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The Business Value of Android’s Mobility Solution Breadth and Platform Flexibility

By Bryan Bassett, Senior Research Analyst, IDC

There are many considerations for enterprise IT decision makers to weigh when choosing a mobile platform for a given deployment, but among the most important are the adaptability and availability of solutions within the platform, as well as the ecosystem of device manufacturers and partners that support the platform. As mobility continues to evolve in the workplace, business workflows and use cases are rapidly evolving in turn.

New business processes and opportunities are creating demand for different mobile device types beyond the scope of traditional smartphones and tablets, as a means of enabling new types of workers (field workers, shift workers, etc.) and customer experiences. The breadth of a solution will be characterized by its ability to encompass a diverse range of devices, worker types, and ownership models across a wide variety of vertical and horizontal use cases.

According to IDC data, nearly two-thirds of enterprises have dedicated devices deployed in their environments. These devices are corporate-owned and often single-use, meaning they are designed to enable specific business workflows only. According to IDC data, Android is on pace to become the largest rugged OS by shipments next year, growing at 23% CAGR over the next 5 years, more than 5x the rate of the rugged device market overall.

For example, healthcare organizations are deploying ruggedized Android devices equipped with advanced scanners that enable nurses to scan medication and access patient data in real time without the need of a traditional shared terminal. The devices are specially designed to withstand repeated sanitation throughout the day and are equipped with swappable batteries to ensure the device is always powered, allowing it to remain on the hospital floor 24/7. While capable, a consumer grade smartphone or tablet would simply not be able to meet the demands of these specialized dedicated devices.

The requirements of modern day enterprise mobility go far beyond simply putting more of these devices into the hands of employees. The wrong device in the hands of the right worker may ultimately result in a failed deployment—regardless of how capable that particular device or worker may be. Determining what device is best suited for a given deployment poses a significant challenge for enterprise IT departments given the levels of complexity that mobile ecosystems present. Google launched the Android Enterprise Recommend Program to make it easier for businesses to select, deploy, and manage Android devices and services that meet elevated enterprise requirements validated by Google. To receive Android Enterprise Recommended validation, devices must meet strict hardware and software minimum requirements to guarantee levels of security and manageability over the course of their deployment.

For an in-depth look at how the breadth and flexibility of the Android platform enables businesses to succeed, we invite you to download the IDC whitepaper, “IDC Pillar 2: Solution Breadth – Flexibility and Adaptability of a Platform,” sponsored by Google.

This blog is part of a series covering the three key pillars of technology consideration for an enterprise mobile operating system. Starting with an overview of the Android mobile operating system, the series dives into mobile security, solution breadth and platform flexibility and availability, and management/administration functionality in the context of modern mobile workers’ attitudes around control, privacy, and ease-of-use.