With many of us glued to live blogs and Twitter feeds with details from Apple’s September 10 unveilings, it’s clear that new features and functionality associated with its iOS 7 signal an overt move by Apple to target the needs of the enterprise. In fact, according to one article, “experts project that iOS 7 not only will be an essential upgrade, but also the top smartphone OS in the enterprise through at least 2016.” I’m inclined to agree – new features will certainly help make this platform more relevant to the enterprise.
The business opportunities afforded by mobile technology are something IBM has been talking about for some time now. Announcements like these from Apple continue to demonstrate that we are entering into the second wave of the mobile revolution – the business of mobile. And proof that while we are seeing some cool new devices come to market – from new generation iPhones and tablets to smartwatches – this second wave is not about the device itself, it’s what users do it. With more than 200 new features, the possibilities for what users can do with the iOS 7 stretch the imagination. But what does this platform mean for organizations? Consider these features that are sure to have a direct impact on the enterprise:
- New enterprise single sign-on, third-party app data protection, per app VPN, MDM and fingerprint scanning features can help ease security and compliance hurdles hampering BYOD strategies. Imagine the security-aware productivity benefits for field reps who rely on iPhones and iPads, like those in financial services or pharmaceutical/healthcare, who may need to handle sensitive personal information and intellectual property data on the road.
- Addressing gaps in GPS technology for indoor use, retailers can benefit from the micro location capabilities of iBeacon to more precisely target in-store promotions for loyalty program members, or suggest special offers or displays based on expressed preferences or purchase history – all functionality to further improve the customer experience and drive revenues.
Preparing to Take Advantage of the Mobile Enterprise
In order for CIOs, line of business managers and other business stakeholders to ensure their organization is prepared to keep pace with availability of new mobile technologies and platforms, here are three core strategies:
- Adopt a Mobile First Mindset – Mobile is becoming the first point of contact between people, organizations and employees. Whether improving customer acquisition strategies, streamlining your business processes, or boosting product and service innovations, the most successful businesses today are putting mobile at the core of their business and IT strategies. Need proof? Consider data from Forrester Research anticipating that mobile commerce will reach $31 billion by 2016. And the fact that 63 percent of adults online who ran into problems with a mobile transaction are less likely to buy from the same retailer via other channels, according to IBM’s Sixth Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report. By adopting a mobile first mindset, organizations can fundamentally change their business models, and how they engage with their clients and partners.
- Take Traditional Software Strategies, and Break Them - We continue to see companies that try to build a mobile strategy one app at a time. This approach, based on traditional software development and management techniques, can create roadblocks – such as lack of integration across the enterprise, or security risks. Ultimately, it’s a recipe for failure. Instead, organizations must invest in the right technologies, skill sets and IT team structure to focus on mobile-centric design and continuous delivery cycles. Rapid app development, delivery and upgrade capabilities are critical to timely service improvements in line with user feedback and demand.
- Think Beyond the Device – Apple iOS 7 capabilities further emphasize that the next era of mobility is being defined beyond the device itself, and instead by what can be done with it via apps, data and software. While designing for different form factors is important – companies can’t simply retrofit their website for a tablet or smartwatch – there must be a deeper understanding of the capabilities that can be enabled by mobile apps. Take GPS for example, it’s no longer novel to just know where your customer is, the key is how to deliver targeted, personalized offers to him when and where it’s relevant. Apps must be able to support transactions and interactions – at volume and scale – from status updates and content downloads to collaboration and sharing.
With our range of IBM MobileFirst solutions, IBM is helping clients embrace the second wave of mobile, regardless of what new platforms or devices are delivered to market. Key IBM MobileFirst products like IBM Worklight and IBM Endpoint Manager will support iOS 7 on day one.
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