Whats Hot and Whats Not in Enterprise Mobility Trends

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Mobility has been a hot topic in the enterprise space for nearly two decades, but the times have changed since the world was dominated by Blackberry and Palm. The enterprise mobility space is now a robust, highly specialized, and rapidly responsive environment where even Microsoft allows users to edit Office files on third-party mobile applications.

Why? User experience, integration and productivity rule the market. And for IT administrators, understanding the trends that drive this ever-changing marketplace is crucial.

What's Hot: Control of Highly Sensitive Content

Gartner noted in its Enterprise Mobility Management Magic Quadrant that the enterprise mobility management market is the evolution of mobile device management (MDM) products that lacked application and content management features. As these markets began to converge, one of the core differentiators that emerged was security. Products attempting to transcend the MDM market often tried to take the same "lock down everything" approach to remote access for content, file sync and share, and content management policies.

Organizations have started to realize that not every piece of content needs to have the utmost security controls applied. Solutions are instead forgoing the mandate of content security and focusing on the concept of content control. Instead of focusing on 100 percent of the content, these solutions rely on the 80/20 rule to safeguard key corporate content through strict governance and security policies while allowing end users to interact without restriction with non-business critical content.

No matter how secure your system is, security breaches will occur. By auditing content access and providing breach detection and alerting mechanisms companies can minimize the impact. These solutions aim to assist administrators in rectifying the situation and identifying those parties responsible for the breach event.

What's Not: Content Security and the 'Dropbox Problem'

Solutions that focus on locking down access to all content and preventing end users from sharing outside corporate walls have seen their market share dwindle. Locking down everything no longer makes sense, and often causes employees to bypass these administrative boundaries and use unmanaged, consumer-based solutions to increase productivity. There are many multifaceted solutions to the so-called "Dropbox problem,” and many organizations have or will soon adopt one that works for them.

What’s Hot: EFSS Solutions Deeply Integrated with ECM

The enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market has blossomed quickly, with more than 100 vendors now competing for their share of the market. One of the biggest differentiators is integration with enterprise content management (ECM) systems like SharePoint, Office 365, EMC, SAP and OpenText.

Microsoft is setting the pace here, adding connections to OneDrive for Business and Office Web Apps, as well as announcing partnerships with Dropbox to provide editing to Office files straight from the Dropbox app. Familiar ECM buzzwords like collaboration, workflow support and cooperative editing are key features for organizations looking to adopt these solutions.

What's Not: Standalone Solutions

With market giants and progressive startups leading the integration and coopetition charge, vendors need to show how they can expose APIs or integrate with popular content management or file sync and share platforms. As the MDM, Enterprise Mobility Management, EFSS and ECM markets continue to converge, standalone solutions in any of these spaces may soon find themselves targets for acquisition or elimination. Also, since they require a new budget rather than increasing budget for an existing (i.e. trusted) solution, it may be a harder sell to consumers.

What's Hot: Hybrid Solutions

Although there is plenty of marketing buzz around mobile and cloud exclusively shaping the future of business, hybrid solutions -- combining on-premises and cloud investments -- are gaining popularity in the IT field. Gartner estimates that nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.

Why? Cloud computing gives administrators the chance to outsource and automate their infrastructure, access scalability concerns, and reduce total cost of ownership. Companies that give users options on where to store content will likely get a second look from a flexibility and cost perspective. With the cloud storage war having likely reached its zenith, consumers will look to other differentiators and features to help them determine where and how to store, share and access corporate data.

What's Not: Cloud-Only Solutions

With storage no longer a differentiator and numerous options to connect on-premises content to the cloud, cloud-only solutions must now find new ways to stand out amongst the pack. This will pose a challenge to vendors, especially with cloud-first industry giants staking their claim in this space.

What's Not: BYOD

Bring Your Own Device policies are still relevant for organizations, but many have already adopted solutions -- or at least policies outlining the dos and don’ts. Now it’s time for the next step beyond BYOD, as these organizations seek to capitalize on other enterprise mobility hallmarks, such as collaboration enablement and enterprise application management.

Title image by Roland Tonglao (Flickr) via a CC BY-2.0 license