Hi everyone! My name is Jonathan Stark and I ’ m here today to talk about the prosumer impact on business. Quick background on me... I ’ ve been doing application strategy, design, and development for the past 10 years or so. I ’ ve written 2 books for O ’ Reilly about building native web apps for mobile devices (iPhone and Android), and I ’ ve been the maintainer of the jQTouch open source mobile web development library. You may also know me as the guy behind a mobile payments experiment called Jonathan ’ s Card, where I posted a screen shot of my Starbucks card online and invited the entire internet to get or give a free coffee using it. Early this year (2011) I joined a Boston-based mobile consulting firm called Mobiquity as the VP of Application Architecture and in that capacity I ’ ve gotten an unprecedented view into the state of mobile in across a wide range of large and successful organizations. In the course of this work, some obvious patterns have emerged, which are what I ’ d like to share with you today.
The mobile computing market is growing like crazy.
No matter how you measure it - hardware sales, search traffic, smartphone penetration, data usage, cellular subscriptions - everything is on the rise. Based on comScore 2010 Mobile Year in Review: http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2011/2010_Mobile_Year_in_Review
It seems inevitable that mobile will overtake the desktop as our primary computing platform. (Based on Sony Ericsson estimates) http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/09/ericsson-estimates-5-billion-mobile-subscriptions-worldwide-growing-fast/
The convergence of cloud computing, ubiquitous network access, and inexpensive smartphones is going to have far reaching effects on every aspect of society. For the IT leader, this new wave of technology presents amazing opportunity, but also a significant challenges. Mobile requires new thinking about how data is accessed and presented, how applications are architected, and what tools should be used.
I want to start by identifying some of the main properties of mobile computing in an enterprise environment. I ’ ll touch on several high level points and then drill into each in more depth throughout the talk.
Robust: People have come to expect “ real time, all the time ” access to their data and if they don ’ t get it, they ’ ll go somewhere else. Scalable: Enterprise apps need to be able to respond to potentially huge usage spikes caused by anything from a mention in the mainstream media, to an unusually successful marketing promotion. Flexible: Apps need to be built in a way that allows IT to respond to unpredictable demands. Extensible: Enterprise apps need to be able to grow with the business without too much worry about backwards compatibility or interoperability issues. Similar to flexibility, but more strategic than tactical. Secure: An enterprise level security breach can be catastrophic to the business (just ask Sony). Sensitive data needs to be secure of course, but additionally, the business has to ensure that their applications are in compliance with any industry or governmental restrictions and regulations (e.g., healthcare, financial services). Measurable: Enterprise apps should be goal oriented, and progress toward these goals needs to be measured both for ROI (e.g., analytics, conversions) and iterative improvements (e.g., usage statistics, a/b testing).
B2C: Kindle Reader, B2E: Internal HR or employee scheduling, B2B2C: Medical manufacturing company providing a tablet-based sales materials app to independent affiliates.
Prosumer has different meanings in different contexts (e.g., producer/consumer, professional/consumer). In the context of this talk, “ prosumers “ mean a users who is have become used to the power and elegance of mobile computing in their personal lives, and are demanding the same experience at work.
Consumers have rapidly become used to the power and elegance of mobile computing in their personal lives, and are demanding the same experience at work.
Platform & Device Fragmentation - The matrix of platform and device combinations is an order of magnitude worse than anything we ever had to deal with during the worst of the browser wars. App Distribution - How do you get your app to your users? How do you make sure they are running the correct version of your app? Security & Compliance - The “ real time, all the time ” expectation created by mobile demands access to systems that were previously off limits outside the corporate firewall. Management needs to decide how much risk the business can tolerate and work with IT to implement an appropriate security policy for mobile. Legacy Systems - More often than not, backend architecture that was fine for desktop applications doesn ’ t cut it for mobile. Data silos, nightly batch operations, and “ fat-client ” application are unlikely to deliver an experience that surprises and delights mobile users.
Whether it ’ s customers, employees, or affiliates, large organizations need to reach lots and lots of people. This demands that they be platform agnostic. B2C - You can ’ t control what devices your customer own. B2E - Consumerization of IT is real. BYOD policies are becoming more common. The question is, how do you deal with the fragmentation issue?
Each platform have it ’ s own tools, frameworks, languages, and capabilities. Plus, we have to worry about distribution options, approval criteria, content restrictions, and so on.
Even Apple has fragmentation issues.
PhoneGap support matrix http://www.phonegap.com/about/features
Native vs pure web app running in a browser
Native vs web app running locally on device
I ’ m no security guru, but I ’ ve worked with enough enterprise clients to know what the considerations are. Basically, it all boils down to risk tolerance.
There are 3 main S&C considerations.
Ultimately, businesses need to strike a balance between convenience and security. To do so, management must define the tolerance for risk, set an appropriate security policy based on this tolerance, and work with IT and third party vendors to implement the security policy. This can take a very long time to get worked out, so it is important to begin S&C discussions as soon as possible.
Here ’ s where we get behind the front-end clients and into the 80% of the iceberg that is below the waterline.
Enterprises have LOTS of existing systems. They typically never had to talk to each other previous to mobile because end-user expectations were lower. Example: Customer wants a shirt from J. Crew ... (marketing product db, retail inventory, operations, supply chain, shipping, ecommerce, loyalty, etc.) P.S. Politics rears it ’ s ugly head - SVP of Retail doesn ’ t want to lose in-store sales to SVP of .com
Over time, you ’ re going to have to support all sorts of different client apps based on devices, platforms, audiences, versions, and so on. The business is going to place ever increasing demands on IT to deliver more, faster. The only reasonable way to manage this is to expose data and business logic through a centralized app server that provides a web service API for front end developers and connects to legacy and 3rd party systems using source adaptors on the backend. This is not - I repeat not - an easy thing to do for reasons both technical and political. However, failure to do so will mark the beginning of the end for the business. Full stop.
I will leave you with this quote from the authors of the best seller Wikinomics. http://www.amazon.com/Macrowikinomics-Rebooting-Business-Don-Tapscott/dp/1591843561/
Enterprise Mobile: The Prosumer Impact on Business
“ Many of the institutions that have served us well for decades or centuries seem stuck in the past and unable to move forward. And yet, in every corner of the globe, a powerful new model of economic and social innovation is sweeping across all sectors-one where people with drive, passion, and expertise take advantage of new Web-based tools to get more involved in making the world more prosperous, just, and sustainable. ”
- From Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams