Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015

Since 2007, Gartner has been predicting the top strategic tech trends for the coming year; not an easy task considering the unpredictable nature of the IT market.

In this year’s report, Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015, the analysts describe their focus this way:

“Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.”

Here is a breakdown of Gartner’s list: (more…)

The Challenges Ahead for Mobile Application Development

Analysts from Gartner Inc. and IDC have recently weighed in on the challenges that lie directly in front of mobile app developers and the necessity for these teams to think differently from traditional practices. David Ramel at adtmag.com summarizes these points in a recent article and highlights several obstacles development teams must wrestle with:

  1. Approaches taken within developing for desktop software do not translate in mobile app development – device diversity, network connectivity and other mobile-specific considerations dement that mobile development teams use “functional, performance load and UX testing as well as agile development practices.”
  2. Mobile disruption – the central problem in mobile application development is addressing the variety of platforms and devices that employees can bring into the enterprise. This flood of devices has created a “disruption” of sorts that demands developers are able to distribute to multiple combinations of devices, OS and form factors.
  3. UX matters – Ramel sites that most user complaints about mobile apps have to do with user experience caused by poor UI design, workflow responsiveness. In the world of mobile, function definitely matters, but with a limited amount of screen size, form matters a whole lot more

The advice for development teams: “embrace the Web ecosystem of skills and set up Web developer teams along with existing Java and Microsoft ecosystem developer teams because tools, frameworks and middleware aimed at enterprises are increasingly integrating HTML5 support.”

 

Read the full article here.

 

The Second Wave of Mobility

second-wave_310_224Field Technologies Magazine recently released their Field Mobility Annual Report for 2014 which highlights the numerous trends and expectations for the forthcoming year based off of responses from over 700 consumers. Among the many insights was the recognition that we are in second (or maybe third?) wave of mobility.

Meaning this: initially, companies invest in mobility to move away from manual or paper-driven processes by mobilizing their operations. For many industries, this was the surge 5-7 years ago and remains a critical step for companies who have yet to do so. But for many companies, the second wave of mobilization lies within the area of automating existing processes through “awareness technology.” Depending upon the industry, this could mean:

  • using GPS technology to “arrive” at a location rather than manually selecting a menu option
  • leveraging historical data to suggest inventory, staffing needs, or estimated hours to complete work
  • accessing crowdsourced data to estimate traffic patters, wait times or weather conditions
  • engaging with bluetooth technology for location awareness and know data points that trigger workflow actions

The bottom line is that mobility will inevitably continue to evolve but the real winners will be companies and products that think proactively and progressively to leverage technology for their advantage.

The Field Mobility Annual Report can be accessed here.

Field Mobility 2013 Report: Field Service Software

The Field Mobililty 2013 Report is out from Field Technologies and it contains some helpful research and analysis for many ares within Field Service. Of note, the data on Field Service Software provides some interesting insights. Here is a sample of some of the survey data:

Do you currently use a service management/automation solution?

  • Yes – 40%
  • No – 60%

The top 5 features/functionality within Field Service Software:

  1. Security
  2. Integration with back-office systems
  3. Mapped to workflow/UI
  4. Ability to configure/customize
  5. Ability to work offiline

28% of companies NOT currently using software plan to invest in the near future. Here is the to 5 areas of functionality they will be seeking:

  1. Dispatch/workorder assignment
  2. Service/workorder management
  3. Basic scheduling
  4. Customer interaction/management
  5. Customer history access/knowledge management

Download the complete guide here.

Optimism Indicators for 2013

Inc.com has put together a few numbers that are good reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic for the upcoming year.

infographic-2013-indicators

Check out the article here.

Forbes on the Future: Trends Affecting Enterprise Mobility in 2013

2013-enterprise-mobility

With 2012 wrapping up and 2013 a few weeks away the varied top lists of 2012 and predictions for 2013 have made their annual arrival. Among them, Forbes has put together a list of trends affecting enterprise mobility in 2013. They are as follows:

  • 2013 will be the year of the app – Can we possible have a greater focus on ‘the app?’ Forbes states the influx will come as a result of “user friendly” apps that allow non-IT staff to create individual customization to a platform.
  • Business users will drive up app developmentCertainly agree that the “app for everything” world we live in drives expectation for enterprise mobility
  • The digital C-suite’ will be making decisions on the fly – Meaning, c-level leaders will have mobile access to enterprise data and analytics will lead to a true virtual office enabling strategic decision making based on information that can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet
  • Simplicity + speed + scalability = mass adoption – the perfect equation every enterprise mobility software company aims for. However, Forbes claims the potential rise of a PaaS (platform as a service), would allow non IT staff the ability to build away

In short, 2013 will see user friendly applications, driven by business minded individuals, providing strategic decision makers with critical data. That sounds like a bright future.

The Global Mobile Workforce

VDC-Research-mobile-workforceDavid Krebs, VP of Mobile and Wireless at VDC Research, recently hosted a brief presentation covering trends and expectations within the global mobile workforce. Along with the expected growth in mobility, there were a number of crucial trends to note:

  • Mobile Worker Population – the mobile worker population is forecasted to grow an additional 5% by 2014 to 1.2 billion. What is significant about this trend is that means 1/3 of the global workforce would be classified as “mobile”
  • B2B Trends – some of the continued trends with in B2B mobility revolve around the need for real-time decision making, workforce productivity and business intelligence
  • Continued Growth of the “Knowledge Worker” – Krebs notes importance of differentiating between “task/line workers” and “knowledge workers.” Typically, mobility has been primarily focused on the task oriented or line workers which require very linear and simple mobile workflows. While the rising sector of knowledge workers operate in a more dynamic environment, where lookups, cross-validation, and data access are critical. The important statistic here – line workers are expected to decrease by 11.8% while knowledge workers will rise by 19.1% through 2014.

You can watch the entire presentation here.

Riding the Technology Wave

The old adage,” The more things change, the more they stay the same” is meant to describe the (non-) effect of technological, political, and social change on human nature. The original author intended this to mean that while the world today is very different from the world of the past, the people themselves are the same. If you were to use a time machine to pick up a baby from the 16th century and raise him today he would have all the same advantages and foibles of any modern man. Similarly, many of the obstacles we encounter as a society: bureaucracy, intolerance, and selfishness are present in every era of human civilization.

But it is a mistake to confuse the fact that human nature never changes with the reality that human behavior almost never stops changing. This is the cardinal mistake that industries and people have made for hundreds of years. The printing press changed the reading and learning habits of people around the world while early industrialization changed buying and manufacturing behaviors. At each turn, those advantaged by the old ways fought tooth and nail, ultimately unsuccessfully to prevent these changes. While human nature remained unchanged the actual behaviors: patterns of activity, methods of accomplishment, and ways of achieving success were fundamentally altered. The are some recent examples of this phenomenon that can help us understand where we might do better. (more…)

The Drive to Make the Dumbest Smartphone

You’ve probably heard the old joke or some variation by now: “If cars were more like computers we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 mi/gal, but for no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.”

Well, if your car was more like a smart phone:

  • It would do absolutely everything faster except its primary purpose: driving. That would be exactly the same – maybe a little worse.
  • All tolls on the road would go up and you’d be limited in how much you can drive in a given month.
  • It would have really sleek lines and a polished look that you would never get to see because you needed to cover it up at all times to avoid constant scratches, dents, and smudges from normal use.
  • It would only work on certain types of roads and only in your own country unless you’d wanted to swap out all the tires.
  • It would come with dozens of accessories you don’t want or need, but would be missing key features like a radio or air conditioning. But don’t worry, you can add these on later for an extra fee.
  • If it ever broke you couldn’t get it repaired or replace a part, the dealer would just swap it with an identical car.
  • The manufacturers would be competing with each other about who has the largest number of aftermarket add-ons, but if you install them anywhere by the dealership you void your warranty.
  • The interior would be many times smaller than your old car, but the windshield is five times larger.
  • It’s so simple to use. The manufacture didn’t want you to have to worry about little things like seat position, cup holders, window visors, or leg room so they made it one size fits all.
  • It will easily replace all your other modes of transportation unless you need to leave the road and then you have to get out.
  • You would have to fill up the tank at least once a day.
  • From the outside your car looks exactly like every other car on the road.
  • All the car manufacturers would be suing each other claiming they have exclusive rights to features like: “turning right”, “parking”, and “lockable doors”.
  • Even though you car works perfectly well for how you drive you’ll get a new one every couple of years when your lease runs out because the new one has a slightly better dashboard layout. (more…)

Mobility Growing Pains

About three months ago I was considering a blog post about how the diversity and fragmentation in the mobile operating system environment was going away. Nokia and  Microsoft were getting together, Android was growing by leaps and bounds and even Blackberry was planning to run Android apps, Apple seemed rock solid, and WebOS was purchased by a big player with deep pockets. Now? Not so much. Oh what a few months can mean . . . (more…)