Is It UC Next? How Mobile Collaboration Apps Are Challenging the Status Quo
By Jim Lundy
In light of the Mobile World Congress 2015 event going on this week, we have been witnessing a new crop of collaboration providers with laser-focus on supporting mobile workers.
These new mobile collaboration applications have somewhat similar UI designs, which are aimed at keeping the mobile workforce connected. In the current workplace environment, corporate walls have been broken down and enterprises have now been extended to support customers and partners in an unprecedented way.
What was once a predictable and stable business environment is now unpredictable and dynamic. Enterprises have to be ready for change, in real-time and at the right time with full context.
Mobile: The Convergence Point for Collaboration Technologies
Mobile, real-time, and social collaboration have merged as key productivity boosters. Mobile serves as a convergence point, bringing together multiple technologies. Cloud is also aligned to provide ubiquitous access. Collaborating and working together virtually gets more done in less time, thus reducing cycle times.
We have all become mobile workers. This is why mobile can’t be an afterthought. You have to think mobile-first in application design, which is thinking people-first.
Impact of Consumer Mobile Messaging Trends
Consumer messaging trends have led us to expect ease of use, anywhere access, connectedness, and interactive and social capabilities in the palms of our hands. They have defined our personal lives. We have unprecedented access to information and each other digitally. Enterprises have to improve information flows by mobilizing and socializing processes and knowledge. They have to support a digital workplace that is available anywhere and on any device to accomplish this.
This new wave of mobile collaboration providers that I’m referring to are taking cues from consumer mobile messaging apps and bringing that functionality into enterprises.
Incumbents such as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, and other UCC players have all mobile-enabled their offerings to extend the functionality of their platforms. The major limitation is that these are just taking existing UCC infrastructure applications and making them available on mobile devices. Their designs are not mobile-first.
Mobile Collaboration Providers
Aragon Research will be publishing a major report comparing mobile collaboration providers in the second quarter of 2015. So, who are these emerging players? While they all come from different backgrounds, they have similar disruptive potential.
The growing list of mobile collaboration providers includes startups and established players embarking on a new paradigm of mobile-based collaboration and productivity applications. A representative list includes providers such as:
- Jive Software
Mobile collaboration apps are a disruptive force in the UCC and overall telecom industry. They have challenged existing distribution and revenue models. It was only a matter of time before this trend would collide with enterprise messaging strategies. Biba’s release of its mobile-first business application for real-time communications between users was an early indicator of this trend. Glip, Cotap, Hall, and Slack are other emerging startups challenging the status quo.
The success of tools like Skype and WhatsApp tells us that users want to communicate quickly, easily, and conveniently when they need to, on whatever device they are using at the time. They also want the same level of convenient communication with their business colleagues that they have in their personal lives.
This trend of using personal tools for business is a major driver of IT consumerization. Just as the impact and viral adoption of consumer IM services forced enterprises to meet user demand by including IM in their communication and collaboration strategies, mobile messaging and collaboration apps are doing the same.
Mobile collaboration apps are making it easier for people to interact with internal and external colleagues and partners on any device without barriers. The disruptiveness of these tools is that they take communication and messaging control away from carriers and telecom providers and traditional unified communication and collaboration vendors.
As the wave of emerging mobile and collaboration providers continues, incumbent and traditional collaboration and UCC providers will rethink communications and collaboration in a cloud and mobile era. Case in point are the recent wave of new offerings by Unify (Circuit), Cisco (Project Squared) and Jive Software (Jive Workstyle apps).
This space is heating up and our report in the second quarter of 2015 will provide a thorough comparison of all the providers to help enterprise planners navigate this emerging market.