Mobilizing the Enterprise

Thoughts on SharePoint, Smartphones, and the future of enterprise productivity

Mary Meeker’s latest presentation on mobile and the enterprise

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Yesterday, Mary Meeker & Matt Murphy of KPCB gave their latest presentation on the mobile landscape. Mary covered the huge ecosystem changes in mobile due to the iPhone and the follow on products such as the app store, iPad, and Android.  In fact, smartphones & mobile devices now outsell PCs.  The ways we use PCs - search, gaming, and social - are now moving to mobile. SoLoMo - Social, Local, and Mobile - are the three key attributes elevating mobile devices above tethered PCs as our computer of choice. Advertising, branding, and commerce are all moving mobile and are showing stronger results, perhaps because, on mobile, they are new, differentiated, and interesting.  Overall, Mary presented a dense deck of information and many key mobile and web trends.

However, significantly absent was further insight into the enterprise market and its adoption of mobile. At Moprise, the mobile enterprise has been our focus.

Past enterprise trends

For the past ten years, there have been two driving scenarios for enterprise mobile adoption:

1) Vertical roles - Mobile use in field service, sales, and customer service has been rapid.  We see ruggedized devices used by technicians, policemen, and survey takers on a regular basis.  These devices required an investment in custom hardware and solutions to deliver on operational efficiencies for a heavily repeated set of operations. The return on investment meant hiring fewer people to accomplish more.

2) Email - The broad knowledge worker used devices like RIM and Windows Mobile to access their work email.  In most cases, the phones were corporate owned devices backed by IT supported back office infrastructure for secure access.

The new trends

This is rapidly changing with the introduction of the iPhone and iPad. The new trends we see are:

1) Commoditization of the vertical - many of the bespoke hardware and software platforms are being replaced by more mainstream systems such as consumer phones and tablets.   For example, we see corporate purchased iPads, custom apps, Microsoft SharePoint, and .NET plug-ins being used for new vertical services. iPads are great for viewing technical manuals from a SharePoint server, tracking time and parts used, and presenting the consumer with a receipt for signature and uploading the whole thing back to SharePoint.  In the operations center, the current status of workers can be seen via custom SharePoint dashboards and trucks dispatched by scheduling them on the SharePoint calendar. The base platform (iPad & SharePoint) is much cheaper than fully custom alternatives used in the past. As well, the agility of iPad apps and .NET SharePoint plugins is high with good availability of developers to modify the code as business requirements change.

2) Consumerization of the phone and apps in the workplace - Corporate email access on phones was commoditized with the introduction of iPhone 3GS with Microsoft Exchange support.  This enabled anyone to take their phone to work and easily hook up to standardized corporate email.  Mobile email has enabled the broad knowledge worker to use their phone for work, any time, any place.  While IT often doesn’t directly support this, often they don’t discourage it and allow internal communities to provide support, wikis, and email discussion groups to help their co-workers become more productive by connecting their personal phones to the enterprise.  These broad based communities are now taking the next step by seeking out applications that put more of their business processes onto their phone. We’ve seen huge demand for access to back office infrastructure like SharePoint - which is also a very horizontal platform used by many different roles. SharePoint has grown faster than Exchange and contains 10x more corporate data than email. It is the next obvious choice after Exchange which is why Windows Phone 7 supports SharePoint access and RIM has announced SharePoint plans as well.

Moprise can help you with your enterprise needs

At Moprise, we made it easy for anyone to access SharePoint data using their enterprise credentials via our iPhone and iPad applications. When Moprise accesses SharePoint, it  looks like PC access to an administrator or security manager - they can allow and reject access the same way, independent of the device used.  This also means if you have web browser access to your SharePoint, it will work with our app.  We have kept our app simple so that the most common SharePoint items like documents, calendars, and contacts are easily accessible.  SharePoint on the phone feels like other apps on your phone, so that muscle memory just works when scrolling through SharePoint contacts and dialing phone numbers.  The free app (without advertisements) has read-only support so that corporate data isn’t stored on your phone in a way that hurts the corporations if it gets lost. However, collaboration is easy because you can share links or the actual documents with others via your email account.

For more custom solutions, Moprise has SDK licenses to our product with premier SharePoint consultants who can produce custom SharePoint and mobile combination solutions.

At Moprise, we are continuing to innovate in helping people get mobile access to their co-workers and business in a much deeper way.  If you are interested in our products, register within our apps or drop us an email (info at moprise dot com).

Written by daviddsouza

February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

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