Enterprise iTunes: The challenges of mobile collaboration management

Enterprise iTunes: The challenges of mobile collaboration management

Summary: Ex Microsoftie Nokia CEO Stephen Elop of Nokia announced he was 'diving forward' off the burning platform he alerted his fellow Nokia employees about earlier this week. This dive, as expected, was a jump to a primary partnership with the Microsoft phone ecosystem, but the whole episode brings up a number of interesting issues around enterprise scale collaboration.

SHARE:

Ex Microsoftie Nokia CEO Stephen Elop of Nokia announced he was 'diving forward' off the burning platform he alerted his fellow Nokia employees about earlier this week. This dive, as expected, was a jump to a primary partnership with the Microsoft phone ecosystem, but the whole episode brings up a number of interesting issues around enterprise scale collaboration.

The enterprise smartphone and slate/ipad market is fascinating at the moment because it is all about you.

This week Mary Meeker (now at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) released with Matt Murphy her latest publicly available deck "Top 10 Mobile Internet Trends" which is well worth digesting, not least because of the focus on the individual consumer.

Slide 16 of this deck above quotes John Doerr (another KPCB VC who thinks he can smell money through your smartphone) who has previously modelled 'SoLoMo' (Socially connected with friends,  Locally aware and always available via your Mobile device). This has marketers frothing at the mouth over social media money making opportunities.

Meeker says mobile platforms are hitting critical mass globally, mobile advertising, mcommerce, virtual goods and in-app commerce are all showing promise, change is accelerating and new players are emerging.

My enterprise version of SoLoMo is 'Solo' because all this activity is about the individual's interactions. I've heard repeatedly from our clients about their challenges around smart phone and slate/ipad provisioning and governance issues. Despite the run away success of the iphone the app store is aimed squarely at you as an individual - there is no enterprise scale company store where you can provision multiple employees with devices or applications.

Windows Phone is currently squarely aimed at the frothy consumer market and despite Microsoft's dominance of Elop's old Office market, not currently aimed at enabling collaboration at scale.

Given that Microsoft and Apple are the two dominant proprietary computer operating system vendors it's surprising they are so focused on the promise of consumption of advertising and products via the individual's mobile computer in their pocket or bag.

This focus on 'solo' is all the more challenging when you look at the advances Android is making in the marketplace and Google's enterprise aspirations. Enterprise IT folks tied into multi year enterprise licenses are very frustrated at having to deal with individual iTunes account usage to put it mildly, and in many cases concerned over what sloppily coded applications individuals are installing on their phones. The security risks can be significant, particularly for companies that permit dual use of mobile devices for both work and personal use.

Microsoft and Nokia have a huge opportunity to provide secure enterprise class computing around their new mobile partnership, particularly given Sharepoint's dominance of traditional portions of business intelligence, content management, search, collaboration and sharing on internal extranets and intranets.

They also need to be aware that this is a rapidly evolving market and the opportunities for credible enterprise class applications that can be administered and kept secure for multiple users is increasingly important.  There are official and unofficial ecosystems of vendors supplying various solutions at additional cost around Apple and other systems, but enterprise buyers are typically more interested in TCI and SLA reliability over a long term period.

The current practice of mobile vendors pushing out a new os while your phone is on recharge can play havoc with installed software and is not as transparent a process as many would like.

Despite all this there still appears to be more excitement about the ability for everyone and their brother to simultaneously  'socialize' via their social networks what they are seeing on TV ("OMG! Mubarak has resigned!! #freedom #socmed") than there is for many hands making light work through efficient collaboration and information flow...

Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Software, Nokia, Mobility, Microsoft, Enterprise Software, Collaboration, Banking, Telcos

About

Oliver Marks leads the Global Digital Enterprise Team at HP, having previously provided seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on effective planning of business strategy, tactics, technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models that make best use of modern collaborative and social networking tools to achieve their business goals.

These are Oliver's views and not those of his employer HP.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It's about volume

    However important enterprise buyers might think they are, they are not as important to truly large vendors like Apple and Microsoft as the consumer market is right now. Volume-wise, the consumer market for phone-like devices dwarfs the corporate market. Any vendor who stops to court the Enterprise market risks being left behind on the consumer side, the result of which will be a fatal failure to achieve scale economies.<br><br>There will always be room for smallish vendors to carve out little niche markets for themselves, but such markets do not interest a Microsoft, a Nokia, or even a Moto Mobility. Those guys want the big volume orders.<br><br>Sure, they want the big orders from Enterprise customers too. But if they fail to secure a top-tier place in the consumer market first, they risk certain death when the consumer successes come back for the Enterprise business armed with economies of scale that the failures can't touch.<br><br>The Enterprise market is a wonderful opportunity, but compared to the opportunity to sell a computing device to every human in the world, it's a nit. Corporate IT will have to wait their turn. The big vendors will want their business; they just can't afford to worry about it right now. There's a race on.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: Enterprise iTunes: The challenges of mobile collaboration management

    I'd like to share some thoughts based on discussions with enterprises rolling out large iPhone and iPad deployments in "real life" scenarios.<br><br>You mention that "IT folks tied into multi year enterprise licenses are very frustrated at having to deal with individual iTunes account usage". This is true, but there is a solution for Enterprises that wish to deploy their own "in-house" apps using the <a href="http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/">Apple iOS Developer Enterprise Program</a> (IDEP). This can be combined with an <a href="http://www.apperian.com/ease">Enterprise App Services Environment</a> that provides a custom "App Catalog" for employees, and a way to authenticate, authorize, and and perform version updates.<br><br>However, I have yet to see real-world concerns about "sloppily coded applications individuals are installing on their phones" and any "security risks [based on] dual use of mobile devices for both work and personal use." This sounds like "fear tactics" from those who have the "lock down" mentality, and harkens back to the day when we got blackberries with everything but email and phone shut off. We are well beyond that now!<br><br>First, any app downloaded from iTunes has been vetted by Apple, and any app that is discovered to compromise the device can be shut down. <br><br>Second, apps developed with the IDEP are built by the company - and we can assume that these are checked before deployment to employees!<br><br>Finally, the IOS already has built in "sandboxes" that deal with malware, etc. That's why you don't see "anti-virus apps" on iPhones - they are just not required right now.
    CimarronB
  • Not a challenge...

    ...if you know what you are doing.
    james347