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Better late than never… my five 2012 mobility predictions

One of my greatest weaknesses is that I am pretty much always late. I think I am consistently 3 minutes late for every conference call, 10 minutes late for most gatherings, and a few weeks late with my 2012 predictions. In this case, I’ll plead that I was waiting to read everyone else’s predictions so I could comment on theirs and share my own.

To start, I’ll quote Yankee Group’s 2012 predictions as they put it very eloquently; “The mobile gold rush is global in scale and touches all customers.” I think this summarizes quite nicely what everyone expects for the year ahead. Mobile is everywhere and impacts every business. We all know by now that it is here to stay.

Thinking back to 2011, there were a few big trends that made significant impact but started off as virtual unknowns. First, the consumerization of IT was a relatively foreign concept to most people last January. We spent a great deal of time writing about it and explain what it means. Now we all get it. The same applies for BYOD. We used to have to describe the acronym. Now BYOD is a word ready for the next issue of the Miriam Webster dictionary. For 2012, I believe that these two trends are here to stay. Look for some upcoming programs from SAP around helping your embrace both concepts, and check out this Consumerization of IT video I recorded at CES with our CIO Oliver Bussmann.

Here are my personal predictions for 2012.

  1. With mobile, we all know that user experience is king. In my own experience I know that I often prefer using my mobile phone over a desktop for personal apps like airline check-in, facebook and even email. Overall, my prediction is that mobile (and especially tablets) will force a rethinking of user experience for all apps. This will drive a “mobile first” mentality for many applications. We are taking this concept very seriously at SAP, and are now building many of our applications first for a mobile device. Sure, we’ll build desktop or cloud based apps where it makes sense too, but our first thought it to the mobile user. There has been a fundament container shift from ‘monitor to mobile’ and it is changing the way we build apps. Watch vendors and see if they follow suit with a mobile first mentality.
  2. I’ve been speaking with several colleagues about my next prediction. As a long time MDM fan, I struggled with the idea that “MDM is dead.” But my prediction is just that. MDM as we knew it doesn’t exist anymore. It has served its useful life and will be replaced. This year we will be forced to rethink what MDM was and understand that in a BYOD world, it is all about enterprise mobility management (EMM). You aren’t managing just a piece of hardware any more. In a BYOD world, you are managing data and applications. Godspeed MDM – welcome EMM!
  3. Mobile touches all customers. I think in 2012 we’ll see a shift beyond smart phones and tablets to new endpoints. We won’t only be talking about the mobile devices that we carry and use for work and play. We’ll be talking about all forms of connected end points (telematics, medical devices, gaming consoles, smart meters, TVs etc). You’ll see it first in many consumer devices – you’ve probably read about sensors, machine-to-machine (M2M) and the “Internet of Things”. I think this concept will start making its way more and more into enterprise thinking this year.
  4. I’ve read a lot of predictions surrounding mobile video, and I think it’s a point worth discussing. Mobile devices were designed for great video capabilities. With their large screens and smooth play, they make for a very engaging way to interact with people and information. While today you probably watch videos mostly from a consumer perspective (I’ve been obsessed with watching every episode of Prison Break on Netflix), I think this will be the year that enterprise video consumption gains signification growth. Our CIO Oliver Bussmann agrees. See a discussion on this point and more of his 2012 predictions in this video interview with SAP Imagineer Denis Browne.
  5. And finally, I don’t like to get into a lot of debate on which OS will dominate and who will be around a year from now (or 11 months from now if I’m not late). What I think we can all agree on is that the pace of change we saw in 2011 will only continue, and that new form factors, OSes, processor speeds, etc. will continue to advance at the same crazy pace.  

To quote my colleague Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, He believes (as I do) that 2012 will be a transformative year – when organizations fully embrace mobile devices, applications and services. In the EMF 2012 predications article, Philippe stated “This business transformation will not be seamless, but will provide tremendous competitive differentiation and financial benefits to organizations that embrace the mobile wave.”

To go along with my predictions, my best advice for 2012 is if you’re not on the mobile bandwagon yet, you better hurry and jump on. 2012 is going to be a wild ride!

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