By Andy Marken
1973 was a big year for my kids and they weren't even born then.
It marked the beginning of the mobile world they can't live without.
It changed the business of business ... forever.
IBM's Palo Alto Scientific Center introduced a cute big thing called SCAMP (Special Computer APL Machine Portable) which was the forerunner of the portable computer which became the ultralite notebook.
Of course, it probably weighed a freakin' ton, but it was portable.
That was the same year Motorola's Martin Cooper showed off the company's phone brick and made a mobile phone call.
At first, it was cool to walk around the office with your device clutched under your arm and in your hand. Every so often, you had to whip it open and do something–put it to your ear and mumble something, hold it to your fading eyes and read something.
Then iTunes and Google's response came on the scene and you had miniature programs that did stuff –entertained you, challenged you, let you do whatever.
Billions – There are over 100 million apps available around the world that have been downloaded billions of times by consumers and business people alike, all designed to help you improve your work/play on your smartphone and tablet. There are so many, there's almost no room left for you to work.
That cool device you carried around became an integral part of your workday; but you really didn't need or want that silly Black thing for business and a sleek smartphone for other stuff.
Jeezz, your sleek thing could do it all!
So the boss looked at what he was spending on the hodge-podge of equipment to help you do your job and said, "Hey IT, let's get onboard with the young kids we're hiring and let everyone bring their own things. They'll probably be more productive using 'em and face it, it will save us on equipment purchases."
O.K., maybe they didn't say that; but the boss was devious enough to know that since you were mixing pleasure with business, you would also mix business with pleasure.
Device producers were delighted with the idea and started promoting the fact that your device(s) of choice would let you constantly stay in touch with office workers, customers, and business associates, and they would make your work life so much easier.
So how's that working out?
- IDC says the average person in the U.S. has four devices
- By 2020, industry analysts and service providers predict that you'll have nearly 7 connected devices
Get a Truck – The idea of a portable/mobile device caught on faster than even the most optimistic forecaster could have imagined. While kids obviously have the most – they were born connected – adults have also joined the migration and today, there are 4-9 devices for every person around the world.
Being connected 24x7 has become a necessity, not just a nicety.
When IDC came up with the idea of the third platform we suddenly had mobile devices, cloud services, big data/analytics and social business ... everywhere.
Well sure, you used the mobile internet for email but you also used it for accessing portals, checking your social networks/blogs, searching for stuff, news, music, weather, sports news and videos/movies/entertainment.
After all, it's important to be in touch with all that stuff so you can weave the information into your business activities.
Mobile-Ready – While PCs aren't dead, users have been adding to their connected arsenal with smartphones, tablets and ultralite notebooks to stay in touch, improve their efficiency/effectiveness and take advantage of today's third computing platform.
No wonder device and app sales have grown so much and continue to get even better.
Sure, you still have a desktop PC that you look at periodically; but increasingly, it's mobile-first because you're no longer tied to a cubicle and handle things in almost real time.
The mobile device is rapidly becoming the weapon of choice for people who want to make business happen!
First Choice – You may not turn your computer off when you leave the office; but if you forget your favorite mobile device, you will turn around, go back and get it. No self-respecting business person would think of leaving the connectable device alone, unattended, unavailable.
That's right, mobile devices are no longer the exclusive domain of business people who constantly travel or have to work in the field.
According to a recent report by Forrester, 64 percent of us may be tied to a desk somewhere, but the smartphone is where the action is monitored and gets done.
Of course, that created a whole new set of opportunities/challenges for IT people because they had to mesh all of the mobile devices, access, administration/reporting, decision support and security together.
The solution (for the boss) was easy ... move everything to the cloud
Save even more money!
Business Clouds – Every organization around the globe has at least one or more cloud initiatives in place or in the works to shift the cost to the cloud. The biggest challenge is determining whether they should implement private, public or hybrid cloud programs.
BAM!! Everyone started the move and another huge, uncontrolled, barely/badly managed industry was born ... cloud computing/storage.
That sounded like a helluva' good idea.
The company could successfully blur your time between work and home/personal activities.
You get the mobile experience you've almost always enjoyed (even though it's sometimes frustrating and slow).
The company, your boss and your customers know folks are always accessing, always on their mobile device, so mixing a little business with pleasure is NBD as long as people have fast, easy, flexible access to the data and materials they want/need.
All IT has to do is ensure you use and protect the devices appropriately, keep them (and the data) safe and follow the guidelines they establish:
- Help them meet the requirements of regulators and agencies
- Keep the data secure and safe
- Use the established network resources
- Let them manage and support at least the business side of your smartphone, laptop, tablet
- Keep your personal and work information separate
- Use the firewalls, VPNs (virtual private network) they build and manage to protect us from "them"
- Let them train you to use the ecosystem properly
Departments, teams and individuals want their own IT infrastructure that flies below the CIO's radar ... you know, that shadow IT thing you have going on!
So even though they're responsible for corralling and managing your business stuff, they don't have a lot of visibility/control.
They are blindsided (but still responsible) because:
- Professionally, they have no idea who's doing what, where, how, with/to whom
- Your team and you choose the systems, environment, people you want to work with
- Intrusions and leaks get easier because no one but you knows what is where
- Face it, your job isn't IT, it's sales, marketing, HR, accounting, engineering, design, being boss
How much could it really cost the company when there are so many cheap/free cloud storage offerings?
Just take a look at TechCrunch, Venture Beat, you name it and read about how they're investing in storage, more apps, security guards.
What could go wrong?
Personal Cloud – In today's growing IoE (internet of everything), it's pretty difficult for an individual not to use the cloud during an average day. Despite the issues, problems and challenges, people are becoming more comfortable in storing vital (often irreplaceable) stuff in one or more clouds.
Oh sure, you've read the horror stories about stolen identity, lost/misplaced records and cloud services closing their doors; but those kinds of things only happen to the other guy.
You're not Joe btfsplk!
You have your BYOC (bring your own cloud) that works perfectly with your BYOD (bring your own device) that you use with your BYOS (bring your own stuff)!
You'll just take advantage of those mouthwatering cloud storage offers and let those cloud folks lose a little on everyone they sign up and make their profit on volume.
Besides, now that they have you onboard with your photos, music, videos, business presentations, proposals, product ideas/plans, they can show your company that since they're managing millions of individual accounts they can easily handle your boss' business storage/sharing needs.
It's the way of business after all ... consumerizing IT.
All they have to do is convince your management to pay for what you've been using for free.
Business Tools – Light and powerful laptops, tablets and smartphones have quickly moved from "nice to have" to "have to have" in today's fast-moving, rapidly changing business environment.
So march into the boss's office tomorrow and show her/him how diligent you've been in getting your work done, saving buckets of money and protecting all of her/his records, files, data and content.
Better yet, send the boss an email from your smartphone and give 'em a link to all the corporate data you have spread around the cloud.
Who knew there was a Heartbleed bug that people could exploit...hey wasn't your fault!
Who knows he/she might be delighted you were so quick to recognize the benefits of BYOC.
Beside all of his/her documents/data are taking up your precious photo/video cloud space.