Technology has a profound impact on our lives, transforming the way we communicate, collaborate, engage, and interact with each other. We sometimes forget how our lives have changed dramatically, even in the last decade with mobile technology alone. In the enterprise today, we see many exciting new trends, such as machine learning systems to bolster security and detect fraud, and even facial recognition and security systems converging with big data. The enterprise is also embracing hybrid cloud computing and outsourced infrastructure, the concept of the “device mesh,” and the significance of social impact within the context of technology innovation.
This month I thought we might take a look at how consumer trends in the mobile sector have transmogrified the inner sanctum of the enterprise.
The megatrend of mobile device usage and expansion is simply unstoppable, with no end in sight. You really don’t hear anyone saying, “I think I’ll just leave my mobile at home today; I don’t think I’ll need it.” Au contraire! The ubiquitous mobile device is used in virtually every aspect of our lives, completely changing the behavior of modern human beings, our culture, and our societies.
It was not that long ago that technology trends and developments in the consumer space had no impact on the enterprise; they were two distinct worlds with virtually no overlap. Perhaps the introduction and adoption of enterprise-grade secure email and RIM’s BlackBerry was the beginning of the end of the separate silos. Today the lines are completely blurred, with virtually no separation in most contemporary enterprise IT environments.
After the BlackBerry debuted in 1999, the chaos increased about a decade ago with the advent of powerful new smartphones. Colloquially referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), this consumer trend presented a major problem for the CIO and the entire enterprise. Typically, the responsibility of the IT and security divisions within the corporation was to “secure the perimeter.” Access and movement of data was highly restricted within clearly delineated boundaries defined by the organization. Within a year or two, a torrent of mobile apps used by consumers—both inside and outside the work environment—hit the market, providing instant access to mass amounts of information and new functionality. Employees now expected access to corporate information during off-hours and while traveling—anywhere and everywhere. This development remains a major challenge even today, as companies struggle with securing data, privacy, user access, and a myriad of use-cases never before experienced by the enterprise.
Many enterprises have begun to address the problem by developing their own internal custom-built apps and using restricted enterprise distribution licenses for controlled circulation within their organization. This enterprise trend addresses many problems, including secure access to data, restricting users, unique workflow and functionality requirements, branding, and many other issues that are important to large enterprise organizations. The most effective solution is a comprehensive mobile app development platform with supporting tools that address many of the other complicated difficulties associated with mobile app development: finding adequate developer resources, staying up to date with operating systems and ever-changing device specifications, integration with existing systems, UI/UX challenges, etc.
Another dramatic change that began with consumers and ended up radically shifting the enterprise world is the development of social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram, LinkedIn, text messaging, and numerous other sharing technologies have completely infiltrated and transformed the way the enterprise engages with its employees, partners, customers, prospects, competition, and the marketplace in general. For the millennial employee, these communication channels are absolutely normal, necessary, and used countless times every day in the usual course of business.
This sharing environment is the new reality that the enterprise has little choice but to embrace. Social tools are now being modified to co-exist within the confines of the enterprise’s requirements for securing intellectual property and secrecy, moderating content, privacy, and overall security. On the other hand, few large organizations deny the value of having an informed, engaged employee culture and socially-active staff that has the wisdom to differentiate between the ecosystem at work and the casual environment during off hours. These individuals are invaluable, to say the least.
In a related trend, mobile technology has spawned a new generation of users that expect access to virtually any information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, further stretching the need for a comprehensive end-to-end solution for the enterprise. This new realm of end-user capability also precipitates the need for an integrated, synchronized multiscreen experience. Users expect to move seamlessly between their desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile—not to mention interchangeable access between apps and web-based browser interfaces.
It wasn’t long before a newly-armed socially-active workforce required much more than just tools to connect. The evolution is inexorably driving end-users and managers to greater productivity through integrated systems and collaboration. Indeed, messaging and collaboration tools are one of the most significant trends occurring at the enterprise today. It all sounds great but there are many concealed complications that present themselves when introducing collaboration tools: security, complex integration, software versioning and compatibility, user experience, flexibility, and a myriad of other issues. Moreover, systems that optimize collaboration and measure productivity using analytics and business intelligence are still in their infancy and require much more development to be truly effective.
I offer these sentiments and prognostications as the former CEO of QuickMobile because we are intensely interested in how the enterprise continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing mobile landscape. We currently have more than 100 Fortune 200 companies using our mobile event app platform and we are constantly challenged to develop new modules and tools to navigate the complex mobile ecosystem.
It is no coincidence that QuickMobile pursued a strategy to approach the enterprise through the event experience. Events within these organizations are of critical importance; they represent significant costs and are a pivotal starting point in which employees at all levels within the company connect, interact, collaborate, and share vital information. Furthermore, and most importantly, the QuickMobile platform was designed for the “end-user” – it is not a developer platform designed only for sophisticated programmers. This means that a user with just a modicum of computer skills can create powerful enterprise-grade apps using pre-built, configurable modules, eliminating the need for a costly in-house team of developers, project managers, graphic artists, UI/UX, QA and support personnel. This approach also eliminates the requirement to constantly update software, monitor ever-changing mobile device features and functionality, integrate existing systems and build new modules – it is all included in the platform. This innovation could revolutionize the way an enterprise develops and manages its entire mobile technology solution.
We see a future where our mobile event platform continues to evolve beyond the event space to become the nucleus of communication, messaging and collaboration, and the foundation of business intelligence for the entire organization. Many of our clients are already transforming their workflow and methodologies as they adapt to the new mobile reality. They continue to surprise us with inventive ways to utilize our software that we never even dreamed possible.
The mobile event app has never been more relevant—and I believe it’s a great place to start the conversation.