Mobile Collaboration’s Drum Beats for Enterprise
By Marie Lingblom
There’s been a lot of chatter about whether mobile collaboration is well-suited for enterprise. The answer seems obvious: Employees and customers expect to be able to communicate and collaborate via mobile devices the way we do in our personal lives.
As mobile collaboration solutions become more sophisticated and secure, enterprises are abandoning the complex management of multiple communications systems. Solutions focus on one communications and collaboration platform with tools that streamline operations to provide fast, secure access to critical real-time data regardless of device. This means connecting internal people and resources to external colleagues and customers with the same information available across multiple devices. Whether it’s social business networks, e-mail and calendar, video conferencing, documents, IM or meetings, mobile collaboration is essential for the enterprise.
Market watchers agree. TechNavio this week released a report forecasting the Global Mobile Collaboration market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.95 percent through 2016. A key factor, write TechNavio analysts, is improved productivity of employees; easy availability of cloud solutions makes the decision even simpler for enterprise leaders.
Concern about data security could pose a challenge to the growth of this market, according to TechNavio. Leading vendors, including IBM, are answering the challenge with robust security features to protect vital data.
In terms of networks, TechNavio analysts say that, as 3G and 4G networks expand, mobile collaboration will help service providers deliver higher bandwidth, enhancing the quality of communication services and stimulating data transmission via mobile collaboration. As the mobile network grows, the use of mobile devices will increase and connectivity will improve.
This makes sense, but how does an enterprise learn to be social and collaborate? Is it a technology issue or a change management issue? These questions were posed last month by blogger Kevin Benedict, mobility and SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) analyst, consultant and writer.
As individuals, says Benedict, we’ve jumped into the social and collaboration scene pretty easily. The big question: Where does a business receive value from incorporating “social collaboration” internally?
According to Benedict, “collaboration” is a requirement for the enterprise. Mobile communications and devices deliver real-time news, updates and business intelligence that allows data-driven decisions no matter our location. But no one works in isolation. The logical next step is to have the capability to collaborate in real-time – to form groups to discuss and debate an issue, make a plan and act via mobile devices.
We all collaborate in business now, says Benedict, but we just do it badly. For instance, we can spend an entire day in a conference line with 10 others on a call that’s irrelevant or dominated by a few opinionated people. A great deal of time is wasted and little, if any, collaboration actually happens.
A better use of time and talent, notes Benedict, is creating a collaboration session around a particular topic. Invitations are sent, and people can share thoughts and opinions back and forth during the designated period. Collaboration happens when it’s convenient for individuals. They can schedule collaboration around customer calls and meetings, or take time to conduct research and return with a thoughtful opinion.
Collaboration is a requirement for business. The question is how to best collaborate, and what platforms and mobile technologies are best suited to help.