Smartphones and tablets are an increasing piece of the enterprise computing market, with good reason: More mobile companies make more money. Dell's Global Technology Adoption Index found that organizations using mobile applications had 44-percent higher growth rates and companies allowing "bring your own device" (BYOD) had 53-percent higher growth rates than companies that didn't use them. One projection values the global enterprise mobility market at more than $50 billion in 2020. For solution providers, targeting this market can mean significant opportunity—if you build the right business model.
Mobile Device Sales
Selling the devices is an obvious opportunity, but there's not much profit to be made: Devices are too small, too cheap, too commodified. There isn't much value to be added in delivering the devices themselves, even if you help companies choose the right platform and operating system. In some enterprises with company-owned devices, device support and service offerings are an opportunity. Mobile contract management is also a potential add-on, , but in order to really add value, solution providers need to think bigger and look for opportunities in the entire ecosystem around mobile devices.
Adding mobile devices places additional demand on the company network, even though the devices aren’t physically attached to it. In most cases, devices don't replace a desktop computer; they're an additional load. Corporate networks, especially Wi-Fi, need to be sized to handle the extra demand for bandwidth. Networks may need to be redesigned in order to ensure that there are no coverage gaps at the corporate facility, and data centers may need to accommodate new server infrastructure in order to support virtual desktops accessed from the devices.
Mobile devices create new security challenges for enterprises. Corporate data can be lost along with the device, or may be at risk when the company network is accessed remotely. Many companies are deploying mobile device management (MDM) software; for solution providers, selling MDM is a necessity. Because controlling the endpoint devices themselves is difficult, companies need to look to other layers of protection, such as encryption and data loss prevention software, in order to add security.
For some businesses, the use of mobile devices may be limited to reading email away from the office. Other businesses have a bigger vision, with mobile applications empowering workers in the field to access corporate data. Many of those businesses will need to rework their existing applications in order to create interfaces that work well on the small screens of mobile devices. Solution providers will find opportunity working with customers to solve their mobile software needs, whether that means selling software, developing custom apps, or managing a business’s internal mobile app store.
The biggest profit in the enterprise mobility market comes with helping companies address strategic issues related to mobile device use. Companies need solution providers’ help with defining policies to address BYOD concerns, public Wi-Fi network usage, access to corporate email and files from devices, and corporate files that end up stored in the cloud when a device is backed up. They also need guidance in selecting vendors and implementing tools to enforce these policies.
Very often, companies are implementing mobility as a response to employees bringing devices with them. Solution providers that focus on strategy can help businesses be proactive rather than reactive, helping companies see how mobility fits into the enterprise business model. Particularly with a vertical focus, solution providers with an understanding of the business challenges can ensure that the mobility deployment is driven by business needs.
Mobility is no longer optional for businesses, and they will seek out solution-provider partners to create mobility strategies and solutions that work for their business. Solution providers can work in partnership with Ingram Micro in order to achieve success selling mobile solutions to their customers.