The way we work, the way we access information and the devices we use to do this are changing. And fast. As recently as a few years ago, a large portion of the technology using workforce (i.e. anyone that used a computer of some sort to get their job done) were chained to a desk with a desktop. Laptops were common, and as prices dropped and they become on-par with their desktop equivalents, became the desired choice, even if the user was largely working in a static location.
Fast forward a few years and now we are entering the age of touch and genuine mobility (as in, really can work anywhere due to the proliferation of Wi-Fi networks, and the rapid increase in speeds of cellular data). With this change comes different form factors for devices, and a requirement for different interfaces that are designed for touch and this mobile workforce. Lets face it, we’ve gone past the point where we are happy to lug a laptop around and wait for it to resume from hibernation. We want thin, light and instant on. Oh and still super-fast with epic battery life.
So looking ahead, and assuming we all have these thin and light devices, which turn on instantly, are incredibly fast and have batteries that easily last through the day no matter how much we pound them with heavy interactive use, what does this mean for the applications that will run on these devices and the services they will connect to for the delivery of information and the enforcement of corporate data policies and mundane things like security and identity verification. (yep, just because we’re in this amazing, visually awesome and deeply connected and interactive world, base level stuff still needs to be done ).
Lets break this down into some bite sized chunks and explore these in a series of posts.
- The devices – how do they get provisioned (and do they?), how do we manage them whether they are provisioned or supplied by the end user (i.e. BYOD) and what happens when things go bad (like they get lost or stolen)?
- The applications – now that we are touch driven, traditional desktop applications will not suffice (or they will drive the user nuts), the apps needs to be able to function with changing network conditions (such as moving from Wi-Fi to cellular to disconnected) and they need to bring context (see next point)
- The users – the way we work is changing. When we were chained to a desktop, the world was fairly static, information was stored in known locations and users worked the way the systems were constructed. In this new world of app stores, socially connected users, genuine mobility, disparate devices and BYOD, there is an expectation that our professional lives are an extension of our personal lives, not some completely different thing.
- The services – these modern applications are built to drive a user experience and deliver information to the user, the powerhouses in this world are the services, where the grunt work is done, crunching numbers, working with the data, with the devices focused on providing the mechanism by which the user consumes the information. This new model provides an incredible opportunity for better integration and consistency, with the backend being architected for this in a central way and all updating is done here, which should lead to a more robust experience for the user.
This change that is described above, it’s already under way. The herd is migrating, and you can see how the industry is moving this way in the investments being made on each of the 4 areas above.
In the next 4 posts, I’m going to explore each of these are work through what we are doing to deliver on the promise this new world offers.
As always, feedback is good