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Enterprise Mobility: Expectations vs Reality

By Lou Barreiro| September 29, 2015

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enterprise mobility infographic

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In 2013, we put together the above infographic compiling predictions from experts and analysts in the field about enterprise mobility and the mobile-first landscape. At the time, BYOD was gaining steam, and though there were some concerns, most analysts predicted enterprise mobility would grow rapidly over the next several years. 2020 seemed pretty far away back then, but now that we’re only five years away and have already past the dates for some of the predictions, we wanted to take a look back at the predictions back then, how those have panned out so far, and how the next five years continue to shape up.

Overall, how were the predictions?
We quoted Rich Aducci in our original infographic, who said, “The adoption rate [of tablets] is like nothing we’ve seen before.” It shouldn’t be a shock then that the enterprise mobility market is moving much faster than anyone predicted just two years ago. How fast exactly? For full disclosure, for some of these the answer is: “We’re not sure.” Either no comparable data has been collected or no new predictions have been made. For the others, let’s take a look at how the last two years have shaped things to come. First up:

“62% of companies will allow BYOD policies by the end of 2013”

While we don’t have data for the end of 2013, we do have data for 2014. Tech Pro Research conducted a survey in November 2014 that found that 74% of companies either had or planned to have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. We wrote about concerns that companies had about BYOD policies, and while those concerns exist, the proliferation of the cloud and strong security measures for apps have made BYOD an attractive prospect for many of the world’s largest companies.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange and AT&T teamed up in early 2015 for a survey on enterprise mobility and found that over 80% of companies either had BYOD policies or planned to have them within the next two years.

“By 2014, most organizations will deliver mobile apps to workers via private app stores”

Gartner predicted that by 2014, 60% of IT departments would deploy private enterprise app stores. These private app stores allow companies to distribute apps to different users within the company, and let IT track app usage and make sure employees are updated with the latest versions. With private app stores, companies can eliminate some of the security concerns that come along with BYOD.

Salesforce launched the AppExchange Store Builder that year, which made it easier than ever for companies to distribute apps to their users. The release of iOS 9 this year introduces the ability for enterprise mobility managers to upload apps onto their users’ iPads without having to go through the App Store.

“By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads from app stores every year.”

The magic-8 ball was off on this one, and the prediction was actually already outdated by the end of 2013, when Gartner said that downloads would reach 102 billion, up from almost 64 billion in 2012. By 2017, we’re predicted to be at 269 billion annual downloads. If we hit those numbers, that’s over a trillion total app downloads.

“By 2015, mobile app development projects will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of four to one.”

No new stats for this one, but it’s not too much of a stretch to think that mobile app projects are still far ahead of PC projects. After all, when Gartner made that prediction, we weren’t even at the tipping point where there were more mobile users than desktop. A comScore report found that we are past that point in several countries including the US. That same report found that, in fact, more users are now browsing the web solely on their mobile devices compared to those solely on their desktop.

“The world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015.”

More and more employees are cutting down their commute to the time it takes to get from their bed to their couch. The International Data Corporation (IDC) hasn’t updated the global mobile worker number since their prediction, which was predicted to be about 37% of the global workforce. They have made predictions about the US mobile worker population, which is already at 96.2 million this year. By 2020, IDC predicts that number will be over 105 million workers, which certainly doesn’t sound as impressive as 1.3 billion. What’s impressive is that number represents almost 3/4 of the US workforce. As industrialized as the US is, we know that the total percentage of mobile workers isn’t nearly that high, but the target is moving upwards.

“The global enterprise mobility market will bring in $140 billion a year by 2020, representing a 15% annual growth in revenue”

Now that we’ve caught up to the present, let’s take a look ahead to the future that was, and the future that may be. This year, Technavio predicted that the market would grow even faster, at a rate of 18.5% annually between 2015 and 2019, driven by a “surge in the number of mobile devices and increased broadband penetration.”

“There will be more than 30 billion Internet connected devices by 2020”

Here’s where the waters get muddied. In 2013, we chose to go with a more conservative figure from ABI research, but there doesn’t seem to be a very good consensus of how many devices are connected now, much less in 2020. ABI used a figure of 10 billion devices in 2013 to reach than 30 billion number in 2020, while Cisco used a number of 8.7 billion back then to predict 50 billion by 2020. Morgan Stanley thought that number wasn’t quite big enough, estimating that that number would actually be 75 billion.

Who was right? You guessed it: We’re not sure. ABI revised their prediction in 2014 to 40.9 billion by 2020, since that year we had already reached 16 billion. In 2015, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff echoed Morgan Stanley’s loftier 75 billion prediction. This isn’t something like the enterprise mobility market where you can count up revenue for at least a starting figure. There’s nothing that adds up every connected laptop, phone, TV, Chromecast or Amazon Dash; within ten feet of you, there’s probably at least two connected devices. Let’s just say over that by 2020, that number is somewhere between 20 billion…and a hundred billion.

Companies in 2013 were beginning to realize how to gain a competitive advantage with transformational mobile strategies. In 2015, many more companies are embracing enterprise mobility at a rate that even the top analysts couldn’t predict. We’re at a point of unprecedented growth in the mobile market and, specifically, enterprise growth. Though the market is moving too fast for us to make another infographic that’ll be relevant for more than a few months, it’s moving just fast enough for you to join millions of businesses in the mobile revolution and benefit for a long time to come.

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