The Internet is the answer for user experiences
In order for companies to take advantage of the Internet of Things, they need to learn how to innovate at scale.
Why is it hard to create delightful user experiences within the enterprise?
Mobile leverage is 10 times that of the PC. The Internet of Things (IoT) will increase that leverage dramatically as compared to the PC, which means app development will get even more complicated.
If you think the difference between consumer and enterprise technology experience is big now, wait for IoT to hit. The gap will increase further.
Companies who want to participate in IoT opportunities will have to change their approach to enabling innovation through software.
Why can’t we have beautiful apps inside the enterprise?
We get a hint from this recent Tweetstream by Benedict Evans:
“People spent a lot of time wondering what the killer app for the mobile Internet would be. It turned out it was the Internet. People spend a lot of time wondering about the common platform for the Internet of Things. I suspect the answer is ‘the Internet’.”
The answer is “the Internet” – or rather, the fact that there is no Internet inside the enterprise.
When the Internet was Yahoo’s model of “lists of links” corporate IT deployed intranet technology to give companies secure internet-capabilities.
A lot has changed since Yahoo ruled the Internet. Unfortunately, intranet design isn’t one of those things.
The Internet has search and SEO. There are many tools for creating and collaborating through content as well as established ways for the community to contribute. There are higher-level services like social identity, file sharing and application programming interfaces (API’s) that both enrich search and unify the experience.
The intranet? There’s SharePoint and there are silos such as Chatter, Tibbr, FTP and Instant Messenger. It’s like going back in a time machine.
Usage policies are also inconsistent. There are companies who block Facebook, yet expect their marketing teams to run Facebook campaigns. How crazy is that?
The Internet is changing again in support of mobile and IoT driven by the rich availability of sensors, notifications and location information. It’s an opportunity to drive change in enterprise technology too.
The app store model is a really big change in how technology is created and “brought to market”. I’m glad to see that Steve Sinofsky uses similar language to mine – app store model.
An app store model is about a strategy of cultivating a community of developers who innovate and then making the fruits of their efforts available.
An app store strategy enables companies to innovate more quickly and do more with less. It’s compelling.
One small “gotcha” – the developers doing the innovation may not be part of IT.
Enterprise IT must do more to turn its intranet modeled on “lists of hyperlinks” into an intranet modeled on an app store model. That means API’s, security, identity, JIT automated testing and deployment as well as deep insight into what’s happening to satisfy compliance officers and business planners.
I like to think of this solution as an innovation platform.
The innovation platform is a way to bring everything the Internet has to offer into the enterprise without sacrificing security, governance, control or any of the risks that keep IT staff awake at night.
It’s a way to capture innovation wherever it resides and enable it while maintaining corporate standards, rather than blocking it to maintain corporate standards.
IoT is going to bring a massive number of intelligent devices with API’s to our networks. API’s and apps are two sides of the same coin – so an app store model is relevant.
The challenge of maximizing the efficacy of all these devices and apps is more than just off-shoring a few extra developers or thinning out an IT portfolio to free up a few percentage points of budget to work on innovation.
The challenge is understanding how to delegate complexity to enable anyone, anywhere, to innovate securely, respond quickly and deliver quality when the response involves software development.