Beware Of Mobile's Unintended Consequences (Part 1)

[This is the second in a series of posts on our report for Forrester clients, "Mobile Is The New Face Of Engagement."]

A successful smartphone app is great, right? Especially when it fronts a system of engagement that lets people click and serve themselves in their moment of need rather than waiting until they can fire up a computer and go online. Or (gasp), dial the phone and tie up some customer service rep's time in India or Africa or Fargo. The mobile engagement is 10 times more convenient than traditional Web and one tenth the cost of a call center contact. So what could possibly go wrong?

In short, just about everything that could go wrong does go wrong when consumer brands, retailers, and B2B companies open up their mobile engagement channel. In this first of several posts on mobile's unintended consequences, we'll describe the unbelievable success that mobile can bring. In future posts, we'll expose the sheer technological ugliness that lies behind those consequences and lay the groundwork for enterprise mobile engagement.

First, the unbelievable success that a mobile app can have (see the figure below):

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A Billion Smartphones Require New Systems Of Engagement

It's a technology big idea: that organizations can best serve their customers, partners, and employees with new "systems of engagement." (Thanks to Geoff Moore for permission to define and use his term.) Let us explain why.

First, the logistics. John McCarthy and I spent the last eight months sifting through the patterns that have emerged from firms that have harnessed mobile, social, big data, and cloud technology: 100 conversations; 61 interviews with experts; and Forrester surveys of 10,000 business and IT decision-makers, 10,000 global information workers, and 50,000 consumers. Out of that research we've just published a 28-page report for Forrester clients that we will deconstruct and re-assemble via blog posts over the next few months.

We began by looking for the unintended consequences of a successful mobile app, expecting to find some best practices in experience design, middleware APIs, server deployments, app development, and organizational alignment. We found those things and captured them in the report. But we also found something more important: a new  ability to empower customers, employees, and partners with context-rich apps and smart products to help them decide and act immediately in their moments of need.

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MacBook Air: The Ultra Ultrabook And Business Windows, Too

I've been testing the MacBook Air for five months now. I use it for work and for home. At work, I run our corporate image Windows XP with the attendant applications and security software in a Parallels virtual machine. At home, I run the Mac side. After a few hiccups with the security software going haywire in our corporate image (thanks to the Parallels support team and to our own IT client and network security team for help), it's been a great experience.

I don't need to wax poetic about just how good the MacBook Air itself is. Plenty of testers have already explained just what makes the MacBook Air the ultra ultabook. See Engadget, CNET, Fortune. (And of course ultrabooks were all the rage at CES this year, see HP's showcased by Serena in Gossip Girl and Dell's XPS 13.)

But I do need to describe my experience with this travel-friendly, totally modern, and practical combination of hardware and software. I'll then also point out some things that are still challenging in using the MacBook Air in a Windows-centric business world. First, the experience in four bullets:

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An Investment Strategy Checklist For RIM's New CEO, Thorsten Heins

RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have stepped aside to let a new leader pilot RIM through the straits. Thorsten Heins, a hardware executive from Siemens, has been COO for about a year now. Welcome, Mr. Heins, to a rough sea and dark night. But there is light in the depths of the hold. (Okay, enough ship references. Down to business.)

Here's the straight story: RIM has been focused on the wrong assets for the past three years, competing in a consumer market against the most powerful consumer brands in the world and suffering from tablet night terrors. It's not working. Forrester's data is clear: Based on a survey of 5,000 US information workers in May 2011, RIM's share of employee smartphones has dropped from around 90% to only 42% in the US in the past three years. Apple and Android together now have 48% of that installed base.

Stop fighting the consumerization battle. Fight a battle that takes advantage of what made RIM a fabulous company in the first place: its secure data delivery network. Here's the differentiated asset analysis:

With this analysis in hand, the challenge and the opportunity become clear. It's the business and government IT relationships and the RIM secure global data network that differentiate RIM products and services, not the consumer market demand. No other mobile supplier in the market has foreign governments asking for access to its data network in the interest of their national security. (That government interest is a good thing -- it signals just how potent RIM's network is.)

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"iMessage Killed The SMS Star"

Yeah, the tune is playing in my head. Video Killed the Radio Star. But in this case, it's Apple's iMessage service that's killing the SMS cash cow. For those of you haven't experienced it yet, check out this picture.

It's my riding buddy Joe sending me a text message, or in this case, an iMessage. The blue box is the giveaway -- it came over Apple's texting service, not AT&T's SMS service. It's "free." That is, it travels over the Internet, not the SMS network, and it's free on Wi-Fi or included in my wireless data plan. And while I have unlimited texting, I do pay $30/month for the family plan, about $0.10/message last month. (I know, some of you text so much that it's probably a penny a message or less.)

So, let's do the math:

100 million iOS users.

Sending 50 messages a month to another iOS user. (iOS users move in packs.)

Each person pays for the SMS message, so that's 100 messages per person.

Each SMS message costs (let's say) $0.05.

So 100,000,000 iOS users x 100 iMessages/month x $0.05/message = $500,000,000/month.

Said another way, that's $6B taken out of the SMS value chain by the iOS iMessage service every year. Then there's the BlackBerry Messenger service for inter-BlackBerry messages. And the Magic SMS app for iPhone and Android. And probably a hundred other SMS alternatives that I'll never know about. Add it all up, and 10 billion dollars in SMS value (not revenue) could be siphoned off to the wireless data market in 2013.

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Some Thoughts On Digital Strategy And The Four Technologies Driving It

I've been hearing a lot about digital strategy and digital transformation lately. (Is that what they call a tech meme?) To my ears, it sounds like a good way to get technology people and business people together to answer four important technology questions: 

1. How do I serve customers and employees on the mobile device of their choice? This one becomes even more important as smartphone and tablet adoption soars. In the US, we at Forrester expect based on our surveys that over a third of smartphones are and will be used for work and over half of tablets will be, too. Consumerization rules this roost.

What it means: Mobile devices are yet another digital touchpoint for marketing, sales, service, and product teams to master. But of course multi-touchpoint means that things must work well on all digital devices and channels: mobile, Web, social, and video.

2. How do I harness social technology for the good of customers and business productivity? IBM and Salesforce.com are betting big that social business will drive technology investment. And of course it will, though not without a fair amount of soul searching into the real sources of value on the part of business and technology people.

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Check Out An Enterprise Architect's View Of Consumerization Technologies

My colleague Gene Leganza has pulled off a consumerization coup for enterprise architects (EAs) and those who work with them. EAs must wrestle with the best way to harness the innovation of HEROes -- highly empowered and resourceful operatives (the protagonist of our book Empowered) -- while protecting the long-term interests and technology strategy of your company. To do so, they need to assess and come up with a strategy for the major consumer technologies coming in through the employee door.

Gene has done a real service to categorize and deliver a strategic assessment on the most important consumerization technologies, including business collaboration, file sync, tablets, and self-service business intelligence. He did this using Forrester's TechRadar methodology in a report titled, "TechRadar For Enterprise Architect Professionals: Technologies For Empowered Employees: Q4 2011." For content & collaboration professionals, this TechRadar includes an assessment of business collaboration, a category fueled by employee-purchased technologies such as Google Docs, Smartsheets.com, and Huddle.

Here is an excerpt on business collaboration:

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How To Avoid The Mobile Goat Rodeo

Mobility in the enterprise is a goat rodeo waiting to happen. Are any of these things going on in your company?

  • Building customer mobile apps that don't tie into the .com site.
  • Coding for iPhones while leaving Android phones unserved.
  • Forcing a session login to a mobile collaboration app that keeps employees from bothering.
  • Locking down employee devices when email is the only app on it.
  • Failing to have the network and hardware to handle an explosion in transaction volume.

If so, you're not alone. It's natural in a fast-moving environment to tackle things piecemeal in the hope that you can handle the problems later. But that approach leads to chaos and confusion and lack of coordination. And that can lead to huge problems that are happening already or are lurking just behind the goat rodeo gate.

It's time to take a deep breath, call an offsite meeting, and put a mobile strategy playbook together. In a recent report for Forrester customers, Building An Operations Stairway To The Mobile Future, my colleagues and I mashed together seven things that have to come together to make mobile operations work. It's not the full chapter list in the playbook, but it's a good operational start.

SlideShark Solves The Present PowerPoint-On-iPad Problem

I spend a lot of time delivering PowerPoint presentations, pitching ideas and data and hopefully some pizzazz and inspiration. And that means I'm lugging my 7-pound laptop and 1-pound charger around, projecting via a dodgy VGA cable with doubtful video qualities, and mouseclicking my way through the story. It's all good because it's all I've ever known. And it beats swapping foils on an overhead projectors. (Why do they call those transparencies foils??)

But, sometimes it would be so much more convenient for me to toss my 1.3-pound iPad2 sans charger into a small bag, hop on the US Airways Shuttle to New York, and pitch the deck while leaving the laptop and charger at home. And if it's true for me, then it has to be true for your iPad-totin' sales teams.

Until now, I've not found a decent PowerPoint solution on iPad. As much as I believe that Microsoft will eventually offer PowerPoint on iPad, I need an answer now. Apple's Keynote requires a big adjustment for me (and for the rest of my ecosystem), and PDF rendering kills the thrill of PowerPoint builds and messes up my storytelling punchlines.

Then along comes SlideShark from online presentation vendor Brainshark. It's animation-complete, hassle-free, PowerPoint-on-iPad (PoiP). So far it works like a champ.

Brainshark is known for its ability to host presentations with voiceover and other stuff as a way to train sales folks and others online and on mobile devices. The company has been around since 1999 and has won over many enterprise customers. Their favorite factoid is, and I quote, "A Brainshark is created every 3 minutes and viewed every 2.5 seconds, with over 1 million views/month."

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Steve Jobs: The Accidental Architect Of Consumerization

Okay, so maybe it was Steve Jobs's plan all along. To make tools so profoundly useful and totemic that everybody wants one. But surely in the dark days of the 1990s and early 2000s, nobody could have seen that Steve Jobs and Apple would overtake the enterprise. But it happened.

First was iPod. After an enthusiastic start restricted to a few million Macintosh aficionados, Apple ported iTunes to Windows and suddenly 100 million people were using iPods. And a new gadget was weighting down the pockets of business travelers and everyday employees. And then it wasn't so heavy after all as Apple volume-priced the flash memory market and shank the gadget to nano size.

Consumerization whispered, "I'm coming." IT wasn't too worried, but it did scramble to keep iTunes off of corporate desktops. [It didn't matter. People have computers at home.]

Next was iPhone. In the winter of 2008 before there was even an App Store, the guy behind the pizza counter at The Upper Crust in Lexington was swiping at his iPhone revealing page after page of colorful icons. When I asked him what that little swipey motion was all about, he replied, "Oh, these are apps. Games and instant messaging and movies and stuff. I get 'em off the Internet. There are hundreds of them." And I (and Apple) knew that the world had changed. Steve Jobs and team launched the App Store so tens of thousands of developers could build hundreds of thousands of applications. And make billions of dollars selling their work.

Consumerization knocked on the door saying, "I'm here and I want to get email on my iPhone." IT said no way and kept buying BlackBerrys.

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