Mobile computing in the cloud: What enterprises need to know

By Rose de Fremery

An open hand holding a mobile phone flat with a white cloud above the device representing mobile computing in the cloud

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In a short span of time, mobile computing in the cloud has revolutionized the business world. Mobile devices paired with the power and resilience of the cloud have given rise to an incredible new generation of apps that have simultaneously enhanced the customer experience and unleashed profound digital transformation.

This mobile-enabled transition continues to accelerate, with no signs of slowing down. As Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends 2017” report notes, mobile usage has jumped to three hours per day per person in the United States.

Here’s a look at mobile cloud computing, what it is and what it means for today’s enterprises:

Mobile computing in the cloud: A growing trend

Simply put, mobile cloud computing is a new platform that combines the advantages of mobile and the cloud. For the time being, mobile devices provide only finite resources in terms of processing power, battery life and storage. Cloud computing, when paired with mobility, vastly augments these limited resources by handling an application’s processing and storage requirements in a seamless manner behind the scenes. As a result, businesses, their employees and their customers now have considerable power at their fingertips, wherever their mobile lives take them.

When mobile computing integrates with the cloud, mobile applications can enjoy longer battery life, better storage capacity and processing power and vastly improved data synchronization. Mobile cloud computing also typically delivers improved reliability and scalability as well as smoother integration between business applications. Enterprises can strategically leverage all of these capabilities and more to drive greater value both within and outside of the enterprise.

Mobile cloud computing enables business transformation

Mobile computing in the cloud has already delivered profound benefits to the enterprise, with even more transformational improvements waiting in the wings. Developers love mobile cloud computing because it enables them to create scalable applications that might otherwise be beyond the capacity of today’s mobile devices were it not for the crucial assist from the cloud. This has greatly expanded the scope of applications that enterprises can develop, allowing them to build powerful apps (or services, in the form of APIs) for a wide variety of devices — not just the latest and greatest smartphones and tablets — thereby ensuring a better chance of widespread adoption and use.

Such apps and services have already greatly enhanced the customer experience, empowering enterprises to better understand and serve their customers while identifying new strategies for driving bottom line growth — and even, in some cases, entirely new business models or markets to tap. That particular area of advancement tends to attract the most attention, but it should be noted that mobile cloud computing has also facilitated powerful transformation with regard to internal enterprise business processes, supporting growing trends such as telecommuting and collaboration as well as enabling greater workplace productivity through role-based apps.

As a result, enterprises that take advantage of innovations in mobile cloud computing are positioning themselves well to improve the customer experience in an age when this is increasingly a key differentiator among competitors in the market. They are also laying a strong foundation for powerful internal enterprise transformation that will serve them well both now and in the future.

Mobile cloud computing will power future innovation

Resilience is another strategic benefit that mobile cloud computing provides. Should an application or device fail, the valuable information they accessed will still be available and backed up in the cloud. IT professionals find this capability particularly helpful for ensuring mobile security if a device is lost or stolen. Using mobile cloud technology, they can both remotely lock and wipe devices as well as gain access to critical user data. Migrating a user from one device to another has also become considerably easier thanks to the seamless pairing of mobile devices and the cloud, reducing IT’s administrative burden in the process.

Mobility and the cloud will also provide the underlying infrastructure for successive waves of enterprise transformation involving AI and mobile devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more. As technologies such as 5G cellular wireless service become more widespread across the globe, they will support even more powerful mobile cloud computing applications within the enterprise and beyond. These technologies are advancing more quickly than one might assume. As Forbes reports, 70 percent of enterprises plan to implement AI within the next 12 months alone.

Although it is already difficult to imagine people’s work and personal lives without the considerable benefits mobile cloud computing has brought to both, it will soon serve as a catalyst for even greater enterprise innovation that affects everyone, powering everything from the virtual digital assistants that enhance productivity to the smart cities where people will work and live.

Keys to success with enterprise mobile cloud computing

Enterprises can set themselves up for success with mobile cloud computing by engaging in thoughtful strategic planning now. First and foremost, an enterprise mobile strategy is essential for defining an organization’s mobile cloud computing goals. A resilient and flexible cloud infrastructure is often necessary to accommodate the difficult workloads associated with mobile apps. It’s also wise to assume an assertive, proactive enterprise security posture with respect to mobile cloud computing, as security concerns around it remain incredibly urgent.

Companies should also anticipate the unique skill sets that a mobile cloud approach requires. Surprisingly enough, there are organizations that still don’t fully understand what the cloud represents and how it can impact the enterprise. In IT alone, the advent of mobile cloud computing has precipitated considerable change in the skill sets and capabilities involved in supporting and innovating business technology. For this reason, existing organizational talent and cultural attitudes toward cloud computing should be considered as part of an enterprise’s mobile strategy as well.

The mobile cloud is clearly here to stay, and the enterprises that maximize the advantages of cloud computing stand to benefit from it in many ways — from enhancing the customer experience to innovating internal processes. For companies aiming to advance their enterprises, increase their agility and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace, there has never been a better moment to capitalize on all that the mobile cloud makes possible.

Written By

Rose de Fremery

Writer

Rose de Fremery is a New York-based writer. She currently covers business IT topics such as technology innovation, mobile strategy, unified communications, CRM and marketing automation, IT management, and the virtual workforce for HP, Intel, Vonage, and IBM Mobile Business Insights.…

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