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2013 – the year mobility found its feet

As we all sit here at the beginning of another year, its important to think back to 2013 and remember what an amazing year it was and how mobile devices became integrated into the world of many a Fortune 2000 or Government organization around the world. Its time to ask “why was 2013 special for the world of enterprise mobility?”

The biggest change isn’t the massive improvements in processing power brought by things like Apple’s A7 and the range of powerful Qualcomm CPU deployed, and even Intel chip based tablet devices that flooded the market with Windows 8 Pro. It isn’t the vastly proliferating Mobile Device Management technology that now seems to be offered by every IT and Telco organization – both big and small. It isn’t the shiny new iOS7 interface design that has changed the user expectations for mobile application user experience. We believe that what really made 2013 special was the fundamental recognition inside enterprise, government, and small and medium business that the mobile device (both smartphone and tablet) is now something that can actually make the business work better, can drive real productivity, and enable new ways of communicating both within the business and with customers and partners – in other words the mobile device is now just like any other business tool – its something that can drive investment in technology but needs to present and delver a real Return on Investment.

Maybe for those of us who went through the laptop revolution, and then the introduction of the World Wide Wed, the idea of a new technology moving from an executive toy, to simply a “sales team gadget” to something that drives every part of the business and its ability to win the market is nothing new. These new technologies added to the “sum of knowledge” and capabilities that corporate IT has to meet the needs of the business

But the mobile revolution has been different – in fact its proposing a way of doing things that is so different that it is potentially replacing old technology. To quote Google Chairman Eric Schmidt from October this year- “I was actually surprised by this. I didn’t call this. Would the phone replace the PC? I figured employees would be using a PC and a phone,” Schmidt said. Instead, “it looks to us like the majority of enterprise computing is being done on mobile devices, in particular on tablets. That broke the old model,” Schmidt was quoted by Business Insider as saying.

Read more: Google’s Schmidt ‘surprised’ by enterprise tablet adoption – FierceMobileIT

Ok so we got it – the smart device is now something that could replace the PC – pretty big news, but for many CIOs and those responsible a line of business or revenue number within the corporation, there has been a perceived lack of focus on enabling this use case – and too much of a focus on “security and control”. 2013 has started an unstoppable trend to move from the focus on security to a focus on employee productivity and ROI, and that the best way to achieve this has been to move from a focus on giving users controlled access to files and folders, to enabling users to interact with content (another topic you will see a lot more of in 2014 is the question of “what is content” as it moves from “files and folders” to “everything that a worker needs to be productive – but more on that later).

So in 2013 the market started to get this – and to have to think about how they would justify the ROI on large scale deployments, and how they would really enable people to “do more with mobile”.

2014 is the year when the conversation solidifies around enabling the use of the mobile device in the way Eric Schmidt saw it moving in 2013 – and one could argue that Mr Jobs fellow saw a few years earlier. But more than that, we believe that in 2014 it will be necessary to completely redefine who and what the “mobile device users” are. They will be more than just the sales team that got issued iPads in 2013 to keep them out of the office, or the senior management who really wanted a “lighter laptop”. Its going to be a stream of knowledge workers, field service people, and even the non mobile worker who will now see and benefit from this new approach.

And, to all of you who have been on this journey and seen the power of how this new approach to enterprise mobility has given you a business advantage – thank you for leading the way (and to those of you that saw fit to include bigtincan in your journey – thank you again), you are going to be incredibly well positioned to extend that lead as the market continues this process of waking up to how the tablet and smartphone really delvers in the enterprise. And to those of you reading this that are interested in seeing how this can drive productivity, ROI and overall success in your business, we would love to join the journey with you.

2013 was fun, but 2014 – wow its going to be a great year.

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