Awakened by the force of the promotion of the film franchise’s new movie coming out in a time not too long from now in a theater not too far away, Star Wars has been on my mind a lot lately. In particular, the iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker’s Jedi training is disrupted by his premonition of his friends in pain in a city in the clouds keeps floating back to me. Disturbed by what he foresaw, Luke asks Master Yoda if he can see exactly what is going to happen. “Difficult to see,” Yoda replies, “always in motion is the future.”
It’s difficult to see how the future of IT will be anything but always in motion due to mobility, and the services in the cloud enabling it. A new study from IDC reviewed by Michael Cusanelli predicts the number of mobile workers in the United States, currently estimated to be 96 million, will exceed 105 million, or approximately 72 percent of the total U.S. workforce, by 2020. There’s no doubt the force is strong with this trend, and not just in the U.S. since according to a new Ericsson Mobility Report (direct link to PDF), 70 percent of the world’s population will be using smartphones, or other mobile devices, by 2020.
The way mobility is shaping our present and future makes it difficult to remember our past without mobility. Its transformative effect on our personal and professional lives has been immense. Work especially has become more of an activity than a location. Employees used to have to rebel against the corporate empire for the freedom to work from home. Now working from home, or from wherever employees happen to be, has become not only more common but often more cost-effective since organizations spend less on office space. Expenditures are also declining due to the rising acceptance of bring your own device (BYOD) policies.
“Despite challenges,” Cusanelli explained, “in managing data security among mobile workers and the struggle to stop endpoint breaches from corporate-owned and personally owned devices, upper management continues to warm to the prospect of employees using their own devices for work purposes because of increased productivity. Mobile solutions for the enterprise continue to make headlines as vendors and solution providers large and small attempt to capitalize on growing BYOD policy acceptance and the subsequent need for enterprise mobility management solutions.”
With the future of IT always in motion, managed service providers (MSPs) should focus on providing more than just cloud-based IT services for infrastructure, platforms, and software. MSPs that can offer additional services for mobile device management, mobile application development, and mobile application security can become, as Julie Hunt blogged, “the game-changing bridge to promote strong relationships between business and IT teams in order to best support a growing mobile workforce.”