Has Enterprise Mobility been “Lost in the Cloud”?

When looking at the most recent technology industry news and events, it's easy to conclude that references to “the cloud” are everywhere. Cloud-based providers are attacking all potential customers, both enterprise and consumer, with the benefits of “the cloud”.  This leads me to consider one question?  What happened to Enterprise Mobility?  What has it become?  Where is heading?  Is it dead?

My take on these ponderings is that Enterprise Mobility is alive and well, and already taking an active role in facilitating the migration of enterprise communications, network administration and data management to “the cloud”.  I see this happening in several ways.

Enterprise communications are quickly moving into the cloud.  Web-based GUI’s to manage premise-based phone systems have evolved into centralized PBX systems collocated in a data center, or hosted telephony managed by accessing administrative controls through “the cloud”.   Also emerging are productivity enhancing functionalities like visual messaging and communication applications tailored for the enterprise that can be used on consumer devices.  What do enterprise administrators and consumer mobility users have in common?  Both consumer users and enterprise administrators want the ability to access the call control features of these systems as well the full suite of productivity enhancing features from anywhere and at any time.  What is the device that most individuals have on them at all times?  That’s right, a Smartphone. 

Network administration has mainly followed the path of enterprise communications for the most part by allowing administrators to access web-based portals to view portions of their administrative tools. These tools are realistically meant to be viewed on an oversized monitor at a work station, and not on a mobile device.  That will quickly change as more IaaS, HaaS, and SaaS providers develop Smartphone apps that not only allow the administrator to view their portal on the inherent browser on their Smartphone, but on an application that will allow for easy viewing of metrics, up/down status’ as well as the performance of basic tasks such as opening ports on firewalls, allowing access to critical systems or allowing access to sites within a content filtering engine.

The management of critical data has been the most traditional and most widely marketed application of cloud-based services. Thus the integration of cloud-based management of critical data with mobility is the most developed use of enterprise cloud services. Providers like Drop Box, Box.net and Wuala were some of the first to provide access to data through mobile applications.

Where do I think the industry is headed next in the Enterprise Mobility space? As speeds increase and 4G/LTE become more widely available, you will see increased adoption of not only call control features and functions, but the use of soft clients for actual voice calling and potentially video calling as well. Network administrators will begin to see the benefits as they experience productivity increases by not having to be physically in front of a computer to accomplish some of their easiest and most high volume requests from users.

In my opinion, Enterprise Mobility has not been ‘Lost in the Cloud’ but quite the opposite, it has been a major facilitator in the adoption of cloud-based services within not only the enterprise, but for consumers as well. Ease of administration will continue to aid the argument that moving services and applications to the cloud is in fact a worthwhile endeavor. Enterprise Mobility has had quite an evolution and no longer can be viewed as cellular service only. The mobile device has to be viewed as not only a tool for voice and social networks, but as a critical productivity enhancing tool for business users whose needs will range from visual messaging and a single telephone number, all the way to the user whose device is utilized for the administration of critical systems and data.