2014 – That was the year that was…

As 2014 draws to a close, this blog focusses the events that shaped the year from a Workplace and Mobile perspective.

It would be fair to say that we’ve seen the impact of the “SMAC stack” (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) dominating the market, not only in terms of the customer agenda, but in the focus and strategy of the major vendors and our partners in this arena.

Nowhere did we see this more than in the Mobile market. Starting in February 2014 with VMWare’s acquisition of Airwatch for a staggering $1.54bn! Vendors competed to enhance their offerings towards more strategic mobile platforms through a number of partnerships and acquisitions. As the MDM market commoditised and these new platforms emerge, perhaps we’re starting to get a real sense of who is going to lead and drive this market in the future.

In that vein, here at Computacenter we have been embracing mobile with our Enterprise Mobility solution. We’ve experienced first-hand both the challenges of managing consumerisation, user expectation and integration of the mobile and non-mobile worlds, to capitalise on the opportunity to enhance the productivity and effectiveness of our mobile staff.

There were many acquisitions this year; Google acquired Nest (the home automation company), Facebook purchased WhatsApp and Apple bought Beats audio as just three examples of multi-billion dollar transactions in 2014. This signifies a battle amongst the biggest names in the industry to integrate, and ultimately dominate, our technology usage across our personal and professional lives.

We can’t fail to mention Microsoft – what a change in approach! In 2014 Office arrived on the iPad, the first major movement towards being a true multi-platform vendor in the future. Office 365 continues to develop significantly and the Enterprise Mobility offerings are maturing quickly – we expect many organisations to be looking seriously at Microsoft’s offerings in 2015!

So that was 2014. What of 2015? With Windows 10 due to land next year, will it drive a major programme of upgrade across enterprise, or will organisations continue to focus on their mobile platforms and retain their Windows 7 estates? And what of wearables? In the year that we’ll see the Apple Watch arrive, and with other devices already available, do we expect any practical business application from these new types of endpoint?

There will many technology driven innovations, again, next year, but the biggest challenges I forsee are in managing the complex environment of multiple endpoint types and platforms.   All these devices need to be managed efficiently and be enabled through content and application delivery frameworks that are platform independent.

The pace of change shows no sign of abating, so the major challenge is keeping up with the need to continually embrace the new world of IT, whilst integrating and managing the “legacy” solutions that still exist.

About Paul Bray

Paul is Computacenter’s Chief Technologist for Digital Workplace @PSBray

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