Mobility, Collaboration Mark Enterprise Evolution

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As mobile devices infiltrate the workplace, business professionals expect more from smartphones and tablets, and equipment manufacturers and service providers will need to rework their approaches to product development as a result, session after session hinted at the E2 Conference in Boston in June.

One of the significant trends Google has seen is the move from "mobile-first to mobile-only usage," said Amit Singh, president of Google Enterprise. "There are 900 million activated Android phones, and in some places, like India, the tablet [has] surpassed desktop [use.]"

According to Singh, 58 percent of the world's Fortune 500 companies use paid business services supplied by Google, as well as solutions such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive cloud storage apps. Additionally, the adoption of cloud-based services and social media by the enterprise has changed Google's business strategy. Google+ counts 190 million active users. More than 100 brands with more than 100 million followers are on Google+, so "there is a lot of investment there," Singh noted. Google's goal is to nail down features on the consumer side, get them to scale, and "once they're in place, bring them to the enterprise."

Likewise, Netsmart Technologies, a maker of health and human services software, has found that roughly half of its employees access their Moxie Software collaboration tools first via mobile devices. "Mobile [devices] are an extension of your arm that lend [themselves] very well to social [collaboration]," said Nikhil Govindaraj, Moxie's vice president of products. Because mobile devices are driven more by "consumption than creation," Moxie looks at mobile use cases through the lens of the consumer to allow business users to upload photos, videos, and documents to share.

Similarly, software provider Evernote this year launched Evernote Business to bring together cloud storage and knowledge capacities for professional teams.

"We are in a new world," remarked Jason Maynard, a managing director and software analyst at Wells Fargo. "There will be a lot of changes in how companies use tools to acquire, manage, and retain customers."

Jive Software, which originated as an enterprise social collaboration solution in 2001, has expanded its reach into new categories. Enterprises have moved beyond the mantra that internal collaboration is "Facebook for business" to defining collective goals, business use cases, and how to tactically roll out collaboration tools into broader work flows, according to Matt Tucker, cofounder and chief technology officer at Jive.

"The conversation is not so fear-based anymore," he tells CRM. "[Companies have] moved from rolling out social for social's sake to 'We're being pragmatic and...rolling it out to the sales [or] marketing organization.'" As a result, Jive has developed partnerships and product integrations that span connecting sales opportunities in Salesforce.com with community collaboration through the Jive Anywhere plug-in to native mobile applications for field reps.

Enterprises are evaluating new ways of looking at how collaboration can be built into applications to drive real business value, said Sameer Patel, SAP's global vice president of enterprise social and collaborative software.

Alistair Rennie, IBM's general manager for collaboration solutions, concurs. "Clearly, social is the product line, but the question can become 'How do I use big data analytics [on social media] to change [sales] enablement, or to improve sales compensation practices, or to identify experts in an organization?'" he said.

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