Why CIOs Must Care About New API Management Platforms. Hint, It's About Mobile Apps.

Thanks to the good work of my colleagues Eve Maler and Jeffrey Hammond, we have a new Forrester Wave on API Management Platforms, including evaluations of Layer 7, Mashery, WSO2, Intel, IBM, Vordel, and 3Scale. I won't spill the beans on the leaders, but I will share some of their analysis with my own interpretation to explain why you must care. First, let's define API management platforms as:

Middleware that developers use to publish and configure interfaces and that applications use at runtime to connect to the data services they need.

Here's why API management platforms matter:

  1. As you build mobile apps for customers, partners, and employees, you need apps that perform well over the last wireless mile. And that means you need a great, RESTful API that provides design-time and runtime access to data services hosted by your on-premises applications. Think of it as "cloud-connect" technology that lets the data inside your datacenter get out and back (securely) to the mobile app that needs it. As mobile apps get more and more transactional, the need for API management platforms will become even more critical.
     
  2. You are just getting going on the number, breadth, and complexity of the data service APIs you will need to build and operate. As mobile apps get interesting, with transactions, integrated applications, and more and better content and collaboration, you will need solutions that handle all those integration points. Think of it this way: RESTful interfaces give you the means, but now you need a system to handle the sheer number of APIs you are and will be building.
     
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BlackBerry Z10: Beautiful Phone, Good Experience, Missing Apps, Playing Serious Catchup . . .

The Z10 is a beautiful device: designers Todd Wood, Don Lindsay, and their teams have done a great job with the industrial design, the swipe-rich interaction gestures, and a whole lot more. The Z10 is a pleasure to hold, to swipe, and to carry around in a suit pants pocket.

Here are my favorite bits:

  • Thin, light, elegant, executive, with a holdable form factor and case.
  • The keyboard, with its predictive word look up and "flip into place" word completion is a pleasure for this thick-thumbed, fumble-finger typer.
  • Swipe gestures, including peeking into the inbox, the slow swipe to home position, and the pulldown configuration are a pleasure to use one-handed.
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7 Mobile Engagement Pitfalls To Avoid: And 7 Mobile-First Alternatives

Mobile apps have the thorny problem of needing to work spectacularly and safely on any device over the last wireless mile. Systems integrators, interactive agencies, software vendors, and your own infrastructure and application development teams will pitch you endlessly on technology to handle these problems. Some of these technology solutions will be great. But others carry traps for the unwary. In our new report, we call out 7 pitfalls and describe 7 mobile-first alternatives that are better.

One big trap lurking in most firms’ mobile strategy is using MDM to indiscriminately lock down devices. The temptation to replicate the BlackBerry era will backfire. Remember that RIM’s controls is partly what spurred employees and executives to defect to iPhones. If you lock mobile devices down too tightly, you will be pummeled for putting a theoretical concern for information security ahead of usability and the practical reality of a productive mobile workforce. If people can’t immediately get what they need, they’ll leave the phone in their pocket.

Figure 1: 7 Pitfalls To Avoid

Print out this list of pitfalls and their alternatives and tape it your monitor. Or blow it up and post it in your mobile center of excellence. Here are two pitfalls for everybody to avoid:

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The Mobile Power Shift Will Accelerate In 2013

Happy New Year! I love holidays because the fog of daily work lifts and important things become clearer. This year, over Christmas, what became suddenly and sparkingly clear is that mobile’s biggest impact is that it shifts power away from institutions and toward individuals. People have a huge advantage when they carry the full power of the Internet and Internet-delivered services in their pockets.

The only question is whether you shift power to customers and employees willingly (and to benefit your company) or whether a disrupter or competitor does it for you. To develop your intution of just how powerful mobile apps make you — and just how much you’ve come to take them for granted — imagine yourself in a room with 30 strangers listening to my colleague Thomas Husson.

Thomas opens the presentation with these words: “Pull your smartphone out of your pocket. [Pause.] Now unlock it. [Pause.] Now hand it to the person next to you.” You immediately feel tense and uncomfortable as you wonder if you should really hand your unlocked phone to a stranger . . . or even a friend or family member. A few people actually do hand their phones over, albeit reluctantly. Thomas then breaks the tension with a chuckle and the room titters with nervous laughter. Two things just happened:

  • First, you realized that you were being asked to hand everything that defines you to a total stranger. Your most intimate and empowering things would be someone else’s. Your bank accounts, your friends, your photos, your shopping list, your email, your documents, your sense of self. You would be handing your identity to a stranger.
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Minnesota IT Bolstered Cross-Agency Collaboration With Microsoft Office 365

 

This case study is from TJ Keitt's and my social business playbook report, “The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform.” A social business uses technology to work efficiently using a common collaboration platform -- without being constrained by server availability or storage capacity. Here’s the story.

If you've already consolidated dozens of email systems from every vendor and era onto a single managed instance of Exchange 2007, made the shift to support 70 or more state agencies by operating as an ISP, and crunched 20 SharePoint instances down to a single scalable data center, what else is there to do? After all, you've already achieved a high state of IT operational efficiency and process optimization.

If you are Ed Valencia, CTO and Deputy Commissioner, and Tarek Tomes, Customer and Service Management, Assistant Commissioner, the State of Minnesota’s IT department (MN.IT), you step back and ask, “Has what we’ve done really helped the business communicate and collaborate efficiently and effectively?” They knew they could do more by moving their collaboration workloads into the cloud.

So they took a gamble that Microsoft's Office 365 Dedicated offering was ready for the State of Minnesota. Office 365 Dedicated has opened new doors for people throughout the State of Minnesota government. Agencies can collaborate with one another because the common collaboration platform integrates the disparate directories of the different government entities. For example, the Governor can send a message to every agency in the executive branch through this common platform.

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Kindred Healthcare Empowers Sales Reps With iPads And Salesforce.com

 

This case study is from TJ Keitt and my social business playbook report, “The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform.” A social business harnesses mobile technology to empower sales reps in their moments of customer – or in this case, patient – engagement. Here’s the story.

Sales executive Barry Somervell has a passion for arming his team with tools that yield productivity; he believes in the power of technology to transform the selling process. Barry was asked to come into Kindred Healthcare, a $5 billion supplier of post-acute-care services, to energize and modernize its nursing center division's sales process to bring patients into its 224 skilled nursing and transitional care centers. Barry quickly saw that the tools that the "clinical liaisons" carried were lacking. This group of sales professionals, from a clinical or nursing background, needed better ways to collaborate with colleagues and with hospital medical staff to offer the right services to patients about to be discharged and in need of rehabilitation services. You can see Barry and his team in this video.

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The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform (Part I)

(@TJKeitt has also published this post.) My colleague TJ Keitt and I have completed a six-month investigation into social business and collaborative transformation. As the title of the report suggests ("The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform"), these complex workforce programs work when there is a compelling motivation to change among employees, business sponsors, and IT. All three groups must adapt on the fly as the initiative unfolds. A picture tells a thousand words here: Linear road maps fail; interactive, interconnected road maps driven by a burning platform succeed.

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iPad Mini And iPad 4th Generation Fulfill A Market Mandate -- What CIOs Need To Know

Apple mastered the role of mass market volume and the role of the content ecosystem when it took iPod down market with the iPod Mini in 2004 and iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano in 2005, even as it steadily improved the iPod itself. Apple thus staved off competition from competitors like Creative, iRiver, Samsung, and Sony by offering a player at every price point. The result is a persistent domination of the MP3 player market and its attendant ecosystem: app store, customer base, and content portfolio. In other words, iPod Mini, iPod Nano, and iPod Shuffle made the Apple ecosystem powerful and momentous.

But while Apple created the modern tablet market, its dominance was not assured with a single form factor. Despite that the App Store has 275,000 iPad-specific apps. Despite the fact that already 200 million people are running Apple's latest iOS6 operating system. Despite the fact that Apple has paid $6.5 billion to developers building iOS apps so far. (These numbers all crush the Android and Windows mobile ecosystems.)

Despite all that, our Forrsights Workforce data shows that Apple's share of tablets in the workforce shrank from 67% in 2011 to 53% in Q2 2012. Samsung and Kindle Fire, took the bulk of that shift: Samsung has 13% of the global workforce tablet installed base in Q2 2012 and Kindle Fire has 5%. Both brands rely on small form factor tablets.

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Why Apple Had To Do Maps: A Mobile Engagement Analysis

I was pretty sure that the v1 (beta?) Apple Maps would have gaps and gaffs, and of course it does. Mapping is hard to do as this excellent analysis from Adrian Covert at Gizmodo makes clear. (If Apple had it to do over again, it might have pushed harder to keep the Google Map app in place while Apple launched a beta map alongside it. Maybe it still can.)

But Apple had to do maps. It had no choice, really. The reason is simple: maps are the place where mobile matters most. Here's the logic:

  • First, maps are where the physical context of our daily lives and reality intersects the digital intelligence we access online. It is precisely because maps are where the physical best intersects the digital that Apple had to offer maps. Maps are extremely valuable to customers, hence to Apple. It couldn't outsource it to Google forever if it wanted to develop a unique mobile engagment experience to customers. For that matter, Microsoft has to do (and is doing) exactly the same. It's also why Nokia purchased NAVTEQ in 2008  for $8.1 billion.
  • Second, developers are finding fabulous ways to exploit maps in their applications. Overlaying just about anything on a map makes the map more valuable. Shoppers benefit. Cyclists benefit. City planners benefit. Even the military benefits. Anybody dealing with physical locations needs maps in their app. And that means great APIs to access the map, a way to put layers over the map to show important things, and a way to crowdsource new information. Flickr's photos on maps in a great way to explore a vacation spot before getting on an airplane. All because of great map apps.
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iPhone 5 Cements Apple's Role As An Enterprise Stadium Rocker: What CIOs Need To Know

Quick review: iPhone launches in 2007. CIOs don't care. I perk up. 2008. Apple launches App Store and Exchange ActiveSync support. CIOs start to wake up. Kraft's Dave Dietrich uses iPhone to revitalize Kraft's technology culture. As a software developer, my spidey senses start tingling. 2009-10. Apple adds hardware encryption, hooks to device management suppliers like MobileIron and Good Technology and Boxtone, a hundred million customers, and oh yeah, CEOs start bringing Christmas iPads to work and asking for email support. 2011. Apple App Store really picks up steam. (Android does, too.) iPad at work reaches 67% of the installed base according to our global information worker survey of 10,000 of your employees. iPhone gets slimmer, and Apple sells more of them than ever.

Now it's 2012. Apple sells over half a billion iOS devices since 2007. Apple is the major go-to smartphone for CIOs coming off a BlackBerry addiction. Apple is the dominant supplier of business tablets. Microsoft introduces v8 of its Windows Phone OS (not so many of them sold yet) and announces a tablet. And as colleague Thomas Husson points out, Google lights up 1.3 million Android devices a day. And Apple launches iPhone 5 running iOS 6.

So what does this announcement mean for CIOs? I'd say, CIOs need to tune into popular culture and divine what's happening in the consumer market. Because whither goeth the consumer market goeth the business market. You heard it here. Here's what iPhone5 means for the enterprise:

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