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...