The benefits of integrating mobile collaboration into your legacy app
Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone you’ll have noticed that the world has gone mobile. According to industry analysts at Gartner, apps developed for mobile devices will outnumber those developed for the PC by four to one in 2015. The meteoric rise of social networking and BYOD, the ubiquitous availability of high speed connectivity and the move to the cloud, means that the working world is no longer governed by a 9-5 mentality. Being connected anytime, anyplace, anywhere is the new normal.
In work, as in play, we rely on our mobile devices to inform, educate, amuse and connect us to the rest of the world. During the past twenty years, business communications have undergone a massive sea change, witnessing the rise in popularity of online communications via tools like GoToMeeting and WebEx - a technology originating from the same stable as Moxtra.
Today the trend is evolving towards collaboration which transcends technology platforms, apps or devices and facilitates the sharing of ideas in either a peer-to-peer, intra- or inter-team or combined approach, either in real-time or catch-up mode. The next generation of mobile collaboration will deliver device-, storage- and network-agnostic engagement. The future lies in combining asynchronous and synchronous communications to allow genuine collaboration in a continuous, anytime manner.
Content is king
As we’re constantly reminded, ‘content is king’ and sharing content – whether audio, video, documents, images or data – is critical to enabling employees to be productive and to actively contribute their ideas in discussions, creative designs, plans, proposals, bills or even their own personal learning goals.
Content and collaboration are at the core of virtually every business process, however, much of the content that we use on a regular basis is bound up in enterprise applications like Salesforce.com or SAP, and unlocking these digital systems of record to an army of mobile users can prove both costly and complex.
Bolt-on third party apps can be clunky and offer only a partial solution and developing mobile collaboration capabilities from the ground up can add both years and cost to product development. Hence many legacy ISVs are welcoming the opportunity to fast track the process, unlocking those silos of information and embedding mobile collaboration by leveraging the SDK from a platform vendor like Moxtra.
The origins of mobile collaboration can be traced back to solutions like WebEx which was a real-time online meeting solution for business. In its day, WebEx defined real-time desktop collaboration. Next in line came file-sharing through cloud-based file storage so workers could access their documents across devices or share files with co-workers through the cloud. Simultaneously, document-sharing was added to the collaboration mix with Google Docs and similar solutions.
Recently, chat has enabled everyone to interact with their family, friends and work colleagues in real-time. Each of these tools support simple collaboration and increase the productivity of those who use them. Each of them can be used as a partial substitute for email. Desktop videoconferencing, file-sharing, document-sharing and chat all improve collaboration, however the next stage of the evolution is to bring all of these elements together into a single platform with a unified user experience across all devices.
The next generation collaboration platform will transform existing collaboration services from the “modalities” (or silos) into a seamless experience that fits with the business work streams that support more effective real-time communication and meetings, message- and content-centric workspaces, document and project collaboration, coordination and social interaction (including status updates and notifications) to support today’s mobile work style.
Taking the SDK approach provides developers with the ability to embed any or all of these capabilities in their software solutions. For business users this offers the ability to share and actively collaborate on data and information from any iPhone, Android or web app, allowing them to chat live, share screens, annotate and comment on information in a single seamless communications stream. So now an account manager doesn’t need to log into multiple systems or applications to stay on top of her accounts. Instead she can receive high level alerts from multiple apps and collaborate with all members of the deal team remotely to make decisions.
Just add collaboration
Another area where mobile collaboration is poised to create major disruption – in a positive way — is Learning Management Systems.
Individual communication on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis has long been possible but enabling students to collaborate together opens up new learning vistas. By using an SDK approach to embed chat, live meet, clip and annotate content to facilitate sharing and collaboration, LMS providers have added an extra dimension that has been shown to increase student engagement and aid learning.
Developing mobile collaboration features from scratch is not an inconsequential investment of time, talent or money and can take years of hard engineering effort. Using a proven collaboration SDK to embed the various chat, meet or clip features can be completed quickly and easily with just a few lines of code. Customising the user interface and finessing the workflow can take a little more time, but the bottom line is that all the technical challenges and decisions about scalability, storage, security, networking, and backward compatibility have been addressed by the platform vendor.
In short the future of mobile communications is collaboration: continuous, contextual and content-based. Freeing your data and your workers from the constraints of legacy applications, devices and the physical workplace is a business imperative, offering as it does the promise of better, faster decisions, higher productivity and greater customer, channel and employee engagement.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.
- » Samsung launches Galaxy enterprise edition with UK focus
- » The rise of intelligent automation: How to take advantage of the augmented workforce
- » There’s always one rotten app in the bunch: Google launches App Defense Alliance
- » Companies need to disclose their cybersecurity risk to attract investors, study finds
- » Getting IT automation projects right the first time: A guide