The Next Phase of Enterprise Mobile Investment Requires Greater Collaboration between Operations Technology and IT Decision Makers, According to VDC Research

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Mobile investments, driven by operational objectives but checked by IT requirements, necessitate collaboration on the part of the IT department and executive management.

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As mobile technology has evolved and taken on greater importance in facilitating business processes, the acquisition process for this technology has begun to change, according to a new report by VDC Research (click here for more info). The adoption of a cross-functional approach to technology investment decisions and development of mobile centers of excellence all point to the necessary maturation in how leading organizations tackling these challenges. What market leaders are realizing are the benefits of tighter collaboration between IT and OT decision-makers yield much greater solution ROI. Both entities (IT and OT) have the best interest of the company at mind, but often have different views on how technology fits into corporate strategy. The operations-side of the business sees mobility as a tool for achieving business goals and improving efficiency, while IT notes the threats that such investments entail and does their best to mitigate them, focusing on security, governance and integration. However, with the emergence of more comprehensive mobility strategies and the impact of initiatives such as IoT, the lines between IT and OT are blurring. With the massive increase in connected end points potentially accessing enterprise applications, security requirements are driving greater interdependence required between IT and OT amidst growing security vulnerabilities.

Although security threats are not new, the scope and types of potential vulnerabilities are driving the need for greater collaboration and also for each department to think a little more like the other.

Key IT-centric Issues and Requirements:

  •     Skills Gap. Limited or uneven IT support for more modern mobile solutions has been a common issue revealed in VDC’s research. Ensuring that IT is appropriately staffed to provide adequate development and support requirements is a growing requirement.
  •     Infrastructure & Systems Modernization. In light of pervasive – and often custom – legacy infrastructure and operating systems, the need for greater flexibility and systems that can support today’s security packages represents a key pain point for IT. Overcoming these barriers is a critical requirement for organizations looking to fully leverage enterprise mobility opportunities.
  •     Mobile Security. Infrastructure modernization needs to be conducted with an eye on addressing potential for network vulnerabilities, data leakage and secure access to mobile applications. These represented the top three IT concerns for mobile application deployments.
  •     Closer collaboration with OT. In many ways, IT has been forced to alter their approach and proactively change the perception that they are no longer a bottleneck to more innovative – and open – application of technology. IT teams often lack the experience with line of business solutions and have been slower to embrace new technology paradigms.

Key OT-centric Issues and Requirements:

  •     Improving Productivity and Speed of Decision Making. The benefits of enterprise mobility solutions are far reaching and include a vastly more productive, connected and collaborative workforce. As VDC’s research suggests, these are top of mind investment requirements for OT decision-makers.
  •     Addressing Exposure to Data Leaks. Although security is traditionally viewed as the domain of IT decision-makers, it is critical that OT similarly embrace these requirements as more systems and end points are connected. Ensuring security and encryption of data in transmit and at rest needs to become consistent with the OT blueprint.
  •     Closer collaboration with IT. Finding consensus with IT especially around security and development of the most appropriate infrastructure to support OT initiatives will be paramount. Shadow IT might represent an “easy alternative,” but cannot represent a long term strategy.

Moving forward, for a company to successfully select and deploy enterprise mobility and IoT solutions, the IT side of the business and the operations side of the business must do a better job of working together. Since any investment in technology hopes to positively impact the company’s bottom-line but also entails inevitable IT considerations, cooperation is needed to achieve a successful outcome. “Those companies that have invested in mobile solutions have generally met the objectives that drove their investments in the first place,” said Matt Hopkins, an Enterprise Mobility and Connected Devices Research Associate at VDC Research. “This speaks to the efficacy of mobile solutions in meeting operational objectives, but technical obstacles such as security and integration continue to plague organizations. In this way, communication between the operations and technical side of the house is crucial if a company’s mobile investments are to provide a meaningful return and not jeopardize the interests of the company from a security perspective.”

About VDC Research
Founded in 1971, VDC Research provides in-depth insights to technology vendors, end users, and investors across the globe. As a market research and consulting firm, VDC’s coverage of AutoID, enterprise mobility, industrial automation, and IoT and embedded technologies is among the most advanced in the industry, helping our clients make critical decisions with confidence. Offering syndicated reports and custom consultation, our methodologies consistently provide accurate forecasts and unmatched thought leadership for deeply technical markets. Located in Natick, Massachusetts, VDC prides itself on its close personal relationships with clients, delivering an attention to detail and a unique perspective that is second to none.

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Matt Hopkins
VDC Research Group, Inc
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