via photopin cc

In this recent article, we touched on the growth of bluetooth beacons. Beacons are small pieces of hardware that transmit data directly to a smartphone or tablet via bluetooth. Practically speaking, they help connect the physical world to mobile devices. This technology will revolutionize many business areas, from shopping to inventory management, and so much more.

“We’re just beginning to see retail stores and quick-service restaurants connect BLE beacons with their 1st party applications,” says Jonathan Mellinger, VP Enterprise Partnerships at The Goodway Group. “They are testing how consumers (with the retailer’s app installed) will respond to offers. This is a “neat” first step. My long-term view is the value isn’t in pushing offers but the combination of attribution and purchase data as consumers become more comfortable using their app or another form of mobile payment. Businesses willing to invest in managing this intelligence and use it for marketing purposes will have a distinct advantage over competitors.”

7. Managing “mobile devices” becomes more complex

For the last few years, we’ve used the term “mobile device” to describe tablets and smartphones. Now, that definition is expanding. Wearables are becoming popular. Physical objects are connecting to the web. The growing challenge for businesses is managing all of these devices, and understanding how they fit in with their overall strategy.

“It’s already hard enough to support mobile apps with all of the dependencies on mobile app versions, OS versions, types of networks, etc,” says Peter Kacandes, the senior technical marketing manager of mobile, web, and synthetics at AppDynamics. Now, mobile devices are also becoming collection points for all kinds of devices. As complexity continues to explode, enterprises need a way to manage of all of that diversity and be able to track all of the user interactions across every interface all the way through to any endpoint that contributes to responding to a request, regardless of where it originated from. It’s all about end-to-end visibility and having the data and analytics to understand how every aspect of your IT systems ultimately contributes to your business.”

Summary

These are just a few enterprise mobile trends to expect this year, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’ve noticed an enterprise mobile trend that businesses should monitor in the coming year, feel free to share in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “7 key enterprise mobile trends of 2015

  1. Wow, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing a REAL ARTICLE about 7 key enterprise mobile trends of 2015 – THANK YOU!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing such a good article.

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