Global CIO: Top 10 Tech Stories Of The Year #8: The Mobile Revolution
Mobile devices and applications aren't just turning the IT world upside down—they're disrupting huge markets and industries. Which side of this revolution are you on?
At a Google event in April featuring several hundred CIOs and IT executives in the audience, CEO Eric Schmidt was asked if the current profusion of electronic devices and forms of communication will lead inevitably to what the questioner called "communication overkill." Here's Schmidt's answer:
"No! You're obviously not young enough anymore! Try finding an 18-year-old—watch what they do! The level of input"—(interviewer jumps in and asks if it's a matter of having an on/off switch)—"many people have searched for an 'Off' button for their teenager, trust me—it just doesn't work," said Schmidt as the audience laughed.
"One of the questions you really want to ask about this is," Schmidt continued, "at the end of the day, what is new? If you go back to what have we been building over the years, and what is really new? There is one thing that's really new, and it's that everything is 'now'. What you're really referring to is not the fact that you have so many parallel streams but the fact that they're all current, right?"
If that part of Schmidt's premise is true—that everything is now, everything is current—then how does that reality stack up against the level of priority and sense of commitment and urgency you're applying to mobile initiatives in your organization? Or with your customers?
As a full believer in the everything-is-now concept, Schmidt offered this thought on why CIOs should be deploying their best people on mobile projects:
"In other words, you should literally put your best people and your best team on a mobile app that enables a business process," Schmidt said. "And by the way, everybody has these, right, cause ultimately every company has people who are in motion, they're moving forward, they're with the customer.
"So imagine there are all sorts of sales-tracking applications—if that's where all the real action's going to be, then making sure that you know what's going on with all those mobile devices within the firm—because your employees will come in and they'll want interoperability and they'll also want safety and security too and those will be really important." (You can read more on Schmidt's perspectives on mobility in Global CIO: Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Top 10 Reasons Why Mobile Is #1.)
Or consider these comments on the astonishing changes mobile and social technologies are having in the retail sector, according to Oracle senior VP Duncan Angove, who heads the company's retail-industry business: