New opportunities are emerging for enterprise mobility vendors in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as more companies are embracing mobility as a tool for increasing productivity and gaining a competitive edge. The total mobile workforce in the region is growing, companies are developing policies to govern mobility and implementing mobility management solutions, and interest in mobile applications is accelerating.
IDC interviews with leading mobility vendors revealed that Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania in particular represent imminent opportunities within the region. The mobility survey indicated that Romania has the most companies with a mobility strategy (36%), while other countries are catching up. At present, according to the IDC Mobile Phone Tracker database, smartphones represented more than 75% of all mobile phones shipped in the CEE region in Q2 2015. In general, with the increasing penetration of smart terminals (especially smartphones and tablets) across CEE countries, mobility is inevitably finding its place in the work environment. “Mobility is a key pillar of the 3rd Platform, along with big data analytics, social media, and cloud, and many companies may succeed or fail based on the effectiveness of their mobility strategy,” says Madalin Lazarescu, research manager at IDC.
Mobility has different faces across industries, however, and vendors must therefore understand industry-specific requirements and the drivers behind mobility initiatives. For instance, in some industries, using smartphones and tablets to access company systems may be considered the core of enterprise mobility, while in others, enterprise mobility means using ruggedized mobile devices capable of withstanding harsh environmental conditions. According to our data, among retail and wholesale and media companies in CEE, increasing sales revenue is an important mobility driver; however, this factor is considerably less important for utilities and public-sector organizations. Similarly, while reducing the cost of doing business is important for entities in finance (17%) and retail and wholesale (14%), it has negligible importance for those in the telecom or media sectors.
Interesting opportunities are emerging in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) segment, as we learned from our discussions with CEE’s top industry players. While larger companies with a bigger mobile workforce are more active in mobility initiatives, this market segment is also more highly penetrated with mobility solutions. In this respect, it is important to note that differences exist in preferences for partner when acquiring mobility solutions. While interviewed companies of all sizes identified mobile operators as the most-trusted partner when purchasing a mobile enterprise management solution, variations emerged among second choices. Companies with a headcount of more than 1,000 would choose a systems integrator as the next-best alternative, while smaller companies would opt for a mobility implementation specialist. Country-level information derived from the survey would reveal further differences in preferences.
Security and compliance issues remain the top mobility challenges for CEE enterprises. We therefore expect accelerated interest in implementing mobile security solutions in the region. IT departments in some CEE countries (such as the Czech Republic and Poland) remain reluctant to implement a formal bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, as they may not be able to maintain a desired level of network security. Other CEE countries, like Russia and Romania, show a higher adoption of BYOD, which brings regional acceptance of BYOD to about 12%. In Russia, BYOD is preferred to choose your own device (CYOD), with 26% of respondents allowing the former, versus 4% giving the nod to the latter. In contrast, results from Czech companies showed CYOD preferred over BYOD (20% versus 5%, respectively).
Although the mobile applications market is still quite young in the CEE region, interest in mobile applications (i.e., development, management, platforms) is increasing rapidly among CEE enterprises. More than one-third (38%) of CEE companies have plans to develop, or have already developed, one or more mobile applications, and IDC believes this figure will increase to 50% within the next two years. The most commonly developed are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-employee (B2E) applications aimed at improving customer experience, increasing operational efficiency, and enhancing employee satisfaction.
In the years to come, advances in mobility will continue to change the way companies do business. It will become more important for decision makers across industries to keep pace with the rapid changes of mobile technologies and their impact on IT departments and systems, as understanding mobility trends and developing an agile mobility strategy will prove a key differentiator in a highly competitive landscape, as well as an enabler of future success.