4 Trends in Mobile Collaboration

By Yaacov Cohen, Co-founder and CEO, harmon.ie — March 30, 2014

BYOD has been a perennial buzzword and we finally saw broad adoption of it last year with Gartner going so far as to predict a shift in BYOD policy from personal decision to company mandate by 2017. In conjunction with that adoption came growing pains—straining archaic enterprise infrastructure, services and policies as companies struggled to accommodate the new demands and dangers of managing an increasingly mobile workforce.

Now mobile has gone from an optional feature in the enterprise to a necessity for effective collaboration. Dramatic market shifts this year will drive the rise of the “mobile collaboration hub"—a user-centric platform under which document sharing, team collaboration, enterprise social networks, mobile device management and eventually intelligent, context awareness is housed.

With that in mind, here four key trends that will push the mobile workplace towards true productivity anytime, anywhere in 2014.

1.   A shift from personal to team productivity: Many companies have allowed employees to bring their own devices but are reluctant to allow the full mobile access needed for teams to collaborate from wherever they may be.
However, true business value from worker mobility can’t rely solely on individual workers and there are still major barriers preventing team-wide mobile collaboration and productivity. Barriers like the rise of rogue IT and insecure consumer content sharing apps leave company data in a dangerous place as employees choose productivity over strict adherence.

In fact, our report, “The High Cost of Mobile Business Users' Rogue IT Practices” found that 41%of workers have used an unauthorized cloud service despite the fact that upwards of 87% were well aware that their company had a policy strictly forbidding their actions. Thankfully, now that such perils are well known, and tools that provide secure team-wide mobile collaboration are available, this will be the year where companies can move from individual productivity to enterprise mobile team collaboration.

2.   The evolution of ecosystems: Companies will also demand cross-ecosystem functionality in their collaboration platforms. As more vendors begin pushing their collaboration tools to be mobile-ready, the expectation is that similar announcements will surface to meet the demands of today’s hyper-connected enterprise and mobile worker. The major move will be towards consolidating a host of apps into a single, user-centric interface so that mobile collaboration can take place under one contextually consistent roof.

3.    Consumer breakthroughs driving mobile enterprise developments: Solutions like Dropbox for cloud services will drive companies to come up with user-friendly, enterprise-grade alternatives. Consumer apps cause extreme anxiety for large companies with sensitive data, but are so readily available and intuitive to the average worker that employees often can’t resist. To combat this desire, consumer-like functionality will increasingly pop up in mobile enterprise apps and include the use of sensors along with near field communication (NFC) for exchanging business information.

4.   The push for context to overcome the enterprise information glut: The mobile information glut will continue to worsen, and we will not see good consumer solutions this year. Pockets of products are good for reducing niche overload, but the flood of emails and social media updates will not subside.  While companies and end users alike will advocate for change, only when contextual awareness becomes interoperable between cloud services will we see some relief. Context will become important for mobile apps, but the practical limitations on context such as how to cross-reference data will stall change.

Acknowledgement will become action as the growth of BYOD and mobility in the workplace will continue to rise. Companies stand to gain massive worker productivity through collaboration, but only if they solve the problems of shifting from personal to team productivity, creating cross-ecosystem functionality, fending off the allure of consumer appss and beginning a path toward consistent context. If enterprises can address these concerns, they will reap the benefits of anytime, anywhere mobile productivity and collaboration.

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