Mobile technologies are at the foundation of innovation, as organizations figure out how to combine solutions such as cloud computing, social media and other tools to accomplish things they never could before, says Alex Bratton, CEO and chief geek at Lextech Global Services, a mobile app developer.
A critical part of mobile innovation is figuring out which applications specific users need and combining them for maximum effect, Bratton says.
“It’s not about one monolithic application that does a thousand things,” he says. “It’s targeted apps that work together to deliver success in the workflow. This is what a suite of apps is.”
Specific combinations of targeted apps can deliver precisely the functionality that users need. A manager likely will use a different combination of apps than a fieldworker. The IT challenge, Bratton says, is to figure out which users needs which apps and how to get them all to work together.
Getting apps to work together and share data isn’t easy, but in meeting the challenge, IT can help an organization examine its processes and improve them.
“The magic of mobility isn’t just that it’s a small screen,” Bratton says. “It actually forces us to simplify the workflow because complicated processes don’t work well here. So they force us to think about that process and re-evaluate it.”
Overcoming these challenges can deliver significant rewards. Mobile technology can bring about revolutionary changes, not just incremental improvements at the margins, Bratton says. It can even change lives.
Bratton tells the story of a fieldworker in a “rugged, industrialized job” who began using a tablet to collect data throughout the day rather than using a notebook PC to compile information after a day in the field. “Their words were, ‘This changed my life. I get to go home and see my family now. I’m not spending two hours a day entering data into that laptop at the end of the day,’” Bratton says. “That’s huge.”
Watch Bratton speak about the power of mobility in his session from CDW's Bring IT On Technology Leadership Series
For more insights and ideas from leaders in technology, check out the rest of the Bring IT On Leadership Series.