A few years ago, Accenture released a television commercial illustrating how some changes companies implemented really only gave them a short-term advantage. It’s pretty cool and only thirty seconds long, so you might want to watch it. The video uses frogs leaping over each other to point out that some changes don’t really get you that far ahead. But it also points out that some changes make a huge and lasting difference.
Cloud vs. Mobility
As we get started into 2015, I’m guessing a lot of companies are considering the cloud and mobility to be two huge leapfrog changes. Between the two, I think mobility will leapfrog the cloud – pun intended. So what would that really mean? The answer is - mobility is changing the way work gets done. With cloud-based applications, a user frequently just trades a desktop interface for a browser interface – no new processes, just a different access point. Because mobile solutions are all about limited time and limited screen real estate, well-designed mobile solutions are more tailored to focus on understanding the behavior and context of the user by providing just what is needed when it is needed.
So, for example, a mobile solution might provide information about a particular customer meeting as you approach it, whereas the typical desktop or browser solution would give the user a lot of tools to be able to search for the same information. The search tools are great, but in order to actually be useful, the well-designed mobile solution does some of the work for the user in a proactive way – it becomes an essential productivity assistant. Necessity is the mother of invention, and mobile creates necessities.
Now clearly most cloud solutions have mobile clients. And there’s nothing that prevents adding intelligence to non-mobile applications. But as you look at your business priorities in 2015, I think it’s important to look at where you will get your biggest impact. For many companies, there’s an assumption that moving applications to the cloud is the leapfrog impact. I’m willing to bet that when you dig in to look at your business goals, you will see that mobility is actually the real driver and you may have assumed you needed a cloud-based application to deliver mobility. In other cases, companies embark on a cloud strategy to achieve agility. They want to respond to business changes and deliver new capabilities faster… but the reality of mobile is that companies have to deliver these things faster. User expectations of mobility plus the constantly changing landscape of mobile platforms and capabilities means that mobile solutions must continuously evolve. And when companies are in position to deliver on this constant evolution, they are also in position to deliver on their changing business needs.
Perhaps nothing summarized this better for me than Gartner a piece entitled “The Future of Enterprise Applications is Mobility.” It summarizes a great deal of other Gartner research, but my takeaway is - mobility is a critical need in the enterprise and that pursuing mobility requires effort in strategy, development, and working effectively in business roles. Opportunities that span such a broad range require a real investment, but given what we’ve already seen in terms of powerful mobile use cases in the past year, I’m confident that the payoff is worth the investment. The Accenture advertisement may be a few years old, but the concept is still the same. Sometimes opportunities arise to jump ahead. In 2015, I think enterprise mobility has the opportunity to leapfrog every major technology initiative.
Do you agree? Share your 2015 strategy with me on Twitter - @bkellner