A Look Back At Enterprise Mobility in 2014, And What to Expect in the New Year

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2014 was a huge year for enterprise mobility. Global smartphone users reached 1.75 billion, allowing mobile and cloud industries to hit big tailwinds and steadily penetrate the enterprise sector. BYOD has become an integral organizational communication policy and is redefining collaboration and workflow. The demand for enterprise mobile collaboration tools has grown. The hype about wearables has yet to gain traction amongst CIOs, and data security remains the top priority of IT departments. Closer to home, it was an exceptional year for Lua. As we continue to build the mobile-first messaging platform for the enterprise, we launched a partner program to help businesses in a variety of industries communicate smarter. We rolled out key features such as Active Directory integration, and extended our reach to major clients in more verticals.

Before we set our eyes on what’s ahead, our team sat down and recapped the events of 2014 that will shape enterprise mobility going forward. Here are some of the most notable events that took place:

1. Gartner Magic Quadrant Shifts Focus from Mobile Device Management (MDM) to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)

At the beginning of the year, Gartner, the tech research and advisory firm, released its annual mobility management Magic Quadrant report, which shifted its focus from mobile device management (MDM) to enterprise mobility management (EMM). The report points out EMM has evolved out of MDM due to fast-moving market forces. EMM, according to this report, was distinguished from MDM as including “secure container”, “content push”, and “content access”.

Related: our recent white paper, Enterprise Mobility Management 101, offers a complete guide to implementing an enterprise mobility management strategy in the enterprise. It can be downloaded here.

2. Apple and IBM Partner to Develop Enterprise Apps

To fulfill Apple’s ambition to make iOS the top enterprise operating system, Apple and IBM announced a partnership, entitled IBM MobileFirst for iOS, in July 2014. The partnership seeks to ship iPhones and iPads to the enterprise market with IBM apps. This can be seen as a strategic way for each side to supplement their own expertise: Apple joins the enterprise mobility movement and IBM breaks into the consumer market. The first fruits of the partnership – 10 specialized enterprise apps – were released at the end of last year. Will this bring more iPhones and iPads into the enterprise and shape enterprise mobility in the new year? Our CEO Mike DeFranco expressed his view in an interview with CIO.com.

3. California Court Ruling Poses Significant Challenge to “Bring Your Own Devices” (BYOD)

In August 2014, California’s Court of Appeal ruled that employers must reimburse employees when they use personal devices for work-related activity. This decision is very important for past and future employees. The Court states that “an employee need only show that he or she was required to use a personal cell phone to make work-related calls, and he or she was not reimbursed.” The decision gives future employees more legal protection and bargaining power. It’s also an important precedent – what will other states, or even the federal government, do? Will this ruling bring down BYOD? What should you, an IT manager or CIO, do? Our article, The California BYOD Ruling: What was it, and what does it mean to you? details the ruling and will walk you through the dos and don’ts of your future EMM policies.

4. Apple Unveils Apple Watch

Scheduled to release in March this year, Apple broke the news in 2014 about the Apple Watch. Industry analysts are still not certain that the Apple Watch will be a hit in the enterprise mobility arena, although it is recognized that the Watch could be useful in highly mobile industries such as hospitality, construction, and healthcare, due to the reduced “interaction time”. We look forward to seeing whether wearables can make their mark in the enterprise in 2015.

5. Facebook Acquires WhatsApp for $19 Billion

Last February, Facebook announced it was buying the consumer messaging app Whatsapp for a jaw-dropping $19 billion. Facebook’s interest in the mobile messaging area is known to all, and this acquisition signaled that messaging has solidified itself as a communication staple for consumers, over SMS, calling, email, and social networks. Now that messaging has cemented it’s position within consumer daily behavior, we’ll see mobile messaging quickly take over enterprises in the coming years.

Michael's Predictions

Before the new year, our CEO Michael DeFranco published his ten predictions of enterprise mobility in 2015, which have been widely cited in the recent weeks. We’ve handpicked three of Michael’s predictions that have attracted the most attention.

1. Business intelligence around employee actions will be met positively by employers and employees alike:

BI platforms have been an asset for everything from resource allocation and performance optimization for decades, however, analytics on an individual employee’s contributions to work getting done has been elusive as various platforms weren’t built to be that granular or cross-platform. In 2015, I expect that “people analytics” will extend to enterprise communications and become the norm as accountability is baked into popular solutions in a way that’s less creepy than email’s read receipts of yore.

2. Lightweight solutions will be validated for quickly adding more value to the enterprise:

In 2015, I expect to see the pace of IT deployments aim to keep pace with the speed at which mobile workers execute. To do so, integrations must not be hefty, but rather lightweight and easy to deploy. That’s the beauty of cloud-based solutions. The era of having “integration consultants” is cumbersome, costly and annoying and may just be coming to an end.

3. Chat-based enterprise social networking and messaging in the workplace will be seen as different value propositions:

With Facebook separating its core app from its messaging app while stating that messaging is the only action taken more often than socializing online, it’s becoming abundantly clear that the two have different value propositions. The wave of enterprise social networks doesn’t look to be dying in the next year, but a distinct value on separate messaging capabilities will be prioritized in enterprises where being action-oriented is important. More solutions that employees need to “go back and check” will not be the solution of choice in 2015.

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What do you think were the most important events of 2014 in the enterprise mobility sphere? What is your take on what’s going to happen in the year ahead? Let us know by commenting below, or tweet at us @getLua. Contact us or visit our website to learn more about enterprise mobility solution, Lua.