A wide ranging and perhaps difficult to pin down area of modern business thinking, enterprise mobility, and more specifically the way that Microsoft South Africa views it, formed the core of a media roundtable recently held at the company's Bryanston-based headquarters.
Heading up talks was Microsoft SA's Anthony Doherty, Windows business group lead. As such, much talk revolved around the impending release of Windows 10, and how the cross-platform, agnostic service and solution plan accompanying the new OS is shaping up to date.
Many of the ideas that Doherty put forth were initially brought to the fore at last week's Enterprise Mobility Forum (EMF). For Doherty, the Forum presented a great opportunity to have meaningful engagements and conversations with ICT business decision makers. "We got great value from the rich conversations we had at last week's event," notes Doherty.
When Microsoft posed the question at EMF, of what the company’s local customers want enterprise mobility to enhance their customer's business, three main ideas arose, according to Doherty. Microsoft's customers want to increase their revenue, strip out any unnecessary costs to make their business more efficient, and improve their level of customer service. Focusing on the latter, he adds that 71% of EMF attendees are now placing greater significance on improving their customer service offerings.
Customer service, Doherty remarked, is one area that local service providers have not paid necessary attention to, at least historically. "It's now interesting to see that Microsoft's customers are viewing mobility as a key enabler for better customer service, as opposed to simply being used to mobilise the workforce," he notes.
Along with aforementioned concerns, security and identity management are also primary concerns for enterprise mobility solution users. As the discussion carried on, it was clear that the BYOD trend has played a large role in this. Perhaps less profound and easy for businesses to implement than expected or predicted, BYOD now presents a major consideration for both business owners and employees.
For the latter, the financial outlay for their own device ultimately brings up the question of control, and more specifically how many measures companies put in place through MDM (Mobile Device Management) software. Companies too are placed in a tenuous position, as access to datasets must be controlled, as the threat of malware and data theft only rising in recent years. As such, Doherty sees far more conversations between Microsoft SA and its customers taking place around security within enterprise mobility's full potential.
One of the main focal points of the roundtable, which Doherty wanted to hammer home, was that business and IT need to be in greater conversation with one another for the value of enterprise mobility to be unlocked. "A lot of customers are asking 'How do I approach enterprise mobility?'," commented Doherty. He believes that there is a partnership required between business and IT to realise enterprise mobility.
"Our [Microsoft's] guidance for enterprise mobility to be successful, requires business and IT taking the journey together, they need to make the decisions together," says Doherty. He also places an emphasis on business and IT being on the same page as far as the end goal is concerned. "What is the net effect? What is the quantifiable measure that we're going to track?" concludes Doherty.
As far as the next step from that enterprise mobility ideal goes, Doherty points to the upcoming local Build Johannesburg conference. Happening on 12 June, local developers will be shown the full value and potential of the company's latest cross-platform OS. Doherty has confirmed that conversations around Windows 10 with some of Microsoft South Africa's key partners have begun as far back as October last year. Furthermore, several local app and solution developers are working hard with Microsoft's DX (Developer Experience) team to put their offerings on display with Windows 10. Therefore, 12 June is date well worth diarising.