No one doubts that the trend to use personal mobile devices at work is here to stay. It is expected that 350 smartphones will be in use in the workplace by 2016 with 200 million of them user owned. The iPad, announced just 2 years ago, can already be found in 94 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. According to IDC, by 2015 more end users will access the Internet through a mobile device than from a PC.
It is therefore important that any enterprise collaboration solution should have equal support for all the major device platforms with the solution vendor having a strong mutually supportive relationship with all the OS and device vendors. A major issue with Microsoft's Unified Communications strategy is that they compete with the other BYOD Vendors. Microsoft's interest in support for iOS and Android does not mean that a strong mutual partnership with Apple and Google exists—especially with Microsoft’s launch of the Surface tablet, which competes head on with the Apple iPad and Google Nexus.
Microsoft's Collaboration Strategy is to be “First and Best on Windows” so although Microsoft states an interest in expanding OS support for its applications to iOS and Android, it is important to place that in the perspective of Microsoft’s overall strategy as a supplier of a competing client operating system. To quote Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: “We always want Skype to be first and best on Windows”
It seems Microsoft's ideal world is still one where users bring a Windows device of their choice (“BYOWD”) to work. And that is not the same thing as offering genuine customer choice of platform and device implied by “BYOD”. By contrast, there is no such conflict with Cisco’s approach as they neither produce nor sell smartphones or tablets (with the demise of Cius). As a result, fewer competing corporate objectives interfere with Cisco's ability to work with vendors that market these products. Cisco works closely with Apple to develop a variety of products that integrate with the Apple iOS operating system, including WebEx, Jabber and AnyConnect applications.
More than 3 million Cisco Collaboration applications (including WebEx, Jabber, and Any Connect) have been downloaded from Apple, Google, and Blackberry application stores. Cisco remain committed to an “any device, anytime, anywhere” strategy that fully supports a multiclient BYOD environment, including the Microsoft Windows client platform. Unifi believe a collaboration vendor’s degree of commitment to other platforms is an important consideration. Given Microsoft’s “Windows First and Best” strategy, what are the assurances of continued up-to-date support for new releases and technical assistance for non-Windows versions?
Unifi's recommendation is to ensure your collaboration vendor is committed to supporting all leading BYOD platforms equitably, with no conflicting agendas.