Mobile technology has vastly changed the way we all interact, exchange information and connect in our personal lives - and it's increasingly transforming business in Northern Ireland.
Enterprise Mobility is the term given to the growing business trend that has seen a change in workplace habits, with more employees working out of the office using mobile devices and cloud services to perform business tasks and processes.
While it involves deploying smartphones and tablets outside of the office and utilising mobile data networks like BT's 4G network whilst on the move, it also relates to the use of these devices within the office using wi-fi technology, which gives users a seamless transition of connectivity.
Mobile technology has therefore become a core IT strategy and business enabler which is reducing costs and improving efficiency while helping to enhance the customer experience and ultimately boosting competitiveness.
In the working environment, harnessing the power of mobile technology can be hugely beneficial. People are doing more and more of their work on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. They want to work more flexibly both inside and outside the office.
Enterprise Mobility meets their needs by enabling companies to give them access to the data and applications that allow them to do that - providing the tools that make them more productive or freeing up more time for them to spend with customers.
It is also helping business to create a more innovative and entrepreneurial culture by allowing staff to work in environments that are more conducive to the type of tasks they are doing. It is helping to break down traditional workplace boundaries.
As Colin Hamill, Head of Network Enabled Services at BT Business Northern Ireland, says, mobile technology brings unparalleled opportunities but fully embracing the change is not without its challenges.
"Many organisations may be missing out on the amazing potential mobility has to offer. Making the change to a more agile and mobile workforce can be challenging," he adds.
"However, organisations can adopt a mobility first strategy to reduce the cost of delivering services, improve the customer experience and to enable faster and better decision making within their business.
"Many organisations simply don't have the infrastructure, resources and skills required to manage the diverse range of mobile devices, operating systems and applications needed to make Enterprise Mobility a reality. Companies can also struggle with cost, governance and security."
BT's experience in developing Enterprise Mobility strategies and helping companies implement them in a controlled, managed and secure manner has enabled it to partner with a number of NI companies to help them to take full advantage of the potential offered by mobility.
Sean Nolan, head of IT Services, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, says: "We're currently working with BT as our strategic ICT partner to implement the enabling technology for a major 'Journey to Excellence' transformation programme.
"Mobile technology is being rolled out for a number of different roles including managers, response maintenance staff and grant staff.
"Response maintenance staff use mobile apps and tablet devices to carry out property inspections. With the new technology, staff can connect to the system from home and then travel directly each morning to their first property inspection.
"Information is keyed in on site and then updated automatically to the back end system which really improves our productivity and provides a much more streamlined process and an overall improved customer service."
Sean concludes: "BT is key in providing the tools and technology to empower our staff to deliver a 'best in class' service for our customers."
Gaining competitive advantage in an increasingly globalised environment is essential to the development of a stronger regional economy in Northern Ireland.
The widespread adoption of Enterprise Mobility within local businesses and organisations can create opportunities for increasing productivity and developing new innovative ways of delivering services in Northern Ireland.
Colin Hamill is head of Network Enabled Services at BT Business Northern Ireland. For further information and to contact BT Business in Northern Ireland, email firstname.lastname@example.org