The upside to Canada’s slow enterprise mobility uptake

At IDC Canada’s 30th anniversary event, Krista Napier suggests there is a silver lining in “falling behind” certain IT trends

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Welcome to Canada, home of the wait-and-see approach.

We are a nation of laggards, it seems, at least when it comes to buying into new enterprise technologies. As private consumers, we line up at dawn outside the Apple store in a rush to get our mitts (or, more likely in this country, our mittens) on the latest version of i-Whatever. As corporate citizens, however, we Canadians are not always Early Adopter Eager Beavers.

Hence the title of Krista Napier’s recent Toronto presentation, ‘Why Canada’s behind in enterprise mobility … and how that’s a good thing.’

You don’t slap a title that provocative on something without having the stats to back it up, though. Of course Napier, manager of mobility and consumer research at IDC Canada, did provide data to justify the title of her session:

True patriot love: Canadian companies are slower to embrace a multi-OS world; homegrown BlackBerry still rules the enterprise mobility roost here, with 55 per cent of the corporate smartphone market

BYOD Band-Aids: most Canadian firms take what Napier calls “the Band-Aid approach” to BYOD …

  • only 10 per cent had a formal BYOD policy in place at the end of 2013
  • most Canadian companies still haven’t deployed enterprise mobility  management solutions beyond basic security
  • while 74 per cent of Canadian firms provide full BYOD support for email, such support for printers, collaboration and CRM stands at just 21, 18 and 17 per cent, respectively

App gap: Canadian companies have deployed far fewer enterprise mobile apps (i.e., for productivity, BI, sales, social and UC) than their British and American counterparts thus far

Okay. So Canada’s not exactly leaping aboard the mobile enterprise train. But there may be an upside to our slower uptake.

“Most of the time, falling behind is a bad thing,” said Napier. “But there are silver linings in falling behind.”

She predicted that corporate Canada’s loyalty to a single OS (yep, that would be BlackBerry) “will result in a major shift that will be more acute in Canada than most other regions, and drive the need for solutions and services to catch up.”

The fact that most Canadian businesses give their current BYOD strategy a satisfaction rating of just six out of 10 “is a huge opportunity for vendors to help in this space,” added Napier.

And we’ve got some catching up to do in deploying both mobile enterprise apps and the solutions to manage them. It just means that once we’re up to speed, “there’s a need to manage all of this,” said Napier.

So vendors and carriers can still find growth opportunities in Canada’s enterprise mobility space that have already been tapped out elsewhere.

Napier said there are opportunities for Canadian end users, too. The best thing about waiting longer to dive into a product or service is that when you finally do, you get the most robust, integrated, flexible version of it, usually at more competitive prices.

For corporate Canada, hopefully the wait will have been worth it.


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