Research shows that need for corporate security and uninterrupted access is driving demand for device management solutions in the Middle East and Africa.
Enterprise mobility is pushing mobile device management to the top of IT department priorities, according to a four-country study conducted by Dun & Bradstreet for Nokia Middle East and Africa.
Of the 150 companies surveyed in Saudi Arabia (KSA), South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, nearly two-thirds said that mobile device management was 'very important' to their organisations' operations. A substantial 97% of CIOs in Saudi listed corporate security as crucial followed by Egypt at 93%, with 53% of the UAE and South Africa's respondents citing it as critical.
Uninterrupted and secure access was clearly top of mind, with more than 55% of all respondents referring to it as a major challenge facing mobile enterprises. 77% of Egypt's respondents cited it as the most important factor in enterprise mobility, followed closely by KSA at 69%, the UAE at 53% and South Africa at 33%. Another important concern for the region's organisations was continuous support - with 33% of the UAE's respondents and 18% of KSA's.
These concerns on a regional level reflect the growing complexity of managing mobile networks and highlight the importance of implementing solutions that enable IT departments to remotely configure, deploy, and maintain mobile devices and applications. Organisations that thought of mobile device management as 'very important' varied between the countries, with 77% of the UAE's organisations at the top compared to Saudi Arabia's 62%, South Africa's 60%, and 57% of Egypt's organisations considering it so.
"Enterprise mobility means that, today more than ever before, an enterprise's information is housed in numerous formats, devices and remote locations," said Matt Rothschild, general manager for Nokia Enterprise Solution, in the Middle East and Africa. "As such, IT departments are no longer only responsible for the proper roll out of a robust infrastructure, but they are also entrusted to secure and support the enterprise's mission-critical data wherever it may be."
Matt Rothschild, general manager for Nokia Enterprise Solutions in the Middle East and Africa
Device management systems enable enterprises to provide better control and safety for their growing fleet of smart devices, allowing increased efficiency and decreasing the possibility for device downtime. The management is done through a Web-based application where changes such as updating the mobile's software, handling debugging issues, installing applications and tracking software versions can all be managed centrally over a mobile network.
Lost devices were identified as a key issue by 53% of respondents, 37% also cited troubleshooting and configuration as an important part of today's IT responsibilities, while 23% of respondents identified continuous support as a concern. By country, 80% of the UAE's CIO's considered lost devices as a key consideration, compared to 62% in South Africa, 49% in KSA and 33% in Egypt.
Rothschild noted that effective mobile device management can address these concerns with applications that remotely lock and delete data on lost or stolen devices, enable multiple encryption and user authentication options, and send security updates over the air. "What is more, selecting an effective management solution offers additional benefits, such as easing mobile device deployment and monitoring, maximising return on investment and reducing IT costs. The adoption for such solutions is obviously growing in our region: while the study showed that 46% of the companies surveyed had a device management system in place, many of the remaining 54% said they were intending to implement one in the near future."
Furthermore, 48% of all respondents said that they have defined corporate standards and policies for enterprise mobile usage - broken down by country, those that had outlined corporate standards and policies for enterprise mobile usage within their organisations were highest among South Africa's CIOs at 62%, closely followed by the UAE at 60%. Within KSA, 47% of the surveyed organisations had outlined policies compared to Egypt's 23%
"We expect that the focus on policies and standards will grow significantly," continued Rothschild. "The approach in terms of enterprise mobility is shifting from being opportunistic to becoming more and more strategic and in the coming few years we believe that CIOs will adopt holistic policies that have mobility at their very core."
In addition to that, 30% of the CIOs surveyed pointed to the need for handheld devices to be able to access company WLANs, which demonstrates that today's sophisticated handsets which come with powerful processors, large data stores and multiple connectivity options are now regarded as an integral part of a company's IT assets. This accounted for 27% of the UAE's CIOs, 22% of KSA's, 33% for South Africa and 13% for Egypt.
"These findings prove that enterprise mobility is about mobile e-mail and beyond," continued Rothschild. "Mobile employees need to access and edit not only their e-mail, but also backend applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and salesforce automation (SFA), along with mission-critical documents stored on the corporate network. Through our Nokia for Business portfolio of products, which includes the business optimised Nokia ESeries range of devices, as well as the industry leading Nokia Intellisync mobile suite and our security applications, our approach is built on the philosophy that in today's enterprise, collaboration is key and needs to be simple and productive from any location your business may take you."
For more information contact Yolande Pinede, communications manager, Nokia Middle East and Africa, +971 4 369 7600.