of eC3 Consulting
on the Social Mobile Cloud (SoMoClo).
I've been in mobility since the late '90s. I was VP of Marketing for Vaultus Mobile Technologies actually in web 1.0 just down the street from here, before the internet bubble. I've been tracking and working....
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....... in mobility and strategies since then.
I run a start up, and I've been for the last five years a research director for Enterprise Mobility and Collaboration at the Aberdeen Group, running their research on collaboration, enterprise mobility, social, mobile, and cloud. And I've left recently to start up consulting practice eC3 consulting. I've spoken in numerous occasions at industry events, blogged extensively, written over 100 research papers. And I'm very glad to be here with you today.
Well, mobility is really is not as interesting as what you can do with it. So mobility is just a connection. It's a connection to your data wherever, whenever-- wherever you are, whenever you need it. And the notion of the importance of the smartphone and the tablet is very close focus. If you switch your lens to telephoto, to wide angle, you see that mobility is really part of something much bigger. And that's what excites me. The ability to access your data, that you have the privilege to access, you have the permissions access wherever and whenever you may need it in the right context, based upon your location, based upon the viewing device, be it a television at home, be it a internet terminal at an airport, be it on your smartphone, your tablet, or a desktop computer of some kind. And even those are somewhat limited in the imagination they foster, in the sense that those are all device-bound.
Where I think we're headed is something where the device becomes virtualized, and you have access to your data on any platform in a secure and compliant way. That's what excites me about mobility. In order to sort of realize that promise we talked about that mobility holds, the IT infrastructure itself that supports mobility needs to be well integrated--what I call vertically stacked. So compliance and security are a must have, because you really are talking here about business access to mobility versus consumer. So in order for compliance and security to be a given, the IT stack needs to be well understood and well controlled, and risk needs to be managed. There's no such thing anymore as a firewall-contained, locked down IT infrastructure. What there is is the notion of a risk-managed IT infrastructure, based upon the sensitivity of the data, based upon the credentials of the accesser to that data, based upon the security of their access envelope, if you will, what data can be presented to them in what way. And we're assuming now that the data is encrypted as it moves wirelessly from, if you will, the cloud or the data center to the endpoint. So if all those things are in place, then there are fewer worries.
But there's still remaining challenges. One of the key challenges is adoption of-- let's say that an organization has developed apps for employees, or for end users. All of this investment in infrastructure, all this investment in the end point app, if you will, bears no fruit if they're not adopted, if they're not used. So in addition to this sort of compliance and security notion, there is the acceptability of the app--I want to call it an envelope, because if you call it an application, it kind of has the notion that it's contained, when it really is about access. So that access needs to be--there's a user expectation that that access is as fun--and it should be fun-- and as easy-- and it should be as easy-- as Angry Birds.
So even with the most sophisticated access to the most proprietary knowledge, if you're an executive traveling to a partner site or to press announcement, or you're a field service engineer about to go to a customer interface, or you're a sales person about to make a sales call, you need quick access, easy, intuitive, given that most of the endpoints now are touch base. It has to be touch-centric. So all of these criteria which used to be just contained within the notion of a consumer app or consumer game are entirely appropriate criteria for enterprise apps. So it's, again, not just the adoption. It's not just the security and compliance. It's also the user experience design, which is critical. If all of those things are in place, that's good, but you still need the back end. You need the data. So you need the data to be well integrated. It depends what data you're gathering Is it data that's internal to the organization? Is it data which you're bringing in, if you will, from public sources, as in big data? All of this sort of data integration in a virtualized IT infrastructure is what we sometimes call cloud, and data in the cloud.
This connection from the endpoint to that data we sometimes call social. So social isn't just social media, it's connectivity. And then clearly, the endpoint is going to be mobile, not attached physically. That construct mobile social cloud is the construct that is essential in 2014 and moving forward. So I've given that a name. It's been a name that is an irritating acronym, but we had no other way to give that construct a single name. We call it SoMoClo--Social Mobile Cloud. That SoMoClo construct--call it whatever you want to call it--is a global phenomenon. It's lowered the barriers to entry around the world. I've been working recently with clients in Kuwait, in Nigeria, in Algeria, and in Turkey, and they have the same concerns, the same objectives, and becoming the same access to infrastructure, because they bypassed everything that's legacy, going right to the cloud, right to mobile, and right to that connectivity we call social.
So it's a very interesting time we live in, and I'm really looking forward to 2014. If you take that as a given, that this construct-- again, from endpoint connectivity to cloud--and in the cloud is data-- big data and local data--and at the end point, is certainly local sensor information, so your GPS coordinates. Now, who says that that end point has to be a smartphone or a tablet? It could be an automobile. It could be a refrigerator. It could be an HVAC system. So this same construct supports machines to machines, as well just human to human, machine to human, et cetera.
So the future, if you want to ask about where we're headed in 2014 and beyond, is using the same infrastructure for more and more automation and collection of sensor data to make better decisions, that influence all kinds of supply chain issues and value chain issues, so that there's an element of automation, of business process management, of business process optimization, of communications and collaboration. For example, this same infrastructure supports broadband video conferencing and sharing of content in real time. Again, geo-dislocated, so when
I talk to a client in Algiers, we're on Google Hangouts. And we're seeing each other. And he can pivot his laptop or smartphone and show me his environment, and I could do the same. So this is going to become more and more of the rule versus the exception, the notion of rich collaboration and communications. Why? Because it's much more effective and efficient. There's more information. There's more opportunity for serendipity and discovery, which leads to potential innovation. So organizations which are internally organized in their infrastructure like this--we talked about, again, the SoMoClo concept of this vertical stack-- that same stack can be used for a multiplicity of business opportunity, something I call the pivot, a power pivot. So using that same infrastructure, changing the angle of deflection, you can go from being market-focused, use that same infrastructure to do some machine to machine. Use that same infrastructure to develop a collaboration environment. So once you've got that vertical stack, it's incredibly efficient and effective to become more agile, even for very large companies.
So on the one hand, it's lowering the barrier to entry for very small companies to have world class IT infrastructure. On the other hand, it's enabling larger organizations who can get, if you will, outside the box in their own thinking, and take advantage of this agility, which this construct allows them to take advantage of. So it's a leveling in a lot of ways and I think that's potentially very positive. You see a lot of opportunity in the developing world. That's one of the areas I'm exploring actively right now in terms of my consulting and advisory services. So looking at, if you will, the First World-- which is a terrible term. But let's call it that for the moment. The developed world. Taking some of their assets, looking at the developing world to bring those assets, to bring the local innovation in the developing world to solve some of the big problems in the developing world--which, by the way, is a great business opportunity for some of these companies in the developing nation. If you look at, for example, IBM opening up-- I think it's now five innovation centers in Africa. Clearly, they're not the only ones thinking this way. So I see that in 2014 and beyond what we've described here, and that the potential benefits now being distributed a little bit more evenly.
In the US, we talk a lot about the distribution of wealth, or lack thereof, and that the middle class itself isn't growing at the same level of the top 1%. That is true, but when you look-- again, pull back from that telephoto lens, and look at a more global scale, there is a lot of optimism and hope in the developing world that they will have access to these same tools, and can begin to solve their own problems. They're not really looking for a handout. They're looking for a hand up. That's different. And so, that's one of the areas I'm looking at with eC3 consulting and some potential partners.