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Expanding mobile usage will spur IT modernization initiatives to avoid the high costs of maintaining legacy applications and their associated infrastructure.
The average company spends the majority of its IT budget maintaining legacy applications that fail to meet the changing competitive needs of the business, according to VDC Research. Secure and feature-rich mobile applications, however, offer users new ways to streamline their daily workflows and be more productive. This opportunity is significant, as most businesses have yet to extend beyond horizontal applications such as email, messaging and calendars.
For that reason, VDC sees mobile enablement as a significant catalyst in boosting infrastructure spend, as organizations realize that legacy applications and infrastructure consume a disproportionate percentage of their IT budgets.
The most useful mobile enterprise applications are connected to back-end services. But this approach creates challenges for IT from management, security and support perspectives, and it will ultimately require investments in modern mobile infrastructure built for real-time interconnectivity, flexibility and ease of administration.
Securing mobile infrastructure
As the opportunity to benefit from consumer-oriented mobile becomes more pronounced, IT departments are at risk of losing control. IT professionals must reconsider how they deliver critical mobile services to users and how new work patterns affect their infrastructure. The slow pace of enterprise mobile enablement has led to frustrated users, who can move forward on their own without IT visibility.
To maintain control, IT pros need to demonstrate that not only can they move quickly to roll out mobile applications, but that they can offer the quality of service and user experience that users expect. That's especially complex when managing a bring your own device (BYOD) program, particularly once an organization enables the workforce with access to mobile corporate content on a 24/7 basis.
Security remains a key barrier to truly enabling users' personal devices. The security landscape is in a state of constant change, challenging IT to assess the best ways to secure and manage a multitude of mobile devices on diverse platforms. Securing the network perimeter is a de facto position in the enterprise, but that's not always enough in an increasingly mobile environment -- particularly when you consider the proliferation of wireless connections and the potentially uncontrolled usage of apps.
Future mobile investments
Organizations will need more advanced technology as they begin to implement best practices for enterprise mobility. To date, the lion's share of mobile IT investments has been in enterprise mobility management products, but key mobile infrastructure elements are also necessary, including enterprise small cells, network access control and next-generation firewalls and VPNs.
Organizations that do not begin the move toward mobile IT modernization and the necessary infrastructure investments will soon find their businesses lagging behind competitors'.
This article originally appeared in the May issue of the Modern Mobility e-zine.
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