Enterprises of all sizes are challenged with supporting a wide range of mobile devices and applications. In addition, empowered employees are circumventing the IT organization by purchasing their own mobile devices and downloading applications used for work from mobile app stores sponsored by mobile device manufacturers. Adding to this complexity are the accelerated mobile device release and application update timelines, which often occur in a matter of months, not years. Mobile cloud services are emerging as a method for the corporate IT department to address these challenges, while still maintaining control of the firm’s mobile device and application environment.

Cloud services have been available in a traditional software and hardware arena for the past few years. However, now vendors and service providers in the mobility ecosystem are offering new types of mobile cloud services to help firms simplify and manage the complex mobility landscape. The key characteristics today’s mobile cloud services include:

  • Standardized, on-demand mobile services delivered in a public or private cloud environment. Today’s mobile cloud services tend to focus on helping firms deliver mobile applications. However, mobile cloud service deployment will evolve over time to include other services such as storage, security billing, governance, and reporting capabilities.
  • Mobile cloud services are delivered in an “as a service” manner, and promise to deliver operational savings by only requiring firms to pay for the software, platform, and infrastructure resources used. The software as a service “SaaS” delivery model is commonly used to distribute mobile applications, and infrastructure as a service components include mobile network and storage which can be incorporated into public clouds or private clouds.
  • Cloud based mobile applications are scalable and leverage the power of a server-based computing infrastructure. These applications are accessible through a mobile application interface, and are not limited to the data storage and processing power contained in a mobile device.

Mobile cloud service deployment will evolve in three stages. Today, most companies are in the first stage of the mobile cloud evolution and are working with vendors and service providers who provide mobile application services. In the second stage of mobile cloud evolution, services become more systemic in the corporation, and firms evolve their use of mobile cloud capabilities to include storage, security, and billing capabilities. Finally, in the last stage of evolution, mobile cloud services become mobile cloud solutions. These solutions will be driven by a wide range of partnerships established by vendors participating in the mobility ecosystem. I welcome your perspective on successful strategies for capturing the emerging opportunities to help firms who are interested in deploying mobile cloud services. Also, for additional insight into the evolution of the mobile cloud service market and the opportunities for vendors in this area, watch for the upcoming report on this topic.