Yes, this is another predictions post. But unlike years past, I’m going on record saying 2015 will actually be different: 2015 will be the year that enterprise mobility not only arrives, but flourishes.
Over the last year we’ve witnessed increased adoption of user-led mobile enterprise apps, and a boom of mobile startups, catering to employees who want more than legacy apps shrunk for mobile screens. I’m confident 2015 is the year for enterprise mobility because of three forces that signal the arrival of mobile work tools:
More enterprise apps will have the ability to work offline. The fundamental premise of mobile technology is that it works everywhere and at any time. Imagine if you couldn’t listen to iTunes when you’re on a subway train. Or you’re in an elevator heading to your next meeting, but you can’t look up the conference room listed on the calendar invite. Or you’re trying to make an urgent call while driving, but you can’t look up the phone number in your contacts. All these apps that you rely on everyday share something in common: they sync data locally on the phone which enables them to work offline, even when the data connection is lost.
Employees aren’t waiting; they’re taking things into their own hands. As we’ve gotten used to downloading apps from the App Store to improve our daily lives, we are beginning to do the same in our work lives. Seven out of 10 employees use technologies not provided by their companies to do their jobs more efficiently. End users are no longer waiting for their IT departments to shrink wrap enterprise applications for their mobile devices. They are finding solutions themselves. For example, Evernote came to the workplace years before Evernote Business was introduced. This shift towards user-led mobile enterprise apps is moving the needle on enterprise mobile development and end user adoption.
Forget the big guys; mobile-first enterprise applications from startups will lead the charge. Originally it was the promise of IT and mobile development platform players that would bring mobility to businesses. But they failed because they weren’t thinking about the user first. Instead, their strategy was to take legacy cloud apps and shrink them to mobile devices when what users actually want and expect is a completely different experience. It’s like trying to use Expedia on your phone as opposed to Hotel Tonight. Or VRBO vs. Airbnb. It requires a fundamental reimagining of the application. Therefore it’s not the cloud incumbents and their mobile “strategies” that are going to mobilize the enterprise; it’s the end users finding apps via the App Store that were developed by mobile-born startups. It’s this innovation that will allow enterprise mobility to flourish.
We’ve moved the needle when it comes to enterprise mobility over the past year, but it’s time to take it to the next level. The forces have aligned and innovation from mobile-first startups, combined with companies finally meeting employees’ needs will make 2015 the year of enterprise mobility.