2014 saw some exciting developments in enterprise mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). We are entering a mobile first world that's changing how customers interact with businesses, how employees communicate/collaborate, and and PCs are no longer the dominant productivity platform.
Looking into 2015, I see some interesting trends to watch including:
Startups take a leadership role in mobile CRM
I wrote about Selligy for TechRepublic in September. The Selligy app is testimony that mobile CRM startups can and will disrupt customer relationship management (CRM) as we know it. While I know Salesforce and other CRM vendors are pushing their own mobile initiatives, I see startups as the ones driving mobile CRM in 2015 not a major CRM vendor.
"Being everything to everybody" has gotten more than one technology vendor into trouble giving mobile CRM focused startups a definite advantage when it comes to launching and iterating on a mobile CRM app.
More analytics tools monitoring the mobile workforce
Another 2015 trend to watch is the growth of analytics running on the backend of cloud collaboration and sales enablement platforms giving companies actionable insights into the content their mobile workforce is accessing. Colligo includes analytics in their recently launched Colligo Engage platform; Huddle is also promising analytics in their next release.
Improvements in analytics tools across Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), CRM, and other backend platforms should also feed into this trend throughout 2015. However, the sustainability of this trend balances on how many enterprises take action on the data that the analytics deliver to improve mobile workforce productivity.
Microsoft Office for iOS and Android becomes a mobile productivity standard
I used to describe the Office productivity and word processing app market on mobile as fragmented at best. The launch of Microsoft Office for iOS in 2014 was indeed disruptive. I expect Microsoft's iterative development strategy and future iPad launches grow Microsoft Office feature performance well into 2015 and beyond.
While there are a number of capable mobile word processing and Office productivity apps available, the business world still runs on Microsoft Office documents (Sorry, Open Document Format fans). The option of opening Office documents on a mobile device while maintaining document format parity is going to play an increasingly important as more Mobile First, BYOD, and CYOD initiatives gain ground in 2015.
Microsoft taking Microsoft Office on iOS freemium and the launch of Android version make it a trendsetter for 2015.
BYOD and CYOD segmentation becomes clear
I'm expecting to see more Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) sometimes known as Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) as a trend in 2015 as some enterprises pull back from the BYOD implementations of 2012-2014 after the costs and expectations don't match, fall out from the California case, and other internal reasons. My interview with Art King of SpiderCloud Wireless points to some financial numbers every enterprise needs to know when making the CYOD/BYOD decision.
The overpromises and BYOD spin from some vendors (as evidenced by my email inbox these past two years) points to a future where the bills come due (and reality sets in) when mobile workforce meets the budget. I don't expect BYOD to go away entirely in 2015. However, I do expect to see more companies moving to CYOD or a hybrid CYOD/BYOD model.
Enterprise App stores emerge in more enterprises
In a conversation, I had with Jason Frye, CTO, and Solutions for BMC Software he told me about the enterprise app store interest he's seeing amongst BMC customers. I started seeing this trend myself in the last quarter of 2014.
" I have had many discussions with IT leaders who are looking for a way to make their apps available to their customers in a more controlled and possibly more secure manner than having to blindly publish every app that they produce to one of the leading public app stores," Frye said.
He sees the trend in terms of extended enterprise marketplaces emerging to support B2B app exchanges. I on the other see the enterprise app store trend in 2015 in direct support of mobile first, CYOD, and BYOD initiatives.
Microsoft and Google subsume the low end of the MDM/EMM market
Office 365 and Google Apps for Work continued to add more mobile device management (MDM)/enterprise mobility management (EMM) features in 2014.
I see Google and Microsoft challenging the lower to mid end of the MDM/EMM market as smaller or more budget conscious organizations start with a solution they already know versus adding another platform for their already over taxed IT team to support.
This trend could pose a problem for startups targeting that market segment but then again; it may spur more MDM/EMM acquisitions in 2015.
Apple Pay takes a bite out of BYOD
It wasn't until I used Apple Pay on my new iPhone 6 for the first time at Whole Foods did I believe what Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie said about the potential of Apple Pay disrupting BYOD. The nature of my work means I must be an early adopter, I love Apple Pay's convenience, but I didn't get the usual tingle I get when trying a new technology.
It's one thing for your employer to see your poor taste in music by via your iTunes play lists, or that you can't take a selfie to save your life, it's an another thing to have even the threat of your personal financial information intermingling with corporate data.
2014 has been a good year for enterprise mobility and BYOD.
2015 is going to be even more eventful as we see if 2014 enterprise mobility news like the Apple/IBM partnership and EMM/MDM acquisitions can deliver and fuel further innovation enabling even more mobile first, CYOD, and BYOD environments by this time next year.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.