Enterprise mobility in review 2015 – and what is in store for 2016
As another year goes by, it is time to reflect on the key events of 2015. Some stories came as a surprise while others played into long-running trends, but overall it was an exciting year for enterprise mobility. Here are the key highlights:
2015 in review
February: Android for Work reveals Google’s “serious commitment” to the enterprise. The long running arguments against utilising Android as an enterprise mobile operating system – fragmentation, security – were rethought at this year’s MWC event as Google, alongside a host of partners, officially launched Android for Work. “We believe the Android for Work program provides businesses and workers with the choice and flexibility they need to get things done at work,” a company blog post trumpeted. Many partners, including AirWatch by VMware, MobileSpaces and MobileIron, told this publication of their confidence in beefing up Android for an enterprise audience.
Read more: Google launches Android for Work: A move to make Android more enterprise-friendly
March: Microsoft reskins Lync as Skype for Business. The news was announced in the back end of 2014, but Microsoft did eventually make the move to utilise the near-ubiquitous Skype brand for enterprise comms. Enterprise mobile analyst Bob Egan argued the move was “way overdue”, while Yaacov Cohen, co-founder of Microsoft-oriented collab software provider harmon.ie, noted the importance of the branding side and how the core for Redmond remains Office 365.
Read more: Goodbye Lync, hello Skype for Business: The ramifications for enterprise collaboration
July: Mobi’s $35 million funding round gives boost to managed mobility services. A story which perhaps flew under the radar in 2015 was that of Indianapolis-based managed mobility services provider Mobi, after growth equity firm Bregal Sagemount ploughed in an investment of $35 million. As managed cloud makes more and more sense, and with the increasing complexity of the mobile market – more of which shortly – the investment in Mobi will help boost managed mobility services, which “badly need[ed] to raise its profile”, according to Enterprise AppsTech contributor Nick McQuire.
Read more: Mobi’s funding raises the profile of global managed mobility services
September: Apple and Cisco pen enterprise network partnership. In 2007, Apple and Cisco were playing out a legal imbroglio over trademark infringement; in 2015, the two companies shook hands on a deal for better optimised enterprise networks and pushing Cisco’s collaboration software further to the fore. Analysts were somewhat sceptical over the deal – particularly given the Apple/IBM partnership has hardly pulled up many trees in the critical eye.
Read more: The Cisco and Apple deal looks good on paper – but what can the CIO take away today?
September: BlackBerry acquires Good Technology and puts old rivalries aside. If your New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to get on better with friends and family, why not take your inspiration from BlackBerry and Good Technology? CCS Insight cited BlackBerry as an enterprise mobility provider to watch in 2015, and in a roundabout way the prediction was bang on target. Outgoing Good CEO Christy Wyatt told this publication BlackBerry was “the iconic brand for enterprise mobility”, and that the two firms’ technology roadmaps complement one another, not just on the security side but also on technologies such as the IoT.
Read more: BlackBerry acquires Good Technology for $425m: How new leadership prompts new ideas
November: The demise of Globo. After the disclosure by Costas Papadimitrakopoulos, CEO of Greek enterprise software provider Globo, that his company had been falsifying data, resignations and, eventually, administration, followed. But what did this mean for the enterprise mobility industry? Analyst opinion ranged from greater caution in the market to an admission that it’s “just hard to make money in mobile.”
Read more: Post-Globo: Is it time to have a rethink over the enterprise mobile industry?
So after 2015, what can we expect from the coming year?
MDM further becomes a commodity while it is “the beginning of the end” for mobile apps: This is the view of David Lavenda, harmon.ie VP of product strategy – but it is single purpose mobile apps which do not face a future. “In the long run, we’ll see more multi-cloud solutions that surface not only the relevant information, but also the relevant functionality from any app or web service – all in the context of the user’s workflow,” he explains.
Lavenda also proffers a potentially dire warning with regard to mobile device management. “As soon as operating systems commoditise MDM by offering security and provisioning out of the box, standalone MDM companies will need to find other value-added services – or fade into obscurity,” he adds.
The first enterprise data breach from a wearable device will occur. Yorgen Edholm, CEO and president of Accellion, argues: “Until now wearables’ integration and reliance on a user’s smartphone has offered a layer of defence, creating a buffer between the device and the network. But as more wearables gain standalone internet access, which is already beginning, employees with things like smartwatches are going to be [the] weakest link in the security ecosystem.”
Previously Nick McQuire, VP enterprise at CCS Insight, told this publication that wearables are ready to go in the enterprise now – but only with specific use cases. Logistics provider DHL, which is using smart glasses to improve efficiency in the warehouse, is a key example of this.
App stores will have to ‘up their game’. Domingo Guerra, president and co-founder of mobile app security body Appthority, argues: “As enterprises continue to mobilise in the next year and employees download apps to both their corporate and private devices, there will be no room for any lag in liability. To continue to serve the increasingly mobilised workforce, app stores will simply have to up their game and proclaim responsibility where it is due, else the end users, and the enterprises they work for, will pay the price.”
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