The Many Definitions of Mobility


If there’s one thing the IT world is agreed on, it is that mobility is important. Yet every IT vendor seems to have a different take on mobility. It’s even become hard to know what people mean when they say “mobility.” Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways of defining it and what each of them means.

Mobility is enterprise mobility management

Recently Gartner and others have moved from the label mobile device management, which defined part of the IT mobility market, to enterprise mobility management (EMM).

Enterprise mobility management covers software that manages mobile devices such as iOS and Android phones and tablets, as well as applications and content. By considering the content and apps delivered to mobile devices as well as those devices themselves, EMM tries to cover the entire mobile marketplace. For many, when they say mobile, this is what they mean.

Mobility is anything a workforce uses on-the-go

Some don’t believe EMM is broad enough. Companies like Kaspersky and Citrix, for instance, look at mobility as a shift in business practices. To them, EMM isn’t broad enough because it does not include laptops, nor does it take into account the affects that mobile devices have on non-mobile technology like security or auditing software. To those who define mobility this way, it’s a workforce-wide topic.

Mobility means the full-time mobile employee

For some, mobility applies to just those parts of the workforce that always work on-the-go. A sales force is a good example, as are field workers and technicians who work out of trucks or on remote sites. Full-time mobile workers don’t have offices. They might have mobile devices just as powerful as desktops, but they don’t have desks.

Mobility also includes part-time mobile workers

While some confine mobility to the full-time mobile worker, you will also have conversations with IT vendors who include part-time mobile workers in their definition of mobility. Part-time mobile workers have desks and PCs. They’re in their offices most of the time, but perhaps once a week they work from home, or occasionally they have to visit other offices, job sites or customers. These individuals rely on a variety of technology to get their work done, from any location, at any time, using any device, including anything from a laptop to a smartphone or tablet.


If you’re not sure what a vendor means when it says mobility, just ask. As mobile solutions become more essential, it becomes more important that you get the right one and join with a vendor that sees things the way you do. At Novell, mobility is synonymous with productivity, and all our solutions are designed to keep users productive, no matter where they roam or what device they use.

Thanks for reading!


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