Today MIT’s Technology Review weighed in on the growing use of mobile devices, which now go far beyond the smartphone, and the ripple effect that this change in IT will produce on current paradigms that still emphasize the role of the IT organization over the users.
Author Chris Dannen writes, “Mobile devices are upending the way enterprise-wide software is being bought and run, shifting decisions from IT departments to the users themselves. This mirrors the pattern of prior sea changes in technology, most notably the PC itself, which was at first heavily resisted by IT departments.”
As applications and devices continue to mount in sheer number and overall complexity and cloud services become a more trusted way for businesses to handle core operations, this shift to the mobile cloud might produce the same level of revolution that once occurred as PCs became ubiquitous on company desks.
Moreover, the types of applications, which for now are generally limited to standard business apps that ease collaborative efforts, might be looking a lot more like the complex applications used to power research and computationally-intensive tasks that have otherwise been handled on in-house machines. Since users can connect using an array of devices to external resources that far outmatch on-site resources, there is no reason why enterprise leaders should take a “wait and see” approach. This is happening—and it’s happening now.
The thrust of Dannen’s article lies in its critique of Microsoft’s slow approach to understanding this fundamental sea change in enterprise IT. While it uses simple web applications and services such as Box.net as examples, in a few years the types of applications that can be accessed by a mobile device could grow to touch core competency borders. Tech companies who are anticipating this rapidly-expanding market are poised for growth, especially as cloud comfort levels grow. Already a number of companies and researchers are using their mobile devices “in the field” to collect and capture data as well as to access simple user interfaces that lead into complex applications.
As more companies take the mobile route, “the disruption will ripple through every part of the software industry…the status quo is always bad for innovation and toppling is a good thing.”