According to NewsGator VP of mobile, Walker Fenton, the SharePoint-based social software has now "covered the waterfront on mobile", making BYOD a reality.
Making Social Mobile Regardless of DeviceNewsGator already had mobile apps for iOS and Android and Windows Mobile, and those apps are going no where. What NewsGator is doing is simply making sure that regardless of device used, customers can get access to Social Sites. Fenton told us that Brian Kellner, NewsGator's VP Products said that it's about bringing information to the right people at the right time.
And with the huge demand for BYOD, a mobile web app makes perfect sense. Built on HTML 5, the new mobile Social Sites web app is along the lines of a Facebook-like experience. You get your scrolling Activity Stream (via the Lookout dashboard the arrived with Social Sites 3.0) and access to a nice little sidebar drop down navigation on the left.
Remember, Social Sites integrates external application information as well, providing a single location for employees to get all the updates they need to collaborate (at the SharePoint conference NewsGator CEO, Daniel Kraft, showed SAP integration in Social Sites).
Mobile Challenges for 2013
Mobile apps are table stakes -- we are hearing that all the time now, and Fenton agreed that it was really table stakes a long time ago. But that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing from now on.
According to Fenton the challenges organizations will face in 2013 relate to mobile access such as employees who want to bring their own devices to work, how to secure access and do it at scale. These are all challenges that many organizations are still trying to figure out. Do they need MDM (mobile device management solutions) or do they build something in-house? How will they allow external access securely? These are issues that are going to continue to be top of mind for some time.
As far as governance and compliance are concerned, these are also considerations for organizations as they mobile-enable more of their workforce. NewsGator is approaching this through partnerships with vendors such as Good Technology, Mobile Iron and AirWatch (this one is in progress).
The key for NewsGator, as I am sure it is for every vendor, is to respond to the market based on its clients needs. NewsGator already has a few clients talking to it about Windows 8 tablet version of Social Sites and it is working on the next release of Social Sites, due out sometime this winter. And in addition to seeing all the functionality available on the new Social Sites Web mobile app, we can expect the mobile app solutions to only getter better and faster as well.