May 11, 2011
Monday was yet another announcement-filled day in what seems to be the year that mobile takes center stage for application developers. While the U.S. Congress was grilling Apple and Google executives about their privacy practices, Microsoft was buying Skype, and Google was making a slew of announcements including information about Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android. Mobile strategy is high on everyone’s list: It’s a refrain I hear every week in the client inquires I take. The shift to mobile is big — as big as anything I’ve seen since the early days of client-server. If the arrival rate of my inquires is any indication, it’s bigger than the move to implement SOA and it’s faster than the embrace of open source software. It’s ironic that both have a part to play in incorporating mobile apps into enterprise infrastructure. In some ways, they are key contributors to the perfect storm we’re in now.
But as big as mobile seems now, I’m not sure that IT professionals are thinking big enough. I’ll be moderating a keynote panel at IT Forum with some of Forrester’s best thinkers in the mobile space, and as I’ve been reviewing some of their slides I find that they’re expanding my vision of just how profound the changes we're going through are going to be. These are some of the issues we’ll be discussing:
Frameworks for identifying mobile opportunities. One challenge IT professionals face is grappling with the scope of their mobile opportunities. “What do we do first?” “Do we focus on customers or consumers, employees or partners?” Julie Ask and Ted Schadler have been working with many of our clients to help them systematically think about their opportunities using the Mobile POST framework.
Cool ways that client are pushing the boundaries of mobile technologies. Many companies already have their first iPhone app, but some are already pushing the edges of mobile technology — using mobile devices as “Internet remote controls” or as extended sensor platforms. Others are embedding them deeply in the sales process. I’m looking forward to hearing about these examples that show how IT is using mobile to push BT boundaries.
How early adopters are solving process and technology complications. Bring-your-own devices and new operating systems with platform-specific programming models upset the carefully controlled strategies that most IT shops have in place. You can’t double your development budgets, and your CISO can’t simply ignore the influx of new devices and apps. Ben Gray’s been writing about how best-in-class IT shops are dealing with these challenges while supporting the personal devices users crave. If you’re looking to put an MDM strategy in place, you should take a look at his latest research.
What’s on the horizon? Even bigger changes. The concepts and technologies that we see in the mobile space will change many things we’re comfortable with today. Phones aren’t the only place where power conservation matters, and Julie Ask’s in-process research on the power of mobile context was underscored last week by the iPad tracking flap. And what about app stores? How will they change enterprise software provisioning? Is “mobile first” application design the UX strategy of the future?