The enterprise push toward mobile computing devices like Apple's iPad, a bevy of smartphones and applications may be ramping up because there's no choice. Demographically speaking, employees are going mobile in a hurry.
Anecdotally, the enterprise is hot for mobile devices. To wit:
- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, like others, expects the enterprise to "drive hard" on integrated devices. “We fully expect the enterprise market to take off for integrated devices,” he said.
- Enterprises are pondering uses for the iPad and Apple is looking to pounce. Dell's plan for the Streak is to target enterprise verticals. Research in Motion's Black Pad is likely to be a corporate affair.
- Efforts like desktop virtualization largely revolve around getting the capability to bring corporate apps to any screen anywhere. Citrix CEO Mark Templeton recently said:
Demand is also being driven by the unstoppable wave of new iPads, Macs and smartphones that are flooding the workforce, often with the CIO leading the charge. We made it super easy for these users to connect their consumer devices to XenDesktop through Citrix Receiver, available as a free App Store download for devices like iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. In fact, over the past 12 months, we’ve had more than one million downloads of Citrix Receiver. Nearly 700,000 of them in the first half alone. Invariably, these CIO conversations turn to a more holistic discussion about a far simpler way to deliver desktops as an on-demand service. About increasing security and business agility. About improving employee productivity by enabling more virtual work styles. And about the rapidly growing interest in BYO. Leveraging the forces of consumerization around devices, around networks, around data, and identity. As CIOs consider Desktop Virtualization at the strategic level, they come to a conclusion. The conclusion is that no single technology will address the needs of all employees.
Now Forrester Research has its latest census on technographics. Forrester surveyed 43,000 consumers in the U.S. and Canada to get a read on technology use. The conclusion: The technology gap between Generation Y (18 to 30 year olds) and Gen X (31 to 44) is widening compared to baby boomers and seniors. Mobile adoption has soared. Among Gen Y and X, 23 percent own a smartphone compared to 17 percent of the overall population.
Meanwhile, 85 percent of Gen Y sends or receives text messages and 27 percent of that generation access social networks on mobile devices. In addition, 37 percent of Gen Y accesses the mobile Internet. The picture for Gen X has some nuance, but offers a similar picture.
Here's the picture:
The real kicker is that Gen X and Gen Y make half the population. Once baby boomers exit the workforce---assuming they can afford to---enterprises will have to cater to the mobile masses wielding Android devices and iPhones. In addition, efforts like Salesforce.com's Chatter will become more meaningful. Why? Companies will have to provide corporate social networks that mimic Facebook.
Simply put, Forrester's technology use census supports the notion of consumerization in enterprise IT. In fact, consumerization may become a major requirement in the not-too-distant future.