Anywhere, everywhere – anytime, all the time data in motion

I look at the Mac vs. PC commercials, the iPhone vs. Blackberry, laptop vs. netbook and so on and so on and I smile and shake my head. These geeky debates are an equivalent to the music industry debating over CD vs. DVD, when iTunes is on the horizon. This point in computer history where this device I am typing on (previously dis-closed that I use a MacBook Pro predominately), has some importance due to that fact that it is from one company, runs one type of OS and is using a specific company’s app set is coming quickly to an end. The device that will supplant all desktops, laptops, netbooks or what every you use is currently that thing in your pocket, holster or purse that occasional rings, but does so so much more.

Not to get too much into the debate about this from a hardware standpoint, let’s jump right into what will enable this next evolution. It will not be Apple, Microsoft, Open Source or any other name you can think of today. It will be the next Google or Facebook. It will be the company or open source community that delivers full on the promise of ubiquitous computing.

Wikipedia describes Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) as a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.

Also, check out what Marcia Riley says on the matter at –

and Arun Kumar Tripathi here describe it simply as –

Not just laptops
24-hour access to Computer and Internet Infrastructure
Mobility: “any place/any time”
Personal Human/Computer relationship
Comprehensive e-services
Access to quality support

UbiquitousHmmm, the issue there is what is an ‘everyday object’ that is not just a laptop. I can conceive my toothbrush sending information to my dentist about how many times I brush, how well and also daily data about my teeth health. But, what everyday object will tell me about how well the Help Desk is delivering support services, the trend analysis on my storage utilization or which projects are on time and which are being challenged?

That device is your ‘smartphone’, though we will have to rename it hopefully. Regardless, of what you call it that device you carry around will very quickly be the only device you need to access the various applications and data that you need to both manage your business as well as your life. Really the device is less import than the mobile profile you will create and manage that will move from device to device, please by a biometric method so I do not have to worry about passwords.

Let me make this short. If you are looking at your IT strategy and wondering what balance of desktops to laptops you should be purchasing you need to stop yourself and think about this.

  1. How much of your apps will be in the cloud in 2 years? 3? 5?

  2. How much of your staff will benefit from working remote next year? 3 years? 5?

  3. Are there any data files that your staff creates (including draft mode) that you should not be capturing for shared use?

  4. How much of your data files are easily shared today?

  5. Finally, how much longer do you think your ‘smartphone’ will be the ‘other’ device you use for email and applications?

Think long and hard about your answers to your questions and my recommendation would be to start planning now for when the device becomes less important as the network it runs on increasing more important. Those applications that your are paying 15 to 20% maintenance contracts, will they be ready to be run predominately on mobile devices?

Start asking those questions of those big paycheck ERP and associated key module vendors today.

This slow economy has delayed the speed of this change, but not stopped it. Once we get back on our collective feet, this speed of change will increase exponentially.

Our you and your business ready for the type of change like the Internet caused by the mobility push, but in ½ the time?


Core Competencies

Let me warn you ahead of time that this entry will be less than stellar as I am writing it directly into the post, but I missed last week and don’t want to go another week.  Kind of like playing in a foursome and walking up to the first tee box and telling everyone you don’t think you will play well today.  Well, let’s hope I can send this one about 275 yards just down the right of the fairway with no warm up at the range.

In IT and in business you hear the discussion regarding core competencies.  If you are a process manufacturer a core competencies have to be forecasting, planning, inventory control along with the ability implement highly effective manufacturing technologies.  Distributors, service oriented business’s and so on all need to define and than measure their level of competency in the core skills to impact their growth and profitability.

In IT the ‘standard’ core competencies have been IT operations, help desk, software development and project management.  I put standard in quotes because what the hell is standard in IT any longer.  With open source, social media and the need for faster and faster speed to market, standards are in the wind.

In place of standards, an IT organization going forward needs passionate people who can adapt to new roles not on a 5 to 10 year cycle, but in a 3 year cycle.  The skills that are most important today, will be decreasingly less important next year and not a core competency in 3 years.  If you do not like this thought, considering becoming a baker, because IT is no longer about that group that calls itself IT.  IT is about everyone else in the company who uses a Blackberry, iPhone, Gmail, WebEx, Twitter, Skype and so on.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream hires “Ice Cream Flavor Comer-Upper-Wither’s”, not R&D engineers and than uses social media and other tools to get new flavor ideas from everywhere and everyone.  In the world of IT today, information is currency and information must be in motion.  To manage this currency that must continuously flow, we must get the new/best ideas from everywhere and everyone.

With the ideas coming from everywhere, the core competencies will be driven by these ideas from your business.  Sure the web and mobility will be big, but what about business process improvement, business intelligence, telecommunications, business continuity, security and so on.  Listen to your business and they will tell you.

Can’t hear them, well you must tap in to where they are talking.  Be it Twitter, Facebook, or just walk by their desks and see what type of phone they are using.  Survey them asking what are their most popular websites (or grab them off your firewall logs).  Develop a program to constantly update how you can listen to your business people.

For if you do not listen close or hard enough, you may find that your core competencies of IT are what WAS needed, not what IS needed.