Every major transition in technology has seen businesses disrupted and scrabbling to align themselves with the reality of new innovations. This was as true with the advent of mass production in the industrial era as it is in the world of mobile computing today.
Enterprise IT has been characterised by two main waves so far. The first era, of Mainframe computing, saw a few large centralised machines processing information and feeding it back to a small user base tied to consoles in close physical proximity to mainframes. This was followed by the era of client-server computing, where lower cost servers emerged alongside personal computers enabling information to be accessed widely across corporate networks. This had a dramatic impact on the scale and pervasiveness of computing, but kept a relatively tight virtual leash between end-users and their applications.
The complexity of deploying and enabling services in this environment served as a natural limiting factor for what you could do.
Now we have what IDC calls ‘the Third Platform’ – a new era emerging characterised by more powerful, portable devices; many more ‘apps’; and exponentially more information. Roles are reversing and it is employees driving the pace of technology change. You can see it every day in your office – from colleagues bringing their own tablets to work; through to services like DropBox to help personal productivity. Behind the scenes, a combination of mobile computing, cloud services, social media technology and Big Data is powering this change.
For more on transitioning to the Third Platform, read my full post on The Bigger Game.