Mobile Communications

Paul Devlin (UK) Why Mobility really is changing the world

It's one of the moments we all dread - unpacking the suitcase in a foreign country and finding you've left the charger and adapter at home. Fortunately, when faced with this two weeks ago, my iPhone came to the recue through the Amazon app that helped provide a replacement - delivered to the hotel within 24 hours - and at a fraction of the cost of replacing them in a UK store.

I mention this story because it is a typical instance of the little things we can now do on smart phones and tablets that would not have been possible just a couple of years ago, but are now changing the way we do business, the way we communicate, and indeed the way we live.

But it's far more than just little things that are changing. Now that we have these incredibly powerful handheld devices that are always connected to the web, the uses are opening up by the thousand.

It's particularly interesting to see what has happened since company managers and directors have got their hands on iPads, and had the chance to understand how they work. Today directors and senior managers don't just want to be able to share their lives through Facebook or tweet their latest updates, they want to be able to see, understand and influence what is happening in their businesses.

This is driving an amazing demand among companies for smart, mobile intelligence.

Just last week, at the Gartner BI summit in London, over 160 senior executives came by our booth to talk about the kind of management information they want to be able to work with on their iPads/iPhones/tablets. And they want that capability now.

Mobile Intelligence is taking the market by storm - we are already working with many of the UK ‘s best-known companies to deliver amazing functionality, and will be releasing some fascinating stories over the next few months.

One customer - a global retailer - has developed a dashboard that allows the CEO to analyse - on his iPad - the trading results for any store he is visiting. Not only can he see the top line, but also drill right down to the performance of individual products, and see how this store compares with others nearby, and the group as a whole.

That kind of instant intelligence is changing the way companies make decisions, and it's all happened in just a few months.

Traditionally when we talk about delivering even a small IT project, you expect to set budgets in many thousands and timescales in months, but today projects are being thought up and implemented in a matter of weeks as companies take advantage of the simplicity and speed of dedicated single-purpose mobile apps.

Not only that, they are not expensive, yet deliver the ability to build very personalised ways of interacting with information at a time and place of the user's choosing.

We're not going to see the end of large corporate infrastructures - they are vital to the operation, and underpin it by capturing, processing and storing the organisation's data. But people are demanding more control over the way they view, interact with, and drill down to this core data.

Lots of little things add up to a very big change, which is how mobility is delivering its promise - in thousands of small steps that will combine to a giant leap.

Paul Devlin is UK Country Manager for MicroStrategy



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