As 2015 looms, businesses are changing the focus of projects to make their workforces more mobile.
Instead of concentrating on the devices that people can use to access applications and information when out of the office, businesses are looking into the platforms, locations and services that enable employees to work on the move.
This shift in focus is complementing the rising corporate and government adoption of cloud computing.
Key systems and applications are increasingly being run in hybrid or public clouds as organisations turn from capital to consumption-based IT models.
Vendors are proclaiming the cloud the ideal platform for mobility and rapidly developing and launching applications and products to enable businesses to join the mobile revolution.
But is the reality of mobility living up to the hype and what are the ramifications for the channel?
Despite promising take up by some workplace groups, gaps do exist. According to recent Forrester research, 61% of information workers work outside the office, and most use three devices or more for work purposes.
However, 72% of employees feel they are not equipped with the technology necessary to get their jobs done outside the office.
Security is another critical concern: 67% of technology decision makers say the lack of data protection capabilities on mobile devices concerns them.
While perhaps slow, progress is being made with businesses aware of the need to take a holistic approach to implementing mobility.
Forrester’s research shows 45% of organisations are building cross-functional teams to plan and recommend company-wide mobile strategies.
Channel partners have an excellent opportunity to help businesses take a service-based approach to mobility.
However, doing so involves more than showcasing the features and functions of mobility solutions and completing the implementation. It entails developing a deep understanding of mobility trends and technologies, and how businesses can leverage these to meet their short and longer-term objectives.
Some partners are establishing themselves as specialists in mobility and dedicating their energies and resources to this sector of the market.
By developing this deep understanding – and many vendors are happy to explain their products and decision-making – channel partners can elevate themselves from mobility implementation partner to consultant.
This gives them the standing to question business processes or provide input into the objectives of a mobility strategy.
While taking this approach may initially require channel partners to add more resources and undertake training, in the longer term it can pay huge dividends if undertaken correctly.