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3 Ways the Love of Mobile Devices Will Change IT Best Practices

Posted by Henry Cheang | January 14, 2015 7:00 AM

2015 is the year that Canadians really became mobile surfers

Well, it looks like we’ve reached a really big tipping point in Canada! According to comScore, Canadians are now using mobile devices (i.e., mobile phones and tablets) more often than their computers to surf the web! Granted, the advantage is slight at the moment – the ratio of mobile surfers to desktop surfers is only 51% to 49%. That said, context is key.

Canadians love mobile devices!

The time frame of this change is really short. It was only in November 2014 that computer web surfers were greater in number than mobile web surfers – that was barely two months ago.

More to the point, with 5% of Canadians using only mobile devices for all their computing needs, and the massive preference of younger web surfers to use mobile devices over desk-bound (or even lap-bound) computers, mobile computing is going to keep on outpacing more “traditional” computer use!

This news really shouldn’t be surprising. After all, we mentioned a number of times last year that we really love wireless and are adopting mobile devices en masse. What does it mean for the IT manager and business owner?

What does this new surfing behaviour mean for IT best practices (and businesses in general)?

At its core, the changing mobile surfing habits means that companies will have to take a very hard look at how they engage customers going forward. And I don’t mean from just a marketing point of view either. Our love of mobile gadgets will impact nearly all aspects of doing business in the coming years. 

1.      Your offerings will have to be mobile friendly.

Most companies (and especially those that sell services) will have to figure out just how they’re going to cater to clients who use their mobile gadgets for everything. Now, I can’t speak to every possible strategy, but I can identify a key element in what needs to be done: One of the most crucial aspects in all this is that companies will have to put more resources into making mobile apps that offer their unique services (or which, at the very least, provide useful information to customers).

The market for apps keeps setting new records. Just look at the sales patterns for apps on the iTunes store:

  •  Total apps sales over the lifetime of the iTunes store is $25 billion (it opened in 2003);
  •  $10 billion of that came just from 2014 – iTunes broke records last year;
  •  The first week of January 2015 saw revenues of nearly $500 million in iTunes apps.

Greater numbers of people are using apps as a supplement to desktop programs or to replace them altogether. And this is just at the start of these devices taking a dominant position. What it will be like when smartphones and tablets (or even newer form factors) become the only thing that most people use?  

For the folks in IT, this growing number of apps represents a new challenge as well. IT best practices will have to go past taking care of software licenses for a (relatively) small number of programs to having to manage many, many hordes of apps. And that’s only for the “official” company-approved apps. Dealing with unauthorized ones will be a whole other story (I’ll get to that soon, since this ties in with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend).

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2.      Your marketing strategy and online presence will have to change.

Once upon a time (and not that long ago), marketing (and advertising) was all about getting information onto a limited amount of space. We had to (pay a lot) to get ads in print, tv, and movies – traditional media. For example, the biggest traditional ads cost millions to display for 30 seconds of air time during the Super Bowl.

Now, there’s still a lot of money going toward this type of marketing, but things have changed. It’s now really, really, really cheap to put out all of kinds of information and offers to just about everyone, so long as they have an internet connection (i.e., most people on the planet).

Before, the limited ad space really meant that, as long as an ad managed to get displayed in that space, there was a good chance it’d be seen. Now, there’s now so many ads and marketing information out there that people tune things out as a matter of course. Firms compete for attention now – not ad space!   

What that means is that traditional marketing will have to make way for something called “inbound marketing”.  To make a long story short, traditional marketing is “outbound” – products or services are pushed onto potential clients. “Inbound” marketing, on the other hand, earns people’s interest and attention as a way of attracting buyers to the marketed good or service.

In more concrete terms, this means that businesses will have to have very good online presence that’s made up of helpful content which will pull in customers. Even more to the point, companies will have to work hard to create and deliver marketing content that will be easily consumed from smartphones and the like. That’s why firms like Mobilewalla (a company whose only purpose is to send targeted ads to mobile phones and devices) have risen in stature in recent years.

3.      You’re going to have to secure BYOD more than ever.

Going back to the IT challenge, the massive increase in mobile adoption also means that more workers than ever are bringing in unauthorized devices into the workplace to help them do their job. This also means that there will be much more bring-your-own-app (BYOA) issues for companies to manage.

We’ve written (many times) about the security and cost threat that BYOD (and BYOA, by extension) poses, so I won’t belabor the point here. What’s important for you to know is that you’re going to have to secure BYOD as more and more workers (especially younger ones) bring their love of mobility to the office. Find out more about this by looking at our guide on setting up BYOD (or other mobile usage) policies!

Final words for now…

I hope this helps you plan out your response to the changing mobile device usage habits of your potential customers (and staff)! Share with your friends and colleagues if you think this blog will help them too! In the meantime, contact us if you need help from Canada’s leader in IT andtelecom expense management in managing your technology resources!

 

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Topics: BYOD, Policy Compliance, Mobile Devices, IT Assets, Tips, Best Practices, Smartphones, Online presence

Written by Henry Cheang

Henry has a lifelong passion for science and technology. This enthusiasm is put to good use in a cutting-edge software company like Cimpl. As product marketer, Henry researches market and user needs to develop user and buyer personas, contributes to product design, and helps coordinate product messaging. Henry also writes nearly the entirety of all documentation for Cimpl’s many successful platforms. In his spare time, Henry devotes much energy to family, friends, and martial arts. Henry recently completed his Master’s in Business and Administration from Concordia University, where he specialized in the study of marketing, organizational behavior, and corporate governance. He has authored academic papers on the latter two subjects; these papers form part of his bibliography of over 20 professional research publications.

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