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Cloud Expo: Article

Enterprise Mobility, Cloud Computing, BYOD and Unified Communication

Famous four in action and how they complement, and disrupt each other.....

1. Cloud and Mobility - A Match Made in Heaven....
Cloud computing is providing organizations with low-cost applications and storage, making it easier to manage the growing amount of information. Increased adoption of cloud-based systems (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and everything else) in the enterprise will pave a way for a faster pace of adoption and acceptance of the cloud-based back end for mobile devices. With increased use of smartphones, tablets in enterprise (BlackBerry, Nexus, Surface, etc.), increased acceptance of BYOD, more and more business information and data will be moved outside the firewall. The trend will fuel the use of cloud infrastructure for mobile applications, and platform and infrastructure including storage. It's a no-brainer. Private mobile cloud, private mobile app stores, standalone enterprise class mobile app stores, etc., will start taking shape. The mobile app and platform ecosystem will evolve.The growth will, however, also depend on the ability of SaaS and PaaS vendors to facelift their applications and platforms for the mobile devices.

2. Mobility - A disrupter of traditional Unified Communication
Mobility, as we all know, is redefining the workplace as the boundaries blur between personal and professional life, home and office, business travel and in-office. Users want a seamless mobility experience that allows them to work anytime and anywhere, with the same productivity and performance they would get in a traditional corporate office.

From the enterprise perspective, management wants to minimize the cost of office space, increase employee  productivity, allow flexibility to work from home and keep people in the field. From that perspective,  the 3CS (Communication, Collaboration, Content and Social) or in other words Unified Communication / messaging and collaboration needs to redefine the boundary from the traditional office work space and multiple end points (PC, Laptops, Phone, Desk Phone, Mobile, etc.) to the mobile environment and potentially single end points.

Mobility is a disrupter simply because mobility is indirectly simplifying the core unified communication problem - the problem of "Multiple communication methods (Voice, Chat, Email, IM etc) on multiple channels (Mobile, Fixed line, Email system, Chat system, Wi-Fi, voice mail, multiple mail boxes, etc.) delivered to multiple devices (PC, Laptop, mobile, Internet) to a single person / identity" TO a slightly simpler "Multiple communication methods on multiple channels delivered to a single device to a single personal / identity". Unification of end point device is the centerpoint.

Traditional UC products will have to provide solutions centered mainly around FMC (Fixed mobile Convergence), Voice over WI-FI, mobile traffic redirection to enterprise telephony systems, and single end point delivery system for Voice, Video, Email and IM ) onto a device (with a single identity - phone no / email. Some of the challenges that mobility offers remain common - be it unified communications or device management. Needless to say that the a simple problem statement doesn't necessarily mean easy solution. The solution perspective has to change. The new MS surface and blackberry launches in 2013 should give us some clues on what is going to come next.

In my opinion, Mobility and UC will converge with mobility already serving many of the use cases for Unified communications problem with cloud serving as the ubiquitous necessity for both. Ultimately, it will be the death of the so called traditional "Unified Communication" of the past. Alternatively, it may transform itself into a new avatar- "Mobile Unified Communication" in a much bigger way in 2013 and 2014....

Cloud Computing, Unified Communication

3. Device Diversity plays the role of necessary evil
Form factor, platform, OS and device variety will pose a greater challenge in terms of interoperability, management, deployment and updates and everything else.....  Companies will have to forego traditional MDM - for device management and instead turn  to advanced form of device management (MDM) and sophiscated and more secured application and data management capabilities in the form of MAM, MEAP, MIM (Mobile Information Management ) - Citrix Share, HyperDrive, VMWare Octopus,   Citrix Fileshare, Dropbox, Google Drive etc). This will also fuel eco-system consolidation within submarkets such as MDM, MAM, MEAM, TEM etc.

4. Sweet Spot for SaaS Suppliers
SaaS vendors are perfectly positioned to provide mobile versions of their services for popular mobile browsers and devices. This will facilitate and simplify the use of mobile apps in the enterprise and help manage issues related to application and data management to a great extent. Imagine an organisation that hs already embraced BYOD, and few of its applications are already in the cloud - performance management, expense management, travel management, ERP, Sales force automation to name a few, and the business wants the applications to be available on the mobile devices.... The CIO has no choice... since it is practically not possible to custom build the apps for the device and not easy to move from a SaaS model to a on-premise model... Matter of the fact is that CIOs have no choice but to go with it if the application is supported on mobile OR ask the SaaS vendor to provide the support for the specific application in question for a win-win situation. This only will help the CIO's support the business and address the concerns of flexibility, agility, mobility, scalability, and speed of implementation without a significant compromise - which is otherwise not possible.

5. Security Considerations - Shift from Device / infrastructure to Information and Data.
Mobility has practically removed the traditional boundaries of the enterprise, corporate network and secured / wired infrastructure which in turn has made  it vulnerable to numerous (and real) threats from enterprise information security perspective. With the advent of BYOD, device centric approach to solve security challanges is not enough. IT departments will have to move to multiple levels of security - from device level to information level via advanced forms of MDM (device management) and MAM / MIM (Mobile Application and Mobile Information / Data Management). The security concerns are no longer be a IT security department issue but a more strategic issue and has to be dealt in a holistic manner.

Not only the security strategy will have to unique to a specific company / industry but should encompass technical, organizational, and regulatory factors. These considerations will need to be taken care of at the design level itself with a clear focus on information centric security management and defined much earlier in the game plan. In the absence of guidelines, i hope that industry consortiums and government agencies will start discussing the most sensitive areas and create guidelines for security needs rather than each company and industry defining its policy. This i believe will help everyone.

6. Decrease in Total Cost of Ownership
Enterprise Mobility will turn out to be a game changer in the troubled financial times as it will bring down the overall cost of ownership to the enterprise. Traditional logic of economies of scale has defied this so far as enterprise customers (read 'Scale') are charged a premium fee. With increased consumerization in the enterprise, cost to an enterprise user of mobility services should reduce as the differentiation of two types of consumers (enterprise VS retail) disappears.

Case in point is RIM - who is hoped to bring down the overall cost of ownership as they turn their focus to consumerisaton in the interest of everyone (and more for them to regain lost market share to apples and androids)... Only time will tell in 2013...

Increased data usage will shift the focus to better archiving and optimization of storage indirectly addressing the data security aspects.

7. Ecosystem Consolidation
Mergers and acquisitions was seen in 2011, 2012 in the cloud application management space when big players acquired niche players with cloud enabler and management products. The next few years will see the same trend in mobile application management space. Citrix acquisition of zenprise is an indicator of the potential future. The MAM (Mobile Application Management), MEM (Mobile Enterprise Management), MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms) will have the same fate for all the good reasons and big players are already in the foray with various ties already in place.

8. Buy Your Own Application - Future
Buy your own application is a futuristic thing but it will pick up once the data / information is isolated from application layer and users are able to use the data using their preferred application for viewing. One example is the the choice of email client (view) for emails (data).

More Stories By Sunil Pathak

Sunil has close to 16 years experience in Information Technology providing leadership, management, planning, system development and engineering, training, people development, methodologies, and process support. He has worked in the area of internet based technology solutions, ecommerce applications, product development, product maintenance, e-business platforms, portals, collaboration, content management, and business intelligence.

He currently works for Colt Technologies Services, Bangalore, India as Head of Systems Development and Support. Sunil holds an Executive MBA (IIM Calcutta), Masters in Technology (IIT Kanpur) and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering. He also holds diploma in entrepreneurship from EDI Ahmedabad. He can be reached at :
Linkedin - http://in.linkedin.com/pub/sunil-pathak/4/501/a9b
Twitter - @sunil__pathak


Disclaimer:The opinion expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.