I had the opportunity to attend the CITEworld conference on Consumerization of IT here in NYC a few weeks ago. It was a really well run day, and wanted to share a few things I learned. The conference really impacted how I think about the opportunity in the application integration space.
Mobile is bigger than I realized. A lot bigger.
Yet, integration companies are focused on cloud, big data, and even social. Not one is positioning as the “mobile first integration
Companies are deploying mobile and “consumer” devices in a big way. It’s opening up interesting innovation opportunities because it’s enabling employees to have the right information to do their jobs, collaborate in real-time, and get things done more effectively. Their interaction with technology becomes better integrated with their job-behaviors when implemented well.
Think about the mobile inspectors that any retail store uses to inspect stores. In the past, someone would go inspect a store and fill out an inspection report. They’d then go back to the office, enter the report, ask questions, do followup, etc. Now, all the report entering and followup happens while they’re doing the inspection. Inspectors can collaborate (socially) with their peers (who they never see in person) to share best practices. All of this results in much better store consistency, compliance with laws (OSHA or food preparation standards), and faster repairs than otherwise possible.
Another benefit to social collaboration of mobile workers is the ability for activity streams to be shared, searched, and monitored. Management can participate and have a much better clue, at least if they’re willing. I can’t help but think of LIPA and the Red Cross and their response to Sandy. Management thinks their responses have been “nearly flawless“, yet we see people still living on the streets, or living without heat and electricity as winter falls. Fortunately, the news has shared the reality of the situation. Exposing reality vs management’s perceptions is not always that easy, but it is extremely valuable.
I for one am glad that transparency will align accountability to reality.
Think about this a different way. For a long time, there was a focus to capture data around a process at the first touch point. We thought of this in terms of warehouse management, cash registers, order entry – essentially, anything in the “goods supply chain” where data would enhance our ability to maximize the process. We can all agree as to the value of those efforts.
Social collaboration of mobile workers is the same thing as capturing data at the point of entry, but for knowledge workers instead of materials (or supply chain) management.
Here’s the kicker. Seeing what’s happening, hearing the customer stories, I can’t help but think that mobile is actually how social, cloud, big-data, and process are expressed. All these other trends are serving to accelerate the value companies are getting from mobile investments.
Mobile is what makes these other technologies compelling.
The change to mobile is as big as the change from mainframe to PC.
Mobile is the hidden disruptive force in the integration space. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Will one integration vendor step up and claim mobile first integration? What do you think?