POSTED : January 20, 2016

Inc. Magazine may be touting 2016 as the year of the mobile shopper, but equally significant trends are shaping enterprise mobility — or, more simply put, how employees are using mobile devices and cloud services to perform everyday business processes.

A recent forecast from IDC projects that mobile workers will account for 72 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, and IT decision-makers are taking note. At the same time, a larger percentage of enterprise computing is taking place on mobile devices than ever before, according to a recent study by IT research company 451 Research.

“The explosive growth in mobile computing is on enterprise radars everywhere,” according to Gartner. “Currently, enterprises only make limited use of applications via mobile device; however, the increased focus on digitization is now driving application development for mobile platforms and related monitoring requirements.”

As a result, more IT decision-makers are prioritizing the mobilization of general business apps over the next 18 months, compared with those just prioritizing mobilizing field service and sales teams. In fact, Forrester predicts that “48 percent of employee-facing IT investments will be mobile focused,” and Gartner estimates that “70 percent of enterprises see providing more mobile support to employees over the next 12 months as high or critical priority.”

As this focus increases, Forbes notes that mobile computing and end-user computing initiatives are merging. With virtual desktops no longer exclusively available on laptop or desktop-type devices, organizations now have the ability to leverage a single technology to provide local and remote users with a seamless, consistent experience regardless of the device used.

Some experts are also predicting the rise of companion apps — applications that don’t try to replicate everything that a desktop app does. “People are trying to take these desktop apps and just move them to mobile when it doesn’t really work,” says Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. “If you make the assumption that mobile isn’t the only option, but just one of several options, then you can start building applications that make a lot more sense, because you use mobile for what it’s good for: data entry and data capture and things you can do when you’re [working remotely].”

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