What is mobile-first anyway? Not mobile only.

Author: Amitabh Sinha

Publish on: Feb 26, 2015 5:30:00 AM

What is a mobile-first enterprise? Does mobile-first only mean phones, or does it also include laptops? How significant are tablets in today’s mobile-first enterprise?

In order to answer these questions, let's take a quick look at consumer device usage trends so we can better understand mobile user behavior:

Here is an example from 2014, specifically the Thanksgiving season.

Below is the traffic data incurred by three different form factors used to browse online stores during the 2014 Thanksgiving season. Here, tablets were used disproportionately higher than their numbers:  




Next, let’s look at the sales data recorded for 2014 Thanksgiving online sales. Tablets contributed even more disproportionately to sales during the same period. By way of comparison, much fewer sales happened on phones as a percentage of their total numbers:


Taken in combination, we see that the overall percentage of mobile traffic has clearly gone up. These numbers also highlight that end users leverage different form factors (and different kinds of OS) to perform a variety of different tasks.

What does this mean to a mobile-first enterprise? We believe that enterprise mobility will follow similar trends. Different kinds of enterprise users performing different kinds of tasks will require a variety of form factors. In fact, a single user may use 2-3 different devices daily: perhaps a phone when driving, a laptop at work, and a tablet while at home. Consider today’s mobile workforce: a sales person is likely to primarily use their tablet and phone, a finance employee may rely heavily on the laptop / phone, and an engineer may rely primarily on their laptop. Don’t forget those enterprise consultants, they connect to your enterprise leveraging a variety of laptops and tablets that in turn will further expand your mobile-first enterprise considerations.

A workspace provides a simple way for end users to securely acces all their applications and data. A workspace needs to be available on any device in order to meet the requirements of a mobile-first enterprise.  There are two dimensions to this requirement:

  1. Form Factor
  2. Operating System

An end user is going to use multiple form factors to do work. They may use their tablet to work from home, a phone on the road, and a laptop in the office. These devices may be one of the following operating systems: iOS, Android, Windows, or MacOS.

Apple with its latest iOS 8.x release and the Yosemite release is trying to pull together a consistent and continuous user experience across multiple devices and form factors. Google is trying to integrate the Android and Chrome OS experiences. Microsoft is trying to build a Windows experience that goes across devices.

A mobile-first enterprise needs to embrace a heterogeneous world, a consistent user experience that layers on each one of these operating systems. If IT ignores this, it will struggle with different technologies to deliver apps, control security, and integrate workflows. Those headaches will negatively impact your end user, who will struggle with different experiences across different kinds of devices.

The architecture for each one of these OS platforms is significantly different. On iOS, applications are strongly isolated from each other, while on a Windows OS applications are very weakly isolated from each other. Android and Mac OS are in between.

For an end user: the look, the feel and the behavior of a workspace should be independent of the underlying operating system. For IT: the underlying architecture and implementation of the workspace will need to be quite different for each operating system. The best implementation needs to deliver the highest level of security and the best user experience on any device.

Understanding the underlying architecture of a workspace and the implementation differences across different device helps illustrate why workspace is the simplest way for end users to securely acces all their applications and data. It also helps IT manage product updates for enterprise infracture software. Today, many struggle with managing product updates for enterprise infrastructure software. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone- for many companies this is a never ending and challenging balancing act. On one hand, new feature updates enhance the user experience and increase productivity. However, releases are usually infrequent, and require significant IT resource to test, schedule, and execute the system upgrades.

Wish you could have BOTH faster updates AND minimal IT effort to roll out those updates? You can!

Schedule a 15 minute demo to see today's Workspot in action. We're the leader in cloud desktops, and we can have you up and running on Microsoft Azure in as little as one day!

Learn more about Workspot Desktop Cloud solutions. Read the solution brief now!


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