By Martin Smith, Mobility Specialist, Hewlett Packard

In a recent HP survey of IT business decision makers across Europe, 40 per cent of respondents identified Android as a feature of their existing IT infrastructure. The continued growth of the Android OS platform within the business space can be attributed to a number of factors. Aside from increased hardware choices and physical storage options, one of the key reasons is that Android phones obviously sync and integrate better with Google services like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Calendar; all of which have obvious implications for business. In addition, business buyers often echo their own personal purchase behaviour when making company investments and with Android devices normally available at a fraction of their competitors, it is unsurprising more and more of them are being bought for business use as well.

However, the two biggest reasons are the growth of the mobile workforce and rise of BYOD (bring your own device). Most analyses of the work market conclude that this growth is related to convenience, with commuter distances and family flexibility often cited. But the real reason lies with enabling technology that allows us to be connected anywhere, anytime at low cost. Communications technology has finally become good enough that most mobile workers now have internet connection speeds that are comparable to most commercial offices.

In addition, the last five years have been a challenge for businesses looking to keep up with the rate at which technology has evolved. Employees' expectations around having the freedom to choose the type of device and operating system they use for work have led to increasing numbers of IT departments adopting BYOD policies, This trend means that it is workers, not CIOs, making the decisions about what handsets to use; resulting in more diverse OS strategies and a rise in Android usage in business is likely to rise. This transformation echoes our own conversations with customers, where we hear from organisations of all sizes – whether it be a three-person architecture firm or large enterprise – that they need the right hardware, software and services to enable their employees to easily create and consume content no matter where they are or what device they are using.The projected uptake of tablets, in particular, is a strong example of these growing consumer expectations as these devices become even more prominent within large and small businesses, as well as across the public sector.

Business mobility is no longer the preserve for a few companies; if a business doesn’t have a mobility strategy, then they do not have a strategy for growth. Mobility is creating new business models and challenging old ones. Mobile working is going to happen in businesses whether people or not – the question now is whether organisations want to benefit fully from this revolution or continue to try and stop the inevitable.