Slouching towards the dark ages of business software?

A recent article appearing on the Forbes online magazine web site (Google Buys Motorola Mobility…And So Begins The Dark Ages) suggests that Google’s gobbling of Motorola Mobility is one more sign that the Microsoft Empire, which has so dominated client computing over the past 20 years, is disintegrating. The “Pax Microsoft” is being done in by barbarians who are aligning their mobile software and hardware strategies to create competing camps with devices and applications that are incompatible. Instead of managing a monolithic device infrastructure dominated by one operating system (Windows), businesses will need to contend with a range that includes Android, iOS, RIM and Symbian, which account for nearly 90% of the mobility market (although that market makeup is also shifting with incredible speed). According to the view put forward by the Forbes article, this will be bad for businesses who rely on software for their operations, and it will be bad for software innovation.

The article argues that although Google claims to be only interested in Motorola’s patent portfolio, it is just a matter of time before they start favoring Motorola devices over all others. This argument ignores that fact that Google’s highly profitable business is based on ad revenue, not hardware and software sales (indeed, the Android operating system software is free). One might further question why Google would shift its attention from its highly profitable ad revenue (which is made possible by Android being on as many different mobile devices from as many different phone manufacturers as possible) to very low margin phone sales. Given Google’s relentless focus on profits, they are not likely to make that kind of trade. In fact, there is considerable incentive for them to keep their new hardware business completely separate from their search and advertising business (at least that’s the theory).

However setting that question aside, is the larger point of the article valid? Will having multiple competing mobile operating systems and devices herald a new “dark ages” for business software development?

Short version? Nope.

The FUD here is that the cost of supporting four or more operating systems will be so expensive that companies will either standardize around one (which risks making them incompatible with their partners or tying their fortunes to technology that could become obsolete), or they will need to support apps across a range of operating systems and be forced to limit their new software investments to small, low-function applications. Either way, innovation is stifled.
This would seem to be a logical conclusion. However it is based on the assumption that the cost of software development remains the same, and building an application to run on four different devices is four times more expensive than building it once. That, however, is not the case. New enterprise application development platforms (like the Sybase Unwired Platform, or SUP) are simplifying mobile application development. By delivering a standards based framework for creating mobile enterprise applications, platforms such as SUP make it easier and less expensive to build rich applications with a native look and feel, while tapping in to the vast ecosystem of web development talent, and at the same time breathe new life into existing server-based business applications. The fact is, the cost of building applications and managing complex device environments is dropping fast, which is one reason there is so much demand for business mobility these days.

It’s hard to predict the future, but here’s another way to look at recent trends in mobility: breaking the Microsoft virtual monopoly on client business systems could be a huge breath of fresh air for the industry.

Frankly, the flood of mobile devices and applications that are coming into the work place, and the efficiencies they are providing to business operations, is looking more like the start of a new golden age rather than an entire industry slouching toward the dark ages. To be successful in this new age, businesses need to adopt a mobility strategy that is device agnostic. Devices are commodities, software is what makes them useful (I mean, nobody buys an iPhone just to make phone calls, right?). Businesses should focus on a mobility strategy that enables them to build software they can easily port to whatever device is most suitable to the task at hand (or if nothing else, the latest shiny object). That way they can take full advantage of the latest commodity hardware while investing in deeper software functionality.

The Googleization of Motorola

Another interesting bit of news hit the wires this morning, with the announcement that Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility for a cool $12.5 billion. The surface level reasoning seems to revolve around Google getting their hands on Motorola’s extensive IP portfolio (17,000+ issued patents, plus another 7000+ pending patents). Since Google “controls” Android as a mobility OS, it’s become embroiled in an endless series of patent disputes with Apple and others of their ilk. Rolling in 17K worth of IP is a nice little ammo upgrade, but this clearly seems like a defensive move on Google’s part.

The far more interesting slant on this, however, is that the acquisition moves Google (with zero ambiguity) directly into the hardware business. So does this mean that the big brains at Google see hardware as a potential growth market? By controlling Android and buying Motorola Mobility, they now enter that exclusive club of companies that not only license an OS, but are also an OEM. This has to be significantly disruptive to their existing ecosystem, how could it not be? The commentary from Android licensees such as Samsung and HTC was polite, but it was likely delivered through gritted teeth.

The real question is how is Google going to keep bias from entering the system? There are over 500,000 Android phones being activated every day, but this blistering activation rate is spread out across 39 manufacturers. Since every OEM does their own little permutation of Android, the end user experience varies widely, which is pretty much the exact opposite of Apples tightly controlled gilded ecosystem. Google will continue to claim an agnostic approach (of course), but for 12.5 billion it is not unreasonable to assume that Motorola will get to cut in line when new shiny objects come out of the Google pipe. Where does this leave the big Android OEMs, specifically Samsung and HTC? It is now highly likely they will give Windows Phone a much finer scrutiny, since Microsoft is now pretty much the only hardware agnostic player left.

From an enterprise mobility perspective this is interesting, but probably won’t have much impact on the transformative drivers for adoption; the devices that are broadly used are limited in terms of the number of suppliers, and we work very closely with all of them. In addition, the contextual framework is becoming very apps centric (and we have a strong story for that as well), and the impact of the acquisition on that is likely to be limited as well.

In-sourcing mobility apps creation

I just spotted an interesting article that says a lot about where mobility is headed in the enterprise; “CEO Jeffrey Immelt Adds Technology Jobs in U.S. as Outsourcing Is Shaved” – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-08/immelt-adds-technology-jobs-in-u-s-as-ge-shaves-outsourcing.html).

The article points out that large companies like GE and GM, which were leaders in outsourcing technology jobs, are now reversing the trend and bringing those jobs back in house. GE is specifically cited as adding 1,100 new IT jobs at technology center near Detroit. What’s driving this change? As Charlene Begley (CIO of GE) tells it, “With iPads and whatever mobile devices people want to use, the need for better user experiences is essential to competitiveness. So we’ve got a team that’s really good at writing user applications that are sexy, impressive, and quick.”

It seems that application development, and particularly the ability to quickly create compelling mobile applications that respond to technology changes and business needs, is becoming a core competency for GE’s competitiveness. Although business mobility is not the focus of the article, it seems to me what GE and others are doing underscores how far mobility has come in a few short years. Just a few years ago we were debating the risks and cost benefits. Now for GE and many others, today’s reality is defined by these points:

• For these companies, mobility is becoming strategically critical inside the enterprise;
• Mobile apps are increasingly driving operations that constitute the enterprise’s unique competitive advantages;
• These companies now see these apps as too critical and proprietary to outsource;
• These companies are putting a premium on quick in-house development of new mobile apps.

These points suggest a trend toward mobility in which companies increasingly rely on mobile applications to manage business critical operations. It also suggests how important it has become for them to be able to rapidly develop new apps to meet business needs. This is actually very consistent with the message we’ve been pushing with the Sybase Unwired Platform, particularly with the announcement in May of the Hybrid Web Container, which expands the mobile app development pool from device –specific talent to web talent for creating rich applications across a variety of mobile devices. This is a great example of market validation of a trend we’ve been working with for several years, and underscores the critical importance of mobility to competitive success.

The continuing application evolution

We’re starting to see increasing clarity in the conceptual framework that is driving the transformational aspects of mobility. I am referring to the strategic arc of mobility that is triggered by the platform and applications components becoming more tightly integrated as adoption across the enabling ecosystem begins to accelerate and mature.

Sybase has always been the dominant presence in mobile device management, but we are quickly evolving towards a more comprehensive model that includes not only management of the device, but the applications that run on the device, including a rapidly expanding suite of mobile applications under development at SAP. The take up of mobility in the enterprise is moving so quickly, that we are now expanding our footprint to go beyond not only managing the device and the applications on it, but to actually provisioning and configuring the applications on the device through Afaria. Why move in this direction?

When you’re downloading a single app to a single device, it is generally not a terribly complex process, even if it’s a business application. The triggering event occurs when IT finds itself having to download dozens of applications to thousands of devices. This is not only an expansion in scale, it is also an expansion in scope. Rather than being a device based application, these applications are intended to access complex back-end data sources, and as such require a non-trivial amount of configuration before they can be used. This is, of course, beyond the abilities of non-technical end users (which is most of us), and before we moved to automate this process, it could take up to 30 minutes to set up one app on one device. What happens when there are 5000 devices that need configuration of a dozen apps? To address this need, we are now including libraries on the device that contain configuration instructions that are specific to the employee and the governance policies that apply to them. But then how do you actually get 5000 copies of an application out at once?

This leads to the next logical evolution that will accelerate the transformation of the enterprise; the rise of the corporate apps store. You can buy applications now for iOS devices through iTunes, you can buy Android apps through the Android store, carriers have their own apps stores, as do the device manufacturers, etc. This is actually fine for the end user as a consumer, since for the most part people have one type of smart phone and one type of tablet. It is not, however, fine from an IT perspective when dealing with the end-user as an employee. IT requires visibility, control, and transparency of use across a broad range of devices, particularly when the applications on the device are used to access high value back-end data sources. The concept of an enterprise specific apps store that recognizes the employee’s mobile information requirements and configuration parameters, offers them exactly what they need, and delivers it effortlessly to the device is the next logical step in the true mobilization of the enterprise.

Another inflection point

Last week SAP hosted a 31 hour code-a-thon referred to as the SAP Mobility InnoJam. The event included 24 developers from 12 customers and partners, all of whom are front and center in moving their companies towards widespread adoption of mobility via the Sybase Unwired Platform. If you want the blow by blow detail, you can get the skinny from Stan Stadelman’s blog, found here. The point I want to make is not about the specific applications that were developed in a matter of hours (not months or weeks—hours), but more importantly, the scope of the participation and what it implies. Participation covered several industries, and included companies such as Nvidia, Hewlett Packard, eBay, Genentech, Intel, Applied Materials as well as several others. This event provided not only breadth of participation across a range of verticals, it was also populated by companies that are dominating their specific industries, and that dominance is about to go turbo.

Why?

The implications of what they just did. Applications development (whether waterfall or agile) is something that is traditionally measured by quarterly-based deliverables (in Q3 we will have this release(s), with these features, etc.). That whole model just got turned on its head by the introduction of the Hybrid Web Container (part of the Sybase Unwired Platform), which was the development framework for the InnoJam.

There are incremental technology improvements, then there are products that create an inflection point for an entire industry. One of the gating factors for mobile application development has been the need for device specific development skill sets. If you want to build apps on an iPhone, you need to know Objective C, as well as xCode. If you also want to develop on an Android device, you need to start completely over in terms of your development skill set. This is an adequate development model, but it puts steep limits on the available talent pool for mobile device development. On the other hand, you have this vast ecosystem of web developers (outnumbering device developers 10 to 1), who have been watching the mobility juggernaut pass them by.

Not anymore.

The core value of the Hybrid Web Container is that it allows web developers to build mobile device applications that look and feel like a “native” application. By using an HTML/ Javascript/CSS “container” architecture, Sybase has brought industry standards to what had previously been a (nearly) proprietary model for apps development. Or put less technically, you can now use web developers to build mobile applications that look and feel like they were built specifically for an iPhone or Android device. Or put even less technically, the potential development pool of programmers who can build mobile apps has just gone up by a factor of 10.

Mobile technology, perhaps more than any other type of technology, is driven by the compelling nature of the application being accessed. As cool as iPhones are, people buy then to get access to the apps, not to make phone calls. The compelling event is the app, not the device. With this new capability, Sybase has not only shortened the development cycle by a huge margin, we’ve also opened the floodgates to a vast increase in mobilized applications, which will in turn drive broader and faster adoption of mobility across the enterprise and their associated supply chains.

Deflecting hackers

There is a lot more noise in the press recently about hacker groups such as Lulzsec and Anonymous breaking into sites such as PBS, the CIA, and most recently the Arizona Department of Public Safety. One of the upsides of this increased noise level is that a lot of companies are talking a longer, harder look at their site security, and one of the offshoots of that is focusing on the potential security risks associated with mobile devices. Why? Because more often than not, websites are being accessed from a mobile device, rather than a fixed point device. So this triggers a couple of unsettling questions. Are mobile devices more susceptible to hacking? Are tablets a more attractive target than smartphones? Is this even an issue, or is this more media hype? If it’s not hype, who’s at risk?

First, this is not hype. While the overall incidence of attacks has not gone up much, the hacker groups are noisier (braggier) so it seems like more is going on. However, in addition, the pattern seems to be expanding to include smartphones and tablets. People have historically understood the need for security on their PC; most of the time some sort of security software is actually included when you buy your PC, and this has been going on long enough that it’s become part of the background noise of the technology landscape. However, people look at their iPhone, or Android device, and see a phone. So here is the problem: those are not phones. Referring to them as smartphones is a misnomer, they are not phones, they are computers that happen to be able to make phone calls, and conveniently fit in your pocket, just like a phone. People are making a huge mistake if they think they don’t need to secure the device in their pocket. This also applied to tablets. Why? Same operating system. There are slight variants between the iOS on an iPhone and an iPad, but its basically the same OS. Same thing with Android devices from manufacturers that offer a range of form factors, smartphones to tablets-all running effectively the same version of Android OS. If you want to exploit a computer, go in through an application (usually assisted by the user clicking on a suspect link), which provides access to the OS, and start hacking away. Same exact process works on a mobile device, the main difference being that the majority of PCs are secured, and the majority of smartphones and tablets are not. Think this will be a problem?

So who is more at risk, the consumer, or the enterprise? It depends on the intention of the hacker. If it a denial of service type of thing, then the enterprise is a tempting target; look at Sony’s month-long spank-a-thon. This is effectively macho posturing by the hackers, who target high profile sites to show their “prowess”. If it’s a straightforward identity theft type of thing, then the devices themselves provide a nice gateway to the goodies normally found in sites accessed by a mobile device, such as on-line banking or Facebook (which is now more frequently accessed by mobile devices than by PCs). Given the strategic arc of access to on-line information resources (6 billion mobile devices in play, and counting), this will become a significant issue, and we would be well served to get ahead of it as quickly as we can. If you are an enterprise, and you provide your employees mobile access to company information resources, you HAVE to secure those devices, and I mean right now. If you are a consumer, it is very much in your interest to talk to your carrier about what options they offer for securing the device. You wouldn’t leave your house or car unlocked, right? And yet, its highly likely that your mobile device, which can provide access to all sorts of things that would be of interest to a hacker, is sitting there, wide open.

A Branier Business

The pervasive trends of mobile computing and data analytics are rapidly approaching a point of singularity, and when combined, these technologies will prove to be transformative on an unprecedented scale.

Analytics is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the reanimating effect of mobile computing. Accessing complex data sets on a pocket-sized device forces an extreme prioritization of information, creating a layer of abstraction and haiku-like interpretation that is permanently redefining how we interact with information resources. Because this new framework is particularly compelling for data visualization, we can expect massive,game-changing shifts in the presentation of analytic data in the near future.

For example, sales managers will have access to real-time performance data— in a succinct, mobilized roll-up — that can help them optimize sales and marketing strategies on the fly. Organizations that understand the mechanics of this transformation and that act quickly to leverage the rising tide of mobile analytics will wield a severe and effective weapon.

Changing the Face of Data

With so much media emphasis on the growth of mobile computing, it would be easy to miss the even faster growth occurring in the analytics space. Analytics is driven by data, and the amount of data available for analysis is increasing at a staggering rate. For example, RFID tags that once tracked the number of pallets in a container now track each unit of product individually. Meanwhile, 500 million Facebook users upload a daily barrage of personal minutiae that is subsequently forwarded and re-forwarded ad infinitum. Fueled by trends like these, massive increases in data volume are providing unlimited fodder for analytic applications.

Mobile technology isn’t just changing the presentation side of data; it is changing the lifecycle of enterprise data as well. If automating a process changes it, mobilizing it changes it even more. Mobilizing a workflow improves the operation of that workflow, making it faster and more efficient. Thousands of workflows are within every enterprise and hundreds more are within every supply chain and distribution channel. The raw potential for transformation would be difficult to overestimate.

Raising the Value of Business Processes

Over the long term, advances in mobile analytics will provide much better visibility and transparency into how an enterprise is performing in realtime. Mobile access will mean managers will access key performance indicators (KPIs) more frequently. But more importantly, advances in data display will mean the KPIs will provide better performance insight. In the short term, there are likely to be some complexities as the back-end systems that hold the data are integrated into the middleware and front-end where access to the information is controlled, but in the long run, this is clearly a rising-tide effect.

While improved data quality is the real objective of these mobilized analytic applications, speed will be another benefit. Making BI metrics available to workers at virtually any moment of the day will increase performance efficiency across the organization and improve response time for downstream processes. Moreover, providing critical performance data at the point of decision vastly increases the value of the process to the enterprise.

These changes will be felt not only inside the organization but by customers as well. A well-informed worker or workgroup is in a better position to provide timely and relevant customer support, which can only have a positive effect on customer satisfaction.

Changing the State of the Art

Current mobile analytic offerings are simple extensions of desktop BI platforms, which enable a user to consume an existing desktop report or dashboard on a mobile device. These first-generation mobile analytic products are a step in the right direction, but they fail to seize the opportunities that mobilized enterprise data creates. They offer the same old reports on a small form factor.

The next generation of business intelligence applications will attempt to optimize the visualization of complex data in a limited space. Brevity will be essential; between the increasing amounts of data available for analysis and the smaller display space to visualize the data, we should see some interesting and innovative shifts in interpretation.

Democratizing Intelligence

Once they hit the business mainstream, these second-generation mobile analytic tools will have the effect of democratizing business intelligence; making precise, real-time data available to a wide variety of business users at any given moment. Organizations that move quickly (and we mean right now) will enjoy a competitive advantage that could take their entire enterprise to a whole new level of performance.

To earn the first-mover advantage, enterprises need to prime their IT infrastructures today so that future mobile application deployments can happen swiftly and securely. Business and IT leaders need to envision a fully mobilized future, including a clear understanding of how internal processes are likely to change when mobilized. They must decide how they will secure their mission-critical enterprise data, and set their governance policies accordingly.

A mobile enterprise application platform is a proactive IT strategy that can help enterprises reap the full potential of mobilized data. Because it fully integrates with existing enterprise applications and data, a platform will enable the next generation of mobile analytics to blur the lines between transactions, analytics and collaboration. Organizations that adopt this strategy will be well positioned to provide the mobile workforce with context-aware decision-support capabilities that provide insight to judicious action — all done in real time, and from anywhere.

The next step will be to undertake a strict prioritization of data. Looking at business intelligence data on a four-inch screen moves visualization to the top of the queue. IT and business analysts must focus on the crux of the data and know which data sets will provide the most value once mobilized.

The corporations our children will work in will be unrecognizable compared to the ones we know today. Business as we know it will move much faster, with pervasive group dynamics that adjust in real time to massive, dynamic information flows. It is our privilege to experience the origin of this exciting future as it emerges from the alchemy of mobile communication and staid, unsexy mobile analytics.

Top 10 reasons to mobilize

1) Mobility is already in your enterprise, you need to manage and direct it. This may seem obvious, but then again, perhaps it isn’t. Look around your company, and see if you can find one person who doesn’t have a smartphone. While you’re at it, check out how many folks have bellied up to the mobile bar and ordered themselves a tablet. Mobile devices are all over your enterprise, whether you realize it or not. If you don’t get ahead of this now, you’ll never catch up. Time to start managing.

2) A mobile workforce is far more responsive and productive than a static workforce. Workers who have instant access to the information they need, regardless of where they are, are by definition more responsive (and therefore more productive), whether it’s dealing with their peers, management, partners, etc.

3) A mobilized workforce can provide a stronger customer experience. Do you like having your calls returned quickly? Of course you do, who doesn’t? Making your employees mobile (and informed) makes them far more responsive to customer needs, and happy customers are always a good thing.

4) Mobilizing workers will increase their output.
Because your employees will have more convenient access to work they need to do anyway, they’re also more likely to keep up. This creates higher output without adding more stress.

5) Mobilizing workgroups will exponentially increase output. See #4 above. If one worker becomes (e.g.) twice as productive, how about the workgroup he’s a part of? Mobilizing workgroups starts adding terms like “exponential” to your output gains.

6) Mobilizing workflows will streamline and accelerate your business operations. Applying any technology to a workflow will change it (hopefully for the better). This is particularly the case for mobility, since it can be applied to nearly any workflow, in any enterprise process, in any industry.

7) Adopting mobility early will provide a significant competitive advantage. Enterprise mobility is in a land-grab state right now. Mobilizing ahead of your competition is very similar to what happened fifteen years ago when companies that were quick to set up a web presence had a huge advantage over those who didn’t. Technology-driven competitive differentiators on this scale this don’t come along that often, you should exploit this while you can.

8) Adopting mobility will increase the ROI on current enterprise applications. Most enterprise applications are designed to be accessed from a fixed point device (your PC on a LAN). Once you provide the capability to access those same apps from a mobile device, you’ve just extended the life and reach of your applications.

9) Mobility enables instant, informed decision making and action. We are entering the age of the instant expert. We are surrounded by information all the time, regardless of where we are, and any time we want it, all we need to do is swipe our finger on a relatively small piece of metal and glass (and how cool is that?). Having the right information, at the right time, enables a vast expansion of decision points (including, for example, buying your products or services).

10) You have no choice. I mean, what, you’re not going to mobilize? This isn’t even a viable alternative anymore. Everyone is already moving in this direction (and when I say everyone, I mean billions of users with billions of devices, resulting in trillions of decision points—and that’s happening right now, while you’re reading this). You can ride the mobility wave with style and elegance, or be crushed by it, those are pretty much your options.

Mobility is about Me

I’ve been an active participant in the mobile technology industry for nearly two decades (which is to say, since the technology first became available). In all that time, mobility has always been defined and contextualized by its technology. Cellular networks, Android, LTE, feature phones, smart phones, tablets, etc. The framework has always been about how technology allows people to do things differently, but it has always been consistently about the technology.

This is not the right approach. We need to turn this whole thing on it’s head and redefine the context of mobility. Mobility is not about mobile devices or the infrastructure that support them. It’s about the user being able to move around an information ecosystem at will, while getting a consistent experience, regardless of what device or network is being used. I should be able to start in my office working on a desktop or laptop computer, connected to a LAN, then seamlessly switch to the same application as I pick up a tablet to head to a meeting, then further switch to a smartphone and continue working on the commute home. Same application, supporting some workflow for which I am responsible. While the actual interface will shift around as I more from device to device, the overall experience should be consistent; same look and feel, and the same general information flow. The overall experience I need is driven by the information, not the device or supporting network, and it’s not the responsibility of a single device to create a compelling experience (even though some do), it’s the responsibility of the entire information ecosystem to deliver an enveloping framework that allows me to work at maximum effectiveness.

Why does this perspective matter? Because it’s about the customer, not about the device, or the network. It’s not about the nuances of technology or products, it’s about providing the right information delivered by a vast ecosystem that constantly adapts to the end user’s requirements. This perspective, driven by the right business model, is what will drive the transformation of the enterprise as it strives to maximize the efficiency of its workers, workgroups, and workflows (and by the way, that includes you, right now, sitting here, reading this blog). If done right, mobility is all about me (and you), as it should be.

Mobility and the Truly Gruntled Employee

How many co-workers do you know who are truly gruntled (that is, the opposite of disgruntled)? What variables separate the gruntled from the disgruntled?

For starters, think about your day at work. Come in to the office, log-in, and instantly you’re buried under an avalanche of e-mail. Try to dig your way out (while running from meeting to meeting), eventually there’s a glimpse of daylight, but it’s a runaway train headed right at you, labeled “your actual job, which is not answering e-mails”.

A big part of the problem is the nature of how we work. Sitting in front of a big screen, with a hard, fast, secure connection is great, except that you’ve paved the way for a massive amount of information to head in your direction, which it does at top speed.
So what happens when information is made available on a mobile device? I know a lot of folks in the mobility space pound the “anytime/anywhere” drum (which is great, if you like working all the time- I don’t). However, like a lot of people, I don’t mind throwing some otherwise down-time against my workload when I’m actually not at work, but of course, my efficiency on a mobile device will be different.

One of the core drivers of efficiency is balancing the signal-to-noise ratio. That big fast machine in your office is very noisy in terms of how much information it shoves at you, whereas the small fast machine in your pocket tends to filter out a lot of noise because the smaller footprint automatically reduces the level of information that can get through. The real question is, is the right information getting through? When you see something on your iPhone or Galaxy Tablet, are you seeing the really critical information you need to be more effective (signal), or are you getting a lot of extraneous information (noise). I’ve said before that a smaller display space forces pithiness and prioritization, so given this, are the right items making it to the top of your display?

This therefore all comes down to workflow. Mobilizing workflow forces the company to rethink what their employees do, since they are by definition doing it differently. We recently completed a survey of CIOs via LinkedIn, and one of the stats that jumped out was that only 33% of respondents had an enterprise-wide strategy for mobility, which means 67% did not. Out of the “not” group, 10% had (amazingly) no plans at all, 27% would get to it sometime in the next year, and 30% kinda/sorta had a plan, but not thought through at the enterprise level. The scary part is the respondents were CIOs, who by definition are supposed to have a long-range perspective on things like this. And what about the folks on the business side, the folks who are actually out there selling and dealing with customers in a workflow-driven context? Do you suppose they’re thinking about mobilizing enterprise workflows? I reckon not.

The 33% who get it are the ones who will have truly gruntled employees. The other 67% will have varying levels of disgruntleness, and let me tell you, if your employees are disgruntled, you can bet that vibe will be passed to your customers, your partners, etc. Enterprises, whether driven by the technical or business side, have a narrowing window of opportunity to get ahead of this curve. A year from now, we’ll have a permanently disgruntled class of employees (the 10% with no plans), 57% who are in varying stages of de-gruntling, and 33% who are happily gruntling along, and probably creaming the remaining two thirds of the market who were slow to adopt. So given all this, what are your long range plans for gruntling your employees?