SPLF 2012: Barry Jinks’ ‘The Implications of Integrating Mobile Devices’

Colligo CEO Barry Jinks began his session at last week's SharePoint Leadership Conference by pointing out that, being a "typical mobile worker," he was using an iPad for his presentation. 

(Full disclosure: Colligo sponsored the Sharing the Point Africa Tour that I was a part of last month and, while extensively using Briefcase Pro on an iPad during the trip, I became a big fan of Colligo's signature app, which provides synchronized online and offline mobile access to SharePoint sites from both iPads and iPhones.)

Projecting a corporate SharePoint intranet on the screen, Barry said that "SharePoint is fine out-of-the-box, but when traveling … I need a tool that supports my mobility on SharePoint."  Barry ran his (stored in the corporate SharePoint site and already cached) presentation via Briefcase, pointing out that he didn't need to use VPN, and that the data caching happens in the background.  Additional features of the mobile app include integration with Outlook and IE, and most important, the "ability to be able to get your content on any device, no matter where you're working."

This wasn't a product demo though, so, referencing a recent Gartner report on the "nexus of forces," Barry shared that the nexus of forces "describes the convergence and mutual reinforcement of four interdependent trends: social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information. The forces combine to empower individuals as they interact with each other and their information through well-designed ubiquitous technology."  In other words, as Barry said, "it's not just about mobile, it's not just about social" (or cloud, or information), but that "leveraging those four together is what's changing how people communicate and collaborate."

"People are the driver," said Barry, quoting Gartner again and continuing, "the user is at the center of everything we do in IT … we have to think about the user in everything we do."  According to the Gartner report, people in North America with personal iPads are increasingly using them at work, and "CIOs and CEOs have them and want to use them, so you better support them."

Shifting gears between surveys to reference the 2012 AIIM survey, Barry shared the results of the question, "Does SharePoint satisfy your needs for [various areas]?" and "mobile devices access" ranked dead last, appearing at the very bottom of the list.  Barry underscored this result, saying, "mobile access is the thing that is least satisfactory" in SharePoint out-of-the-box.  Conversely, mobility ranked as one of the two highest anticipated growth areas over next 12 months, per survey respondents.  To this last point, Barry said that "mobility didn't even make it to the top 20 in the 2011 study," just one year earlier.

Addressing the implications of mobility, Barry said that "it's about changing the business processes in your company," since it involves the ability to work anywhere, and facilitates end-to-end collaboration and control.  Since mobility is "no longer a niche area, it's a huge opportunity across the enterprise," as it represents new classes of users who will drive business improvements.  There are some challenges to implementation, however, and Barry named as being among them: with "new user experience paradigms," user expectations are very high due to their familiarity with consumer devices; there are "real issues around administration" (e.g., deployment, and security concerns); and connectivity (will users be constantly connected, or will there be a need to cache?).

Listing the implications of mobile device management (MDM), Barry named as being among the areas in need of addressing: heavyweight or lightweight?; security; governance; usability; and will you support personally owned devices, or only corporate-owned devices?

Implications around information management include: central configuration, management, and monitoring; the ability to easily deploy to many users and devices simultaneously (a la Dropbox); usability; and analytics pertaining to "who's using what content?"

Barry concluded his session by identifying the top five risks related to mobility and security, listing them as being:

  • Jail-breaking
  • Uencrypted data cache
  • Access to credentials
  • Consumer device security considerations
  • Use of consumer file-sharing services

Complete coverage of SharePoint Leadership Forum 2012:

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