by Thomas J. Cozzolino
As modern enterprises recover from the post-recession spending cuts, IT staffs are being bombarded by pent-up demand from business users intent on adopting mobile capabilities. While this is not surprising, some of trends driving this demand are both far-reaching and challenging to conventional IT thinking. Furthermore, these trends represent the first steps towards profound and far-reaching change. The three trends are as follows:
Move Over, IT: Consumer meets the Enterprise - As the Gartner Group reported in 2010, more and more IT staffs are being pressured to adopt and support their constituents’ consumer devices within the four walls of enterprise IT. Once free to mandate a list of “supported” devices (and reject those that did not meet the standard), IT now must embrace new classes of devices that they may have little (if any) experience with. iPhones and Android devices, iPads and other tablets are no longer “fringe” devices, but instead part of the extended enterprise ecosystem. The challenge for IT is to provide a minimum level of support as well as security to both provide service as well as limit corporate liability and risk.
Key Focus Areas: Lightweight Provisioning, Clarity in Security Policies
Native Apps – Why Bother: The Resurrection of Standards - As Enterprise Architects approach mobile enablement, they may be tempted to fall back on classical thinking and support a base level of devices (i.e., Apple’s iOS version 9.X or greater, Android 2.0 or greater, etc.). Consider, however, the commitment of several global players (including Google, Facebook, and even Microsoft) who seem to be gravitating towards the new HTML5 / CSS standards. Also, products from new players including Sencha and JQTouch enable mobile experiences that are quickly approaching those of “native” applications. In fact, rumors of an HTML5-based Facebook application show both the speed at which these efforts are moving, as well as the importance of device-independent applications.
Key Focus Areas: Enterprise Architecture Governance, Tracking Standards, New Development Approaches.
Not Your Father’s ERP: The Criticality of Social – The explosion of interest and adoption of Social Networks including Facebook, SalesForce Chatter and now Google+ is a clear signal that social and group-based interactions are hugely important factors for Enterprises to consider. Traditional, hard-coded roles and processes are truly giving way to the notion of well-informed individuals and natural teams who can form a group to create, analyze, and accomplish work, and then (re-)associate their knowledge in unexpected ways for the greater good of the enterprise. Furthermore, the high growth in startup companies that are leveraging mobile, location, analytics, and Cloud resources will be both a growth engine for new ideas as well as a continuing source of opportunities for aware CEOs, CIOs, and Enterprise Architects.
Key Focus Areas: Social Incubators, Clarity in Corporate Social Policies, Privacy Concerns
Consumer devices mixed into the enterprise, running standards-based components to enable “business social” interactions: this rate of change truly seems to be at yet another new peak, as the tools and technologies have never been richer or more capable. But more important than this is the simple fact that an enormous number of people (individuals, groups, departments, companies, municipalities, and even countries – witness Egypt and Libya) finally have the tools and skills to independently assemble and harness bits and pieces of the global Internet for their self-directed good. Ubiquitous broadband, capable devices and a measure “platform” and location truly have combined to enable new ways of interaction. It is a fascinating time to both contribute to these new ways, as well as help shape them to meet more of our business and personal goals. We may find that many of our long-held perceptions of what “applications” and “systems” currently are will quickly give way to new interaction models that more close follow the ways we humans prefer to be.
Tags: Enterprise Mobility