The world today is experiencing an epic technological shift that is rapidly changing everything we know about business, society, communications, and so much more. Mobile plays a key role in all this. Everyone today has at least one, and oftentimes several, mobile devices. BYOD has become a key part of business strategy, and organizations are struggling to keep up as new endpoints and form factors enter the market at lightning speed. Indeed, it’s an understatement to say that mobile is the future of business and perhaps the future of everything.
Cloud is the other major disruptor that continues to exert enormous changes on organizations and especially the whole operational structure of IT. Nowadays any business unit with a credit card can connect to a cloud-hosted service in less than 5 minutes for a fraction of the cost and no setup headaches.
Not too long ago cloud and mobile were fairly discrete technologies. Smartphones opened up new dimensions of communications and social networking. Personal cloud vendors like Dropbox provided new opportunities for data storage and file sharing. But now the convergence of these key technologies have spawned transformational business models and a host of opportunities that are requiring organizations to rethink and remap their strategization plans.
Instead of keeping mobile and cloud on separate tracks, we are hearing plenty today about the “mobile cloud”; lots of businesses are signing up as fast as possible to get onboard. A writer of a recent Forbes article aptly points out why this trend matters; her points are worth repeating here.
Going mobile isn’t simply a matter of selecting devices and operating systems. The shift to mobile is about creating application, data and services portability across locations and devices. A truly mobile company will also take advantage of all of the new data sources and features (e.g. location, image capture, and sensor data) that mobility provides. Cloud computing provides a critical role in helping mobile achieve this value proposition. Cloud is at the core of enabling new service innovation. Many of today’s most highly regarded mobile services, such as file sync and share and streaming content services, couldn’t exist without the cloud.
Mobile and cloud are complementing each other in enormously profitable new ways. The portability of mobile and the security of cloud are a win-win, as are the multitude of new business models that flow from this unified approach. As mobile and cloud overlap and integrate in new and innovative ways, they also give rise to the whole notion of ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous is really all about instant, real-time services as customers are now demanding 24/7 access anytime and anywhere.
But there is yet another name for this, often called everything as a service, or “XaaS,” where X is a catch all to describe how any service you want can now be obtained in the cloud. This business model includes everything from cloud hosting (Dropbox) to project management (Basecamp) to email marketing (MailChimp) and much, much more. With Single Sign-on (SSO) through Google or Facebook, anybody can be up and running these services in minutes.
As cloud and mobile continue to interact and align in profound new ways today, these technologies will drive new types of branding, products, and services. One of the major integrations with XaaS that is getting increased attention today is Internet of Things, which will grant customers a host of new ways to track and analyze every part of their lives and surroundings. IoT is XaaS in a nutshell and the primary channel to ubiquitous computing. The continued ascendancy of mobile computing and its alignment with Internet of Things and wearables in the cloud will spawn ever new technologies that are reciprocal, integrated, and constantly unfolding and interacting in creatively new and innovative ways. This emerging digital landscape brings us back full circle to a mobile cloud business model that is fluid, adaptable, and that delivers the right information at the right time to a person’s device – whether that be phone, tablet, or wearable.
Aside from major disruptive new business models, the mobile cloud is also transforming the very structure and nature of IT. Just when they were growing accustomed to BYOD, businesses need to get comfortable with a new framework for device management that focuses on support for what are called “endpoints,” or the plethora of new mobile and cloud enabled waypoints to the digital world – wearables, phones, RFID connected devices, tablets, and the list goes on and on. The new paradigm here is called Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and is certain to exert a profound influence on the world of IT in the years to come.
The bottom line in all of this change is that clear-thinking businesses today can’t afford to overlook the critical importance of mobile cloud technologies. The digital market is demanding yet faster and more ubiquitous services today in order to keep and meet customer expectations. Cloud and mobile strategies need to be aligned holistically and seen in cohesion, not in disjunction, to meet the speed of digital market requirements. Start today to think of your mobile and cloud strategy in unified terms in order to keep competitive and win!