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March 27, 2013

BYOD is Making Mobility and Cloud Services Top Challenges for IT

It should come as no surprise that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena has changed the game forever for enterprise IT professionals. From security to the definition of how, when, where and why work is performed, the “consumerization of IT” and resulting “IT bypass” has altered the landscape profoundly. And, as study after study is revealing the changes wrought by BYOD, and the acceleration in the speed those changes are causing have risen to the very top of IT concerns. 

Confirmation of this has come from a recent survey by Hickory, NC-based network wireless infrastructure provider CommScope.  It shows that BYOD in conjunction with the acceleration of much desired capabilities moving to the cloud is putting unprecedented pressure on IT to keep up. In fact, the seventh edition of the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey of more than 1,100 IT professionals from 63 nations, found that enterprise mobility and cloud services beat out infrastructure intelligence, 40/100GbE and green power initiatives as the top challenges facing IT professionals globally.  

Food for thought on IT priorities and infrastructure readiness

Key findings from the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey include:

  •  Enterprise mobility:  Forty-four percent of surveyed participants see the widespread use of mobile technology as a game-changer. About a third of respondents reported having a distributed antenna system (DAS) deployed on site to support the indoor wireless traffic, while another 36 percent reported no capability to provide adequate indoor mobile coverage or capacity.
  •  Cloud services:  Forty-four percent of surveyed respondents also pointed to cloud services as a top game-changer and expect that importance to grow. While 21 percent currently rely on cloud technology to run more than half of their applications, 52 percent believe that by 2017 more than half of their applications will reside off-site in the cloud.      
  •  40GbE and 100GbE: Nearly a third of respondents indicated that 40GbE and 100GbE would have a significant impact on their future operations, with a majority citing the emergence of laser-optimized multimode. There was also consensus among the respondents as to their installation strategies for future data centers. Sixty-one percent of operators favored a pre-terminated data center solution as opposed to a field-terminated solution. 
  •  Infrastructure intelligence: Nearly one in three of surveyed participants mentioned the need for intelligent infrastructure as an IT infrastructure game-changer. The key driver, cited in 61 percent of the surveys, is the increasing demand for greater productivity.
  •  Green, reliable power: Energy usage is still near the top of many respondents’ minds. One-fourth of respondents indicated that energy and green initiatives would be a game-changer over the next five years. On average, respondents are looking to reduce energy consumption by 18 percent; their strategies involve server virtualization, consolidations and cloud computing.

As referenced above, the survey found a noticeable gap between usage of mobile devices within enterprise facilities and the capability of those buildings to enable wireless traffic. According to the survey

  • An average of 43 percent of all phone calls originating within an enterprise facility involves a mobile phone
  • Only 30 percent of these businesses say their carrier-provided in-building signal coverage and capacity are sufficient to handle the mobile traffic
  • More than three-quarters of respondents admitting that employees had to roam around the office, or even go outside, to get an adequate signal for a call 

Kevin St. Cyr, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions at CommScope  in commenting on the findings stated that, “It’s clear from the survey that bring-your-own-device is a growing trend and places a heavy demand on organizational infrastructure, while weighing heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals…The pace of mobility adoption by consumers—and thus the workforce and company visitors—has outrun the infrastructure and practices in place within enterprise facilities to support it. This also factors heavily into the uptick in a majority of survey respondents confirming deployment of cloud-based applications.”

We hear a lot about BYOD from the perspective of the challenges IT faces in terms of implementing policies and rules and providing security. What tends to be over-looked is the state of the infrastructure to actually handle the proliferation of these devices and whether it is up to the task. As the survey reveals many enterprises are not ready from a mobility or datacenter perspective, and need to act to catch up with their users. 

If you are an IT professional struggling with all aspects of how best to accommodate BYOD and the cloud, the salutatory news here is that you are not alone in your struggles to keep up not just on the headline items, but also on issues relating to plumbing. The report serves as a good place to start a conversation with management, who in many if not all cases are running the business on their personal devices using cloud-based apps to take a serious look at what is going to be necessary for the enterprise to be optimized for the new world that is already upon us.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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