For enterprise to gain access to the real advantage of the next-generation of end-user computing, it will not only need to rethink how these devices are employed to transform business transactions, but also how it must transform to enable the next generation mobile enterprise. I often hear people talking about “mobilizing applications” and I picture them paving the same road by simply doing a literal translation of their current IT onto mobile devices. It makes me cringe because applications should not be “mobilized”; transactions should be “mobilized”.
New Devices with New Capabilities
These new computing devices are fundamentally different and they provide entirely new capabilities. Capabilities such as context-aware computing, including location-awareness, multi-media interaction models, ubiquitous connectivity, augmented reality (Aurasma demo for U.S.Postal Service at CES), pervasive video/audio, environment/sensor interaction, can create richer, situational-aware apps. They can provide a computing experience that will enable a level of effectiveness that the world has not seen and that will provide real business and mission benefits. A good friend of mine always says that mobility as an interaction model has the ‘Power of While’. In other words, it has the ability to deliver goods or services more effectively while still reducing costs. This is done through boosting greater efficiency and engagement, enhancing situational awareness that leads to improved decision making, putting transactions at my beck and call, and re-imaging processes to operate seamlessly in deeply integrated and highly immersive new ways.
‘New Style of IT’ = New DNA for the Enterprise
A perfect analogy is that if today I wanted to change my hair or eye color permanently, I would be required to change my DNA. The same holds true for Enterprise IT and the transformation it must undergo in making the mobile enterprise a reality. The transformation has to be done at the core of any organization’s IT strategy going forward. An existing IT landscape cannot power the next generation mobile enterprise as the end devices that consume these applications, processes, and transactions have fundamentally changed.
As HP CEO Meg Whitman recently stated, ”When these types of tectonic shifts occur, everything changes’”. The sooner people come to terms with that reality and what it means for the enterprise, the sooner they are able to harness the true power of these platforms and change the way users interact with content and its dissemination to the users.
While people have largely cracked the code to enable the existing pillars of IT, such as email, files, print, and the Internet, there has been little to no progress in opening up and accessing existing enterprise data. It largely remains stalwart in the existing silos and that is the fundamental underlying problem: the data is what the users want.
Don’t Forget to Put the ‘You’ Back in ‘User’
As end-computing devices have changed, so have the users and their expectations around the computing experience. By almost all accounts, most enterprise IT apps are rudimentary and unable to compare to consumer apps. Users want the same level of user experience that they enjoy with commercial apps from their Enterprise IT. This user experience comprises aesthetics coupled with context, business process transformation, and increased performance and availability.
‘Users need to feel compelled to use your app, and if they don’t they will just move on…’ – Genefa Murphy, HP Software User Experience Leader
Enterprises have an opportunity to transform how they engage with customers and provide the same level of digital experience as consumer apps do, but only if they take on a fresh perspective and build these projects properly – outside in. Genefa Murphy, HP Software User Experience Leader, states that “Users need to feel compelled to use your app, and if they don’t they will move on to the next best option.”
Making applications that are useful, usable and desirable and, understanding the needs/desires/motivations of your users will go a long way in engaging your user population and provide real value to them. If your mobility strategy is not about moving the adoption curve, you have failed. Realizing real business benefits from these next-gen platforms assumes that people will actually use the system. But you can sleep easy – most ERP systems have a lower-than 35% adoption rate so the bar is currently set pretty low.
IT is the Engine that will Drive Transformation
Forward leaning enterprises need to re-invent and re-imagine not only the IT landscape, but the processes/policies that are at their core to fundamentally shift how they deliver IT to their customers. IT leaders have the opportunity to be at the forefront and be the catalysts – providing the bold leadership needed to re-align their organizations and drive this important transformation.