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Survey reveals what's fueling mobile enterprise growth

Mobile devices have become just as important, if not more, than PCs, as millennials expect to do their work anywhere -- on devices supplied by employers.

The fast pace of growth behind the mobile enterprise is fueled by several compounding factors, and analysts only expect this to hasten.

The speed of business is at an all-time high, and people need to respond to contract offers at all hours to close business deals.

"Globalization is a big one," said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights and Strategy, a tech analyst firm based in Austin, Texas. "Twenty-five years ago, the concept of your small company selling things to another country was foreign. Now, we are a 24/7 economy. Even your small businesses in Boise, Idaho can sell to Beijing."

 After-hours working is a big driver of mobility, Moorhead said.

"You don't want to fire up that PC in the middle of the night," he added. "You don't want to be glued to your desktop. You want to be able to respond to requests on your phone from anywhere and get that edge to beating your competitors to that business."

In the last few years, there has been a massive fluctuation between mobile device sales and PCs.

In 2014, vendors shipped 1.3 billion smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, more than double the 545.2 million shipped in 2012. During this time, PC sales declined more than 12%, shrinking from 352.4 million in 2012 to 308.6 million in 2014. These global numbers reflect the enterprise space, as more users buy smartphones and fewer buy PCs.

"I think millennials are driving a shift to incorporate mobile into the enterprise," said Chris Willis, vice president of user experience at Domo, Inc., a software company based in American Fork, Utah. "It's going to be a much greater driver going forward; we're just seeing the start of it. Business will need to manage what may be a large disconnect."  

Roughly 22% of millennials say they would be less likely to accept a job offer at a company that lacked a mobile work environment, while 29% expect their employers to provide them with a mobile phone, according to a survey conducted by Domo and management best practices website The two organizations surveyed about 2,000 college students for their report.

You don't want to fire up that PC in the middle of the night.
Patrick Moorheadpresident and principal analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy

As more millennials enter the workforce, these percentages are expected to rise. Today, millennials make up about 37% of the workforce, according to professional services network Deloitte's Millennial Survey of 2014, which says that number will grow to about 75% by 2025. 

"The interesting trend is really on the application side of things," said Eric Klein, senior mobility analyst at VDC Research Group, Inc., in Natick, Mass. "Enterprise software vendors like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft and IBM, they are beginning to shift a lot of their development toward mobile. They are building robust, prepackaged mobile apps. That will have a significant impact."

Enterprise app developers are creating applications that take advantage of a phone or tablets functionality that PCs don't necessarily have, Klein said. These features include payment capabilities, barcode scanning, GPS technology and more.

"Those are the opportunities that will ultimately really drive things," he said. "We expect to see more businesses make workflow-specific custom apps. Those will facilitate a lot of opportunities for mobile."

Ramin Edmond is a News Writer for TechTarget covering the mobile enterprise space. Email him or follow him on Twitter @TheRealRamin.

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