Tag Archives: enterprise collaboration

“Businesses need to realize that they need to market themselves to their existing employees far more than to prospective new ones”

Ahead of Future of Work Summit, we caught up with Peter Armstrong and Len Epp, co-founders of Dashcube, Innovation Sponsor of the event. In a fascinating, in-depth discussion, they explore their perspectives on the future workplace and technology, and their experience to date.

Peter Armstrong: At Future of Work, I am most looking forward to hearing the perspectives that different people we talk with have about the future of work. At Dashcube, we have been thinking about this for a long time, and building our thinking about the future of distributed collaboration into the product. We really value conferences such as Future of Work since they give us the chance to get out of the proverbial building and do the customer development process, talking with people and learning more about their business problems and testing our assumptions about what we are doing with our technology.

I believe the Future of Work means that distributed teams are not optional, and the tools and processes which need to evolve to support them can also be applied effectively to teams which have the luxury of being in the same building. I believe the Future of Work will be fantastic, since social forces such as so-called “millennial entitlement” will mean that people won’t settle for bad tools and oppressive processes. Fundamentally, the Future of Work will be about people, and about how better to use technology to connect people and then get out of the way.

Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

Peter Armstrong: My most successful failure was trying to productize the concepts in my first book, Flexible Rails, into a commercial framework. While the framework was technically strong, largely due to the efforts of my cofounder, it failed spectacularly as a commercial product. However, the experience led to the formation of my boutique consultancy, which led to the creation of Leanpub, which led to me working with my old friend Len and to meeting Chris, and to us creating Dashcube together. In terms of lessons, the main lesson it taught me was that doing public-facing things that genuinely try to improve some small subset of the world can lead to totally unexpected successes with people you have never met.

Ovum: What technology would you like to see changing the way we do business in the future?

Peter Armstrong: I would love to see the Apple Watch and its inevitable imitators eliminate the security disaster and overstuffed wallet that is the reality with modern-day credit cards. Len wants it to open doors too, but if it just fixes payments then I’ll be happy. Paying for stuff is a disaster.

Ovum: Describe your ideal working environment 10 years from now?

Len Epp: Regarding wearables, I believe the biggest change in our working environments is that we are going to be using smartwatches as our keys, not just for unlocking doors, but also for unlocking our devices and even our apps. This will have a profound impact on the way every enterprise manages security for its people, physical assets, its IP and its data.  Here’s a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago (before the Apple Watch launch) that goes into some more detail on how watches will become keys (and wallets): https://medium.com/@lenepp/why-smartwatches-should-be-keys-and-wallets-e141facb95ad

Ovum: What in your opinion will be the next big change in the way that we work and the way in which businesses engage with their employees – and specifically the way IT has to service their customers?

Peter Armstrong: Businesses need to realize that they need to market themselves to their existing employees far more than to prospective new ones.  Continue reading

Experimenting with new technology, stretching the limits of what is possible, developing solutions

Martin SadlerMartin Sadler is the Head of IT and Shared Services at Walsall Council. He has led the IT service for 7 years and delivered significant technical projects and cultural change; prior to that he worked for Fujitsu Services in the Retail and Financial services. This gives him a rare perspective of being able to look at the Future of Work through the eyes of a supplier, enterprise and public sector agency. He is a devotee of home grown solutions, open source products and anything that make life simpler or better value. We caught up with him to talk about this, about his role as a public sector IT leader and about his thoughts on the industry.

“My most valuable experience is that some people will only be happy if they have something to complain about”

Firstly, when thinking about the Future of Work Summit, Martin is “most looking forward to hearing more from people who are ahead of the work anywhere curve. I am discussing the move to mobility and smarter working in local government at Future of Work; I believe that I have experiences that others do not need to repeat”.

“My most valuable experience is that some people will only be happy if they have something to complain about. This led to the need to do changes sequentially in order to pinpoint what the real issue is”.

“Respond quickly; have integrity; explain thoroughly”

The complexity of a local council is unique in business terms, and presents a lot of challenges for an IT leader. Martin knows this as well as anyone, affirming that “[a council] has conflicting purposes and more diverse activities than any reasonable organisation would be expected to do”. To manage this challenge, he sets in place clear generic activities: “respond quickly; have integrity; explain thoroughly; with a huge degree of flexibility in how and when services are provided”.

There is currently a big drive towards smarter working within the public sector, with a need for increased efficiency in IT delivery, which, while exciting in many ways, presents a challenge in itself. As Martin puts it, “The diversity and number of legacy systems is a real impediment as is the pace of suppliers to convert their applications to be web based. This is then hampered by the price of providing a hosted solution”. And then, paraphrasing Einstein, “never underestimate the ability of groups of people to do stupid things”.

On a more positive note, we spoke about what Martin’s most rewarding project of his career has been: the Rolling out of Thin Clients across Walsall Council, which he describes as “one of the most exciting things I have achieved. The mix of experimenting with new technology, stretching the limits of what is possible and seeing the staff develop the solutions has been fantastic”.

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What’s Your Work Pattern?

SAP Jam is Silver Sponsor at Future of Work Summit. The SAP Jam solution facilitates collaboration at every level of your business. Here’s what it’s all about.

Enterprises can claim a complimentary pass for Future of Work, by registering here. Take a look at the event agenda with just one click. Ovum has a strong legacy in this area, with many years research experience in enterprise mobility, collaboration, file sync and share, mobile device management and mobile application management. We are continually working with the people and organisations who are seeing the Future of Work become a reality. Moreover, our Future of Work, Mobile First and BYOX events have seen fantastic discussion with the leading lights in this growing industry sector.

Who will be the major players in the workplace of the future? What does future workplace technology look like, and who will make best use of it? Join us to find out.

The Future of Work, according to the Greenpeace Head of IT

Andrew Hatton, Head of IT at Greenpeace, will be participating in an Industry Leaders panel session at Future of Work Summit in London on 25 November, entitled ‘The future of work – What’s all the fuss about?’, alongside Senior Executives from the BBC and Camden Council. View the latest agenda here. We caught up with him to talk about his experience to date, as well as what he considers will shape the Future of Work.

Andrew HattonOvum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?

Andrew Hatton: To Listen. The importance of listening, as part of being an effective manager and leader cannot be overstated.

Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?


  1. To operate as sustainably as possible.
  2. Coming up with truly sustainable solutions to problems can sometimes be harder than it should, whether that’s IT or choosing office equipment.

Ovum: What technology would you like to see changing the way we do business in the future?

AH: All data centres becoming clean and green, so organisations’ online operations become more sustainable.

Ovum: What one thing would you implement tomorrow if you knew you were guaranteed to succeed?

AH: An end to built-in obsolescence in so many of today’s electronic products (e.g. mobile phones, laptops, TVs).

The understanding already exists to make things fixable and upgradeable. But in some cases we are going backwards not forwards (e.g. gluing batteries into products so they can’t be removed is a bad idea). What is lacking is not in the main part technical understanding but the political will, to change things for the better. Groups like Greenpeace and iFixit are working to try and change this.

Ovum: Describe your ideal working environment 10 years from now?

AH: The Greenpeace UK Office, as it is now! (We are lucky, we have a wonderful garden in the centre of London. In Springtime it’s the most amazing place)

Ovum: What has been the most rewarding project you worked on, and why it was rewarding?

AH: Opening one of London’s First Cyber Cafés back in 1995 and experiencing first hand people’s sense of wonder of browsing the web for the very first time.

Ovum: What in your opinion will be the next big change in the way that we work and the way in which businesses engage with their employees – and specifically the way IT has to service their customers?

AH: Green IT 2.0 (I know 2.0 “anything” is now somewhat of a cliché).

But basically I think more and more employees will want to ensure that their organisation is operating sustainably and that will include IT. So, IT needs to make sure that it’s offering those services and devices that are best in class from a Green IT perspective, whether it’s the type of phone being offered or the Cloud service the company uses.

You can view all of the topics to be discussed at Future of Work Summit on the event agenda, and you can discuss these topics and more with Andrew, and all our speakers, by registering today (enterprise end-users can claim a complimentary pass).

Mobile Application Management: the Apperian perspective

Apperian is the Mobile Application Management sponsor at Future of Work Summit. Alan Murray, SVP of Products, has been sharing his thoughts on the enterprise mobility industry, as well as what Mobile Application Management entails. Over to Alan…


1. What is the current state of the enterprise mobility vendors?

2013 saw a number of acquisitions and messaging shifts in the mobility marketplace. Some companies that started as MDM vendors are now expanding their messaging to include MAM and MCM, but most are just a thin veneer of capabilities draped over an MDM platform. These “do-it-all” platforms, in our experience, can’t deliver on the promises made by their marketing departments to their customers. On the other end of the spectrum, pure-play companies specializing in particular aspects of enterprise mobility are allowing organizations to select best-of-breed solutions. Some specialize in security, app reputation analysis or, like Apperian, providing MAM.

2. What trends are you seeing in this space?

The biggest trend we see is the shift from devices to apps. With IT replacing their Blackberry Enterprise Server with any number of commoditized MDM vendors, mobile IT leaders are now looking for transformative ways to use mobility. While IT is no longer panicking over device management, they are starting to realize that trying to use MDM technology to manage and secure apps doesn’t work. When we exhibit at enterprise mobility trade shows, the discussions we have with attendees now, as compared to a year ago, have universally gone from “how do we secure our corporate devices” to “how do we build, manage and secure enterprise apps?”. We no longer find ourselves having to spell out the the acronym “MAM”, although there is still a lot of education needed for organizations to realize that MAM is more than just a private app store and that the real value lies within the management of the app lifecycle.

3. There seems to be confusion on the definition of MAM – Can you help clarify?

The term “MAM” has unfortunately been watered down by many mobile vendors and people in the media to simply mean a private app store. But the App Store is really the “last mile” of enabling a mobile strategy. We have a broader and deeper aspiration for MAM to encompass managing the entire mobile app lifecycle from development to deployment without regard or reliance on a device management infrastructure. MAM is about driving innovation through mobility and ultimately driving adoption of corporate apps.

4. Have you seen any new or unique use cases for MAM?

One reoccurring trend we’ve seen is organizations using Apperian’s MAM solution to facilitate user testing for consumer-facing apps internally. Organizations are able to deploy an app to thousands of internal end-users for testing before it becomes part of a public app store. Through our app policies, an administrator can view statistics through usage tracking to better understand app download and usage behavior, while end-users can provide feedback directly through our app store. Our App Remote Control policy allows an admin to remotely view and control the user interface of an app, therefore providing live support for troubleshooting and ultimately saving time and expenses.

5. How can Apperian help?

Apperian’s cloud-based mobile app management platform helps to secure and manage corporate mobile apps and data in the enterprise. Our solution ensures ongoing compliance with security policies and simplifies managing all stages of the mobile app lifecycle, streamlining the complexity of supporting ever-changing versions of apps, operating systems and devices – whether personal (BYOD) or corporate owned. Through a seamless user experience that doesn’t require intrusive technology on user devices, Apperian powers the world’s leading enterprise app stores for hundreds of thousands of users.

New tools, leap-frogging and BYOD fuel surge in enterprise collaboration

A chat with Simon Farr, BT expert on innovation. BT are Gold Sponsors at Ovum Industry Congress Europe, taking place in Amsterdam on 2nd October.


What’s new in enterprise collaboration?

I think we’ve finally reached an inflection point where companies are moving from dabbling with these technologies to really deploying them.  Everyone has been trying to be as agile as possible to meet economic pressures, and they’re realising that the latest tools for communications and collaborative working are powerful ways to make that happen.  This has been going on for a while, but now the user community is really pushing.  People are using these tools in their everyday lives and if the technology isn’t available officially, they’re going to find a way around the rules.

Who’s setting best practice?

There’s no one standout; different companies are doing different things well.  We see some industries, for example, taking a more aggressive stance than others in adoption of specific tools.  We’ve worked with a lot of banks who are strong, early adopters of video.  Telepresence has been very widespread in FMCG, and now that’s proliferating down to desktops.  Oil and gas companies, we’ve found, are keen on all sorts of collaborative technologies because of their need for expert opinion, fast, in some pretty inaccessible regions.

So what’s holding corporations back?

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