Corporate social collaboration will enable organizations to save time and money while managing risk and ensuring accountability. Facebook-type solutions are not just for personal social media. More and more software vendors are seeing the benefits of adding collaboration tools into their product suite that look and perform like a Facebook application, but add in the security controls and delegation rights that are required for the corporate workforce. The typical add-in tools include secure storage zones, video conferencing, and a common user interface that works across all devices.
Let’s start with secure storage zones. The secure on-premise and hybrid storage zones are needed to ensure a follow-me data solution required for mobile workforce, collaboration, and BYOD – all while retaining (and in many ways, enhancing) the corporate security posture with smart data decisions being made at the administrative level rather than the user level. If you are concerned about rogue “drop box” type solutions (much like past concerns about modems hanging off systems), then heed this warning. If you have welcomed BYOD into your workplace, then you need to ask yourself, “Where is my data?” and “Do I have full control of it?”
With video conferencing, although we’ve been teased with version-1 type collaboration for years, we now have a simple gadget that makes it more plausible – a camera on most devices. If you have ever been on a conference call with even a small number of people, you know first-hand how impersonal and painful that call can be without seeing expressions – never mind the attention of the attending members! The good news is that most tablets, phones and laptops worth purchasing include a front and back camera that can be used for true collaboration. For some it will take some getting used to (no more hanging out in your PJ’s all day with bad hair); however, professionalism and productivity will increase. These results will totally outweigh a bad hair day in the corporate world! So, let’s start using these wonderful cameras for more than just taking pictures of our children.
Finally, let’s discuss the User Interface (UI) or should I say the many faces of computing? Windows desktop, web browser, smart phone and/or tablet interface….do they all need to be different in 2013? Why do I even have a Start screen? It’s never where I need it to be – it’s just an unnecessary stop-over that wastes my precious time. I never thought I would say this, but why can’t my computing devices be as smart as the car I drive? I get in my car, push a button and I am in business. It knows the temperature I prefer through climate control, when to turn my lights on, alerts me when I am about to hit something, and even locks my doors when I am driving over 15 MPH (since it assumes that I will not be jumping out of a moving vehicle!). None of these devices understand the basic concept that 90% of the time between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., I just need a “workspace” UI for my business apps and data to enable me to be a productive person. It makes me wonder how many minutes a day I waste swiping from screen to screen looking for something that should be on a “workspace” UI. Yes, I realize Microsoft finally 86th the start button; however, replacing it with a smart screen doesn’t really make my life easier!
So, if I had to make a game changing bold prediction for 2013, I would predict that multiple vendors will develop a cross-platform workspace collaboration UI that is customizable to requirements of the individual worker. A company could purchase one license per employee and give them a workspace UI with all the bells and whistles required to be a productive asset to the company.
Could there be a vendor out there on the right track? A vendor who understands virtualization of servers, desktops, as well as applications and how to deliver each in a collaborative UI? A vendor who understands MDM, secure access and secure follow-me data? A vendor who understands just how critical end-user experience and performance means to IT executives? And most importantly, a vendor who has strong, certified channel partners in the industry who can design and deliver solutions that span across all user-types and user devices – no matter the vertical or applications required (including client-server, SAAS, web, or mobile)? Well, maybe my friends in Fort Lauderdale are on to something for us to be proud of in 2013…
Now, if I can just get my smart device to clean-swipe my data if I do decide to jump from a moving vehicle…
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