Mobile Content & Collaboration: Let’s Face It, You Aren’t Ready

This article was originally posted on CMSWire – see the original for early comments.

It’s 2011 — and mobile devices are flying off the shelves faster than ever before. It’s time for the real mobile revolution!


Let’s Face It…

You Aren’t Ready for This.

Photo credit: vorort | photocase.comI don’t mean YOU. I mean your organization, and your infrastructure. And the direction the culture and technology of your organization has been headed for a long time.

Look around at the systems and applications you’re probably using right now.

From an IT perspective: If you’ve created any internally developed applications, more than likely, they aren’t web-based, or if web-based, are stand-alone apps with their own unique, browser and window-size specific display properties, and a dependency on a platform-specific technology such as ActiveX or for that matter, Internet Explorer.

From a user perspective: With a wide variety of systems in daily use, it’s likely you have multiple logins to juggle. Perhaps these systems grew up independently of each other, and the mandate was “we have to get this working now — just make it work!” End result? Credentials are stored in many different locations, with different requirements for both username formatting and password strength/standards.

From an IT Security perspective: In the recent economic downturn, Single Sign On (SSO) is a project that has never been prioritized, as it’s “merely” a productivity issue, and doesn’t have the big bang cost reduction, nor the direct revenue creation that has driven all decisions recently. Pre-econolypse, things were too good to worry about SSO, as the “inconvenience” of multiple logins wasn’t an issue in the face of (relatively) easy money.

From a Web Developer perspective: Any web expertise that might already exist in-house, is unlikely to have multiple platform, touch-oriented user interface experience (almost nobody outside of commercially shipping products does, after all), and the ramp up to create usable let alone useful mobile apps is only a glimmer in your most cutting edge designer/developers eyes. If only he/she wasn’t so busy working to make sure your web apps still worked on IE6 — there would be time to address cutting edge mobile tech, front- and rear-facing cameras and 4G networks.

From a cultural perspective: As much as we want to embrace the always-on, mobile, multi-tasking capabilities of the consumer web, we’re comfortable with “the way we’ve always done it here” — that’s our culture and what made us successful! Why change now?

From a manager perspective: I didn’t get to this position by wanting to hear everyone else’s opinion. I got here by clawing my way to the top, the way Machiavelli always intended. Now you want to democratize decision making so everyone has a voice? What’s the point of being a company man, if everyone gets a say?

Now of course all of these are stereotypical extremes… perhaps.

Even in the worst economic times of anyone currently alive — it’s all too easy to “stay the course” — even if the ship is repeatedly bashing into icebergs, while we claim to be unsinkable.

Is that the sane course? Is that the way to get to revenue growth? Employee engagement? Customer satisfaction? Loyalty?

Are you ready to start seriously questioning whether the mobile future you claim you want is possible given where you’ve put your focus to date?

Throwing iPads at systems that aren’t made to be easy to use, and accessible in the “micro bursts” (seconds to minutes rather than hours of use at a time) that mobile use typifies, is only going to result in pain for everyone.

Prepare yourself. It is going to take work to unwind the past and pave the future. But the possibilities? Endless. But only if you take the steps to move forward.

Are you ready?

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  • Dan,

    Nice summary of all the challenges both cultural and technical. One other point might be that, due to the demand by customers and employees that is often described as the consumerization of IT, whether your organization is ready or not, mobile is coming.


    • Roger – thanks for the additional nuance. Absolutely agree – mobile is
      coming, if it isn’t already here. Getting the mental, cultural and technical
      barriers out of the way to embrace it… well, that’s the challenge, eh?

      Or should I say… opportunity?

      Talk to you tomorrow for even more details behind the scenes on both sides,


  • Kucerarichard

    I’m ready, I just got to board the unsinkable Titanium.

    • Interesting – hadn’t heard of Titanium. Are you building an enterprise-facing app with Titanium? Would love to hear about your experience.

  • Way ahead of the curve.
    Which, let’s face it, is a strike.

    p.s. Companies end-run iOSS app store: <

    • Ben – Interesting, wasn’t aware of AppCentral – thanks for pointing that out. Another mobile/cloud conundrum – private, public, owned, leased, hybrid or ???

      • Not sure, Dan. Can’t say more than is on

        • Ben – ah, I’d meant that AppCentral points out that there isn’t just
          “one way to do it” – not just a privately owned cloud/store by a
          single provider (Apple), nor privately owned by a single buyer (an
          enterprise), but many options, including public/distributed (Android),
          and more.

          Many options, and no single choice that’s best for everyone.

  • Thought you’d appreciate this slide from recent webinar I did on cloud, mobile, context. Excuse the clipart format, but you’ll get the point

    • Roger – not seeing a graphic – have I been cursed by a mobile
      rendering issue this morning!


    • Ah – it was a mobile issue with Disqus not showing the attachment. Another danger of not being built for mobile first, explicitly… Thanks for the graphic, Roger!

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