There’s no denying it – our world is becoming more and more mobile and this is placing more demands on our IT organization. According to Chris Tengwall, CEO of LRW, a company that specializes in secure wireless solutions, “Collaboration makes sense only if you can access people, and today people are on the road.” Deciding how an organization is going to collaborate in a mobile world then becomes a key question. When you consider your enterprise today, you must include mobile devices in your architecture. How are you going to serve your applications securely to your mobile users? Providing services to mobile devices places a significant demand on IT resources. The following are some guidelines to consider when deploying collaborative technologies to mobile devices.
Screen real estate becomes even more important when you have employees doing work remotely on netbooks, tablets, or smartphones. Only so much space is available on a screen, and even less space on a mobile device, so choosing the collaborative capabilities that are best suited for a particular application, without overloading it, is important. If adding collaboration capabilities limits the amount of screen real estate for the components of the application required for employees to perform their work, users will leave the collaborative capabilities to perform their work tasks. Instead, the end goal is to marry the collaborative technologies with the applications.
As more users work from secure mobile devices, you need collaboration services that are accessible from both their desktops and their mobile devices. In addition, the user interfaces for the mobile devices must allow users to have collaboration at their fingertips without interfering with the functionality of their other tools. You must ensure that your enterprise applications will work intuitively on the many devices employees use and that they will be able to work from them as if they were in the office.
Finally, the collaborative technology should indicate device and bandwidth limitations. Although the latest mobile technologies have increased bandwidth, they are still not at the 100 MB or 1GB network speeds at the desktop. Nor is the processing power of these mobile devices. Because of this, the collaborative technology should report to end users whenever users are using these devices to properly throttle the use of these resources.
Whether you’re using a cell phone, a tablet, or a computer device, collaboration should be an extension of the primary work at hand. It should be readily available, but it should never overshadow the main task. Instead, it should make performing the main task easier for users. By selecting which capabilities are appropriate and where they are appropriate, you can be sure that collaboration will fit into your employees’ daily tasks seamlessly and unobtrusively.