2013 was an amazing year for enterprise IT—the pace of innovation is higher than it has ever been and there is no sign of any slow down. In my view, 2014 is going to be a pivotal year in the transformation of enterprise IT. Here are just a few predictions of what I see happening in enterprise software in 2014.
It’s a flawed approach to believe that a "one size cloud fits all” approach is appropriate, particularly in the enterprise and specifically for cloud storage. According to a survey that will be published in early 2014 by ESG, a leading analyst firm, 97% of IT professionals who have already deployed an online file sharing solution in the cloud are “extremely” or “somewhat interested” in on premise storage options. In 2014 hybrid cloud will emerge as the de facto choice for organizations that don’t want to and can’t afford to treat all applications and information equally.
Mobile consumer apps have trained people to not just want, but demand a great user experience. One victim of this movement will be the death of feature-bloated apps. Instead, there will be a relentless focus from enterprise software vendors on simplicity of design and function. Those companies who fail to embrace this imperative will be left behind.
We’ve heard a lot about the impact of predictive analytics on the enterprise and how they inform data-driven strategies. Now, the next leap in predictive analytics will be user driven. For example, content creation and collaboration will move from simple access and editing to automating of mundane tasks. Imagine you’ve just completed a meeting in which you created an elaborate whiteboard diagram that you want to share with all the meeting attendees. Predictive insights will prompt you to automatically email the photo of the diagram to all the people listed in calendar invite, eliminating time from a simple but low-value process.
In a mobile world, where users work on multiple devices, any time and anywhere, the notion of desktop backup and recovery is not enough. True protection of business-critical files requires that files are backed up the moment they are modified no matter what device is used to perform an update. And if a device is lost, stolen, or malfunctions, a user should be able to pick up any other device and keep working without missing a beat -- and without needing to recover from a backup first.
Congress will be forced to find a solution to the H-1B visa issue that continues to slowly eat away at the long term competitiveness of U.S. tech companies. We need to treat Silicon Valley and other technology centers as growth engines and give them the badly needed talent they require to fuel their innovation.
We need to dramatically increase and diversify the technical talent pool within our country and initiatives such as Code.org, an organization dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education, and Code For America are examples of programs headed in the right direction. The emergence of Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg as high-profile technology leaders will also help drive more girls into technical and business careers, creating a far larger and more diverse technology workforce.
It is not 1999. The tech industry has regained its footing and many ideas and innovations being invested in today are delivering long-term value. That said, there is considerable irrationality in the market as well, with some company’s valuations not being in line with core business fundamentals. For enterprise customers, financial stability and laser-focus on enterprise needs matters in the long term. “Land grabs” can generate a lot of early market hype, but when it comes to enterprise-scale deployments the landscape can change very fast.
What are your predictions for 2014?
Employees are demanding the use of consumer devices for business purposes. But as Terri McClure, ESG Senior Analyst explains in this video it doesn’t matter if it’s a personal or corporate device – it’s just too easy to download multiple business apps and load them with confidential business data.
Terri calls this Rogue IT.
One area this is happening most often is with Online File Sharing and Collaboration applications where employees use free consumer apps and fill them up with company data. A recent study from ESG, found that 70% of IT professionals know or suspect rogue usage. This worrying new trend poses numerous risks.
To learn more, watch Terri McClure as she discusses IT trends and insights and offers solutions for how IT organizations can combat this growing trend that puts companies in jeopardy.
Conventional wisdom holds that the consumerization of IT is going to take over virtually every market and that the entrenched enterprise vendors are in big trouble. This is no more apparent than in file sync and share where it is suggested that the new kids on the block are going to own the market at the expense of the establishment and that the needs of end users will trump those of enterprise IT.
However, as someone who is in the trenches of this market every day, it is obvious that this is an overly simplistic view and ignores a number of truisms of enterprise user and IT requirements that aren’t going away.
Our view is that strategic and trusted enterprise technology vendors not only have a role in the future of end user computing, but that their customers are asking that we help drive this transformation for them. This takes innovation and risk-taking, but before I expand on that, a little background.
Reports of Enterprise IT's Death Greatly Exaggerated
Some vendors in this market are trying to be all things to all people, pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach. This assumes that users will simply adopt what they want and IT will be helpless to reverse the trend. In reality, enterprise IT is alive, well, and very much aware of what is occurring in the file sync and share market. And they are increasingly controlling the selection and usage of the services, which cannot be defined in singular or generic terms. Consumers, SMBs and enterprises have different requirements and success requires focus— it is practically impossible to serve the needs of all of these markets in the long term. In fact, end users have greatly different requirements – the needs of an individual that wants to share photos is very different from one who is sharing business-critical files.
The enterprise might be the trickiest market to solve because you are essentially going after two audiences – end users and IT - whose needs seem to always be in diametric opposition to each other. To succeed, you need to achieve a critical balance.
1. To be considered for enterprise deployments, you MUST have the blessing of IT.As the gatekeepers of technology deployments, they are never going to evaluate and bless solutions that touch a company’s most important asset – its information - without thorough compliance and security testing.
2. Getting 25 users in a small department in a Fortune 100 company to use your solution does not make you an enterprise solution or even make it easier to become the standard in a large company. The iPhone didn’t become an accepted enterprise device until it satisfied IT’s security concerns with email.
3. That said, enterprise IT knows that it needs to adapt and evolve. Users must love the enterprise file sync and share solution and have it become part of their work routine. If your IT department blesses the solution and no one uses it, then you have wasted your time and resources.
Disrupt But Don’t Break
While enterprise file sync and share has emerged as a critical service, for it to be embraced in the enterprise, it must disrupt old, inefficient ways of doing business, but not break either your IT infrastructure or your employees’ work habits.
1. Frictionless user experiences trump feature bloat. You cannot change the way people normally send, access, edit and save files – from any device on which they are working. File sync and share has to be an easy extension of what they are already doing on their laptop, tablet or smartphone, not a completely new paradigm.
2. Enterprises have spent billions of dollars on SharePoint, file servers, and other technologies to store content. Enterprises won’t solve the “silo problem” by spending billions more creating a new silo and assuming their customers will move everything there. That approach is the reason why we have so many silos to begin with! Any new solution must be an easy overlay to your existing systems – IT departments will not rip out and replace their existing investments.
3. Enterprises have an enormous IT and legal risk in meeting regulatory and security compliance. You must be able to support the compliance, data residency and security policies of the enterprise—and that means giving IT the flexibility to work within the existing security and compliance infrastructure they’ve already established. Do not force a new one on them. If you do, strike the word enterprise out of your product name.
With these rules in mind, how do existing enterprise vendors lead the way? Simply put, to avoid being disrupted they need to be willing to drive the disruption themselves. While clearly a consumer example, Apple did just that by releasing iTunes on the iPhone even though they had a significant franchise with the iPod. And it worked.
For file sync and share market, disruption means providing your customers flexibility. It means supporting and integrating with a wide range of cloud-based and on premise storage solutions. It means adopting business practices that are very different from the traditional enterprise technology approach, such as deploying key services in the cloud to maintain a high pace of innovation, pricing on a consumption model to better align with customer adoption, and making an inordinate investment in mobile apps and the end user experience.
For those of us who have been and remain completely focused on the enterprise, this is a very exciting time. We are demonstrating that IT gets what they need and can serve the needs of the business user. The result: the incumbents have a legitimate chance to drive the disruption in the market.
Although SaaS companies like Netsuite and Salesforce.com have been around awhile, the market is still in the early stages of delivering software as a service to enterprises. There are two schools of thought on this.
One common mindset is that enterprise IT organizations will eventually have to move in the direction of SaaS as users dictate how software gets consumed.
Another view is that consumer-originated SaaS companies have the user interface down, but don't understand the enterprise. And that large enterprises will never accept this model.
I believe reality is somewhere between. The challenge will be giving enterprise users consumer-grade ease of use with enterprise-grade security and compliance.
At Syncplicity by Axway we have formulated three ways vendors can successfully offer highly usable—in fact beautiful—applications for the enterprise with zero compromise.
Everyone knows it’s important to delight the user. When you build a great app, user engagement will be high and measurable.
At Syncplicity by Axway, these are our guiding principles for driving usage through design:
The best enterprise apps provide security and compliance without over-burdening the user. Sometimes, they can even enhance the experience.
The Syncplicity by Axway approach:
The proliferation of consumer tools in the enterprise has convinced some in IT that they don’t need to focus on deployment anymore. That may be true at the individual, team, or even departmental level. But enterprise vendors need to focus on “deployment at scale” as much as on user features. Here are our recommendations:
The age of delivering consumer-grade experiences within enterprise-grade apps is a relatively new phenomenon, and I expect these rules will keep evolving. But the trend is here to stay. The way we design, build, and deploy enterprise apps has been permanently, and positively, transformed forever. And that’s a great thing for users, IT, and vendors alike!
We're excited to be positioned as a “Leader” by Forrester Research, Inc. in its July 2013 report, “The Forrester Wave™: File Sync and Share Platforms, Q3 2013!”
Forrester evaluated 16 of the most significant file sync and share providers across 26 criteria and recognized Syncplicity by Axway as a leader for its strong offering and solid strategy for success, receiving the highest overall score in content analytics and the highest score possible in security model, administration, mobile strategy and sales staff, among other categories.
Forrester also states that EMC has created a strong offering by combining its global sales and service capacity with Syncplicity by Axway’s capabilities. Forrester highlighted several strengths including security and deployment flexibility saying “Syncplicity by Axway is a fit for organizations that require very tight control over content location — cloud versus on-premises — as well as fine-grained controls over the content itself.”
According to the report, “EMC has done a good job of driving integration between Syncplicity by Axway and the existing Documentum portfolio with content and workflow integration. So organizations with significant investments in EMC’s enterprise content management system or EMC’s storage products should give Syncplicity by Axway a hard look.”
But this report is also exciting for two very important things we took away from it about the market:
It’s a great time for business users. Vendors are rising to the challenge of providing users new ways to access their files, share with colleagues and collaborate without compromising convenience for compliance. The simplicity and beautiful user experiences we are used to in consumer-oriented apps are finding their way into IT-approved business applications. This enables companies to allow users better access to their files, and more freedom to work the way they want to than ever before.
It’s a great time for enterprise IT professionals. It is frustrating to know of ways to help users be more productive, but not be able to help them in ways that meet your organization’s security and compliance requirements. It’s even more frustrating to watch users go around you to get what they want — putting company content at risk, and even neutralizing many of systems you put in place in the past to protect files. The Forrester Wave demonstrates to us how far the market has come in understanding this issue, and finally giving IT ways to give their users the access they need to all their files, no matter where the files live and where they go, without losing control and visibility.
In our opinion, our position in the Forrester report reflects well on the massive rate of innovation and product delivery from the Syncplicity by Axway program during the last year.
Of course, that momentum will continue as we accelerate the pace of innovation, and remain passionate about serving the needs of both the end user and IT.
If you want to read more, be sure to download the report here!
We love the speed and fluidity of the Windows 8 New UI and have taken full advantage of it with the new Syncplicity by Axway app for Windows 8 devices. Now, you can add Microsoft Surface and all other Windows 8 devices to your supported device list for enterprise file sync and sharing with confidence.
A New Home Page on Microsoft Surface
Get acquainted with the Syncplicity by Axway mobile app for Windows 8 from our new, optimized home page. We make it easier than ever to share a file, access updated files, check storage, and find favorites from your Syncplicity by Axway home page. Use the Share charm to instantly share a file using Syncplicity by Axway. Like our app for Windows Phone 8, we’ve added optional pin code access for extra security on your device.
Built for the Enterprise
Yes, our apps are easy and fun to use. But, make no mistake, they are enterprise grade through and through. Syncplicity by Axway mobile apps support single sign-on (SSO) authentication, mobile security policies, and Syncplicity by Axway IT controls, including remote wipe. IT administrators have complete visibility into what’s shared and what resides on the device. Plus it’s platform agnostic—and runs equally well on x86 or ARM-based devices.
Check out the video for a demonstration of the new Synplicity App for Windows 8!
Download the new Syncplicity by Axway App for Windows 8 today and let us know what you think!
The Syncplicity by Axway Team