Today major news outlets carried a story (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304066504576343613260587314.html) around innovation in mobile payments and how major players including Google have made their moves to claim their stake in this new “smarter planet” – a planet populated with smart consumers using smart devices !!
As these new gadgets penetrate our lives deeper, and as consumers start using it for everything from getting directions to shopping and now paying for these items right from their smart phones …. organizations will have no choice but to respond. We are already beginning to see this shift in the market-place where a large number of companies are now moving in a reactive mode to jump-start their own mobile initiatives – they look around and notice that competitors are already launching smart web fronts for their customers, partners and employees…. their consumers and business users are craving for enterprise system access & improved user experience on smart devices … and IT departments have slowly began to respond.
We are seeing early signs of what we believe will be a simultaneous march of these new and existing applications to the smart world of smart devices. A large number of web solutions that we have all built over the last fifteen plus years will have to be re-purposed to fit the new smart phone world. Within the IBM and Streebo labs we call this massive upcoming transition the “March of the Penguins”
We believe, that a large number of them are now in motion….. it feels close to a tipping point ….
What we also believe, is that current manual approach of designing and building applications and trying to fork your existing code to support these large number of variations on the wide range of devices will make this journey a slow, long drawn out and prohibitively expensive proposition for companies. The other day we were in discussions with an executive that is managing a large number of systems and applications at a Fortune 500 Telecom giant. He painfully recalled, that for every feature his business is requesting today on browser or mobile, his team today has to manage multiple code bases and separate build processes for different smart device fronts. It takes them weeks and months to push out new functions … the operational and maintenance costs are crushing them. We believe that there is a need to adopt a more automated approach of user interface creation. IT Departments have much to learn from manufacturing and construction industries – the shift towards automation that we are calling for is very similar to what we have already seen in factories from Detroit to Delhi and Chengdu to Chile…. where-in we have assembly lines of CNC machines that produce different variations of cars or other manufactured items…. manual lathe, welding, gas cutting etc is steadily phasing out. The need of the hour is to take a leaf out of the construction world, where pre-fabricated components are the order of the day. You don’t hand-craft the roof or the sink every-time. You assemble pre-built parts and supplies to rapidly roll-out robust, livable and eco-friendly houses.
We have already seen that companies that have adopted a more automated way of application creation using pre-built software components, and more importantly adopt a profiled approach to manage these smart device variations, have yielded tremendous savings. It is exciting to see customers, Streebo and IBM lab engineers take this automated approach to roll out mobile apps that are readily integrated with Camera, GPS etc and leverage features such as Geo Location, Off-line forms, SMS, Fingerprint readers, RFID and such with enterprise applications – every breakthrough… every integration… brings a new dimension to solving new and existing problems…We have observed that these customers have been able to roll out their mobile fronts faster (2X to 3X) and cheaper (50% or less) – Above all, these organizations today are much closer to their end-users. They are giving a one-click access of their “Smart Business Front” to their customers, partners and employees. A one-click access from a device that stays with the end-user almost 24X7.
We all understand here that the opportunity to improve automation of business processes and better collaboration between decision makers and systems is immense – the question is how fast can we lay stake for our customer in the smarter planet? how we can make this “Penguin journey” seamless? How can I give my customer an edge …
.. now back to some more pondering over the long-weekend coffee ….