Defrag Blog

The “Rise of the iPhone” analogy

by Eric Norlin on Oct.17, 2009, under Uncategorized

Recently, I’ve been writing about the new innovation cycle that I think we’re in/entering, and pointing to articles that outline issues/metaphors we’ve been chatting up at Defrag for a couple of years now. But I’ve left off a piece of things in this new cycle because I haven’t had a good way to talk about it. That said, let me see if I can fumble through this…

The new innovation cycle — which is focused around a productivity boom and magnified by a jobless recovery– has two primary “sides” to the coin: the move to the cloud and leveraging the human aspect of the business process. There are two REALLY strong bridges or ties between these two sides of the coin, and they’re both illustrated by what I’ll call “the rise of the iPhone” analogy.

By any account, the iPhone has changed the way we interact with mobile devices. And, as is often the case, its rise will cause an explosion of secondary competitors (Android, Palm Pre, etc) — with the most likely scenario being that one of the secondary competitors actually turns out to the be the “winner” (that’s just history rhyming). However, what’s key for what I’m concentrating on here is the WHY of the iPhone’s success. And I think that comes down to two underlying factors:

1. The move to the cloud: It is now getting easier and easier (and making more and more sense) to have nearly every bit of “productivity software” in the cloud. Documents, spreadsheets, email, twitter, IM — even companies like Socialcast - all in the cloud and on the iPhone. That move, coupled with a new level of ease of use on the device, has people like me (and believe me, I am a LATE adopter on this) finally starting to think that I can envision a day where the mobile device is my *primary* work tool.

2. The app marketplace: The real reason the iPhone exploded wasn’t the phone - it was the application marketplace. Remember, software doesn’t sell, APPS SELL! And the “app marketplace” is a broad, new and emerging concept that is getting widespread exposure to people everywhere. What happens next? Employees wondering why there isn’t an “app marketplace” for IT in the enterprise. I can hear it already, “you know, like in the iPhone” — at which point the IT guy rolls his eyes and launches into something about it “not being that easy.” But what if it is? Or more importantly, what if –whether it’s easy or not — it’s the future of work.

The tie between the “cloud” side and the leveraging of the human aspect of the business process side lies buried in this “rise of the iPhone” analogy. Think mobility (cloud) and multiply it by application marketplaces (both internal and between enterprises).

That boom you heard was productivity.

I don’t know exactly how we get there, or exactly where this goes, but I do know that if you’re not at Defrag, you’re late to the game on this one (we just added Danny Kolke from Etelos to the agenda to talk app marketplaces). Join us — or find yourself being a follower not a leader.

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