Celebrating more than 4 Billion mobile devices in the world cannot let us stay still in our views of the mobile Internet. It has dramatically changed the consumer behavior but is also making its way in the enterprise. It has many consequences for us marketers, application developers and executives in charge or impacting enterprise information system.
According to a very interesting Morgan Stanley research – The Mobile Internet Report – issued in December 2009, some early signs are attesting of a massive disruption ahead:
- Material wealth creation / destruction should surpass earlier computing cycles. The mobile Internet cycle, the 5th cycle in 50 years, is just starting.
- The mobile Internet is ramping faster than desktop Internet did, and we believe more users may connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within 5 years.
- Five IP-based products / services are growing /converging and providing the underpinnings for dramatic growth in mobile Internet usage – 3G adoption + social networking + video + VoIP + impressive mobile devices
Enterprises in the U.S. are already taking advantage of this revolution to solve business problems and meet goals in reducing time and cost, improving customer experience or including consumers directly in business processes. Information Week states:
“General Motors is looking to a new iPhone application to change how and even where people sell cars. A national chain of rehabilitation facilities sees smartphones combining with cloud computing to improve patient care and employee productivity. A heart hospital is using BlackBerrys for nothing less than real-time alerts of patient distress, including images of bedside monitors. And around Los Angeles County, law enforcement officers are using BlackBerrys for such tasks as taking and searching fingerprints.” in a very interesting recent article.
In the complete research, you’ll find interesting figures about more than 500 businesses such as this one
Get Ready, include mobility in your plans.
Tectonic forces displacing enterprise applications boundaries are very diverse, I don’t pretend to be exhaustive here, but I’d like to highlight the ones having in my opinion a significant impact:
- Ubiquitous good quality (bandwidth) web access – check broadband stats – encouraging employees mobility
- Web crazy expansion (5.5M new users per week, 1.3B Internet users in Dec 2007) and more specifically mobile web expansion (3.2B mobile devices and among them 1.2B with a modern web browsing user experience) and explosive e-commerce growth – check IDC stats : 50% internet users will buy on line this year – favouring extended enterprise process development
- Users are educated at home on web based applications, noticeably on web 2.0 applications (Social Networking, Blogs, Wikis, …) and are increasingly accepting the Cloud Computing model relevance by using it (personal e-mail, Instant messaging, social bookmarking, photo & video sharing, e-banking, ….) – preparing for webtop and web 2.0 introduction in the enterprise (check “moving from deskltop to webtop” post)
- SOA and Mashup emergence as a distributed application architecture
- Transactional processes automation maturity – very typical of the ERP supported ones – will privilege productivity gains and transaction costs reduction (referring to Ronald Coase « The law of the firm ») in automating collaborative processes and exception management, paving the way to ERP/Web 2.0 integration
This nice cocktail augmented with a solid number of “ Y Generation ” employees — born between 1982 and 1994 – having grown with the natural use of SMS, instant messaging and social networking on the Web and which will be enterprise leaders in the next ten years – prepares the company with its change towards Enterprise 2.0 (first defined by Andy McAfee) characterized by the use of the Web 2.0 collaborative applications within the enterprise to harness collective intelligence.
Intelligence seems to take place on the network these days. What about this amazing breaking news of HP acquiring Neoware for $16.25 per share i.e. $214 million announced today. Check out the news.
It strikes me as HP is the leading vendor in PCs and yet they place their bet on a thin client, but a Linux one, as they want to take advantage of virtualization technology. But pay attention to this: Neoware is the third-largest thin client vendor, after Wyse and HP. Wow, if this is not a big bet on the webtop, I should just change job and move to the pharmaceutical industry.
More importantly, it seems that HP was attracted by the mobile thin client computing paradigm as Linuxdevice.com reports:
“During the past year, Neoware has claimed a couple of “firsts” in thin client computing. Its m100 thin client notebook, introduced last October, was touted as the first device aimed at extending the security benefits of network computing to mobile workers. And, in March, it announced a new VDI Edition family of thin clients aimed at virtualized client computing systems. These clients appear to have been instrumental in convincing HP to acquire the company. “
Who still needs a PC?
Learn more about thin client computing, virtualization on wikipedia and listen to this podcast about state of virtualization on eweek.
“Microsoft and IBM executives Wednesday admitted feeling heat from Google now that the Web search giant is trying to make inroads into the enterprise market with its hosted suite of communication and collaboration tools.” says NetworkWorld.
Desktop productivity suites — i.e. Microsoft and Open Office — are beginning to appear as legacy apps for younger internet user generation. If you think about it, up to a few years ago, our desktop was application centric. You’d have to think about what application to use to either create, edit or read information. In this antic time, still valid for conservative users, Office was the place where we’d live on our desktop. Not anymore for Internet centric users, especially 15-24 years old.
Multimedia content, supported with the advent and success of Youtube, flickr, slide.com, and others not to forget podcasts, is paving the way to another information form factor. As a matter of fact, information streams to you via RSS feeds sitting on your desktop via Netvibes personal portal on the web and various widgets. Google apps are starting to give a clear headway towards SaaS collaborative “desktop” productivity applications, not to mention they’ve just completed another step in completeness with Tonic acquisition — a presentation sharing and collaboration solution for Powerpoint slides.
To sum it up, I believe we’ve moved from Desktop to Webtop with several key implication:
- Our digital environment is no more sitting on our PC but on the network,
- Our environment is no longer application centric but user centric i.e. information is flowing your way whatever the application required to exploit it should be. Various alerts are pacing your information day from blogs, information sites, our mailbox and calendar,
- Users are empowered to design their environment, not software vendors!
Webtop is a personalized web hosted desktop that you can use everywhere, from any device, that no software vendor would design for you. This is pure Web 2.0 attitude: users are designing their webtop “app” aggregating various components in an iterative and collaborative way — users recommend widgets and apps to others. Gone the day when software vendors were dictating their view of the world. Folks, we’re in charge again. And webtop already have vendors, check out Goowy.
Microsoft colleagues, can you feel the heat?
31 January was my last day at Sun Microsystems Inc. After a passionate and exciting 4 years journey I’m now headed to new ventures. As many Sun alumni, I miss the people more than anything else.
What stroke me when I joined back in 2003 was the Sun’s bold approach to IT. “The network is the computer” tag line was not just a marketing gimmick, but a genuine belief aimed at changing the way the world would see and appropriate computing forever. The Internet bubble left Sun in a bad shape with a 50% revenue decrease at that time, but the dot com spirit was still there because it was more than just a business opportunity, it was a raison d’etre.
This way of living digital got in my face when I first joined an internal meeting. I saw executives just sliding their employee badge in a Sun Ray, a thin client device, retrieving instantly their environment and the slides they were about to present though miles away from their usual office. Where is their laptop was I thinking to myself? What a strange crowd! Network Computing was a reality and it works great fellow marketers.
I experienced many times Scott McNeally‘s ability, Sun’s CEO at that time, to make unconventional assertion without shaking and against everyone else opinion — that he used to call “conventional wisdom” with despise. What is amazing is that he was very often right. Scott demonstrated a true inspiring leadership during tough years at Sun. Innovation, humor, and resilience were his attributes. He was easy to access to when present on Sun’s campus. Simply human but so smart.
Jonathan Schwartz took over in May 2006. A very bright executive, very passionate. As Sun is achieving its turnaround, Jonathan will have to face a tremendous challenge. He’s more than up to it, he can succeed glamorously. Just one recommendation Jonathan, if I may. Don’t loose sight of Sun’s human capital. I did witness several talented people leaving Sun despite their willingness to stay. It is sad and sends the wrong message. Sun used to be a very good company to work for and attracted the brightest contributors. Good luck to you and good luck to Sun and my ex-colleagues.
As a matter of fact, I get back my freedom of speech and I’m now able to comment on Sun’s strategy independently. I’ll use that. This also set me free to engage with you if you need some help in your projects. Marketing 2.0 can be on your side.