Archive | March 27, 2014

Microsoft brings Office to the iPAD – do I just need one device now?

Today’s news is dominated by Microsoft’s announcement of Office being ported to IOS, delivering what all iPAD users, particularly those in enterprise, have been waiting for.

On the run up to this announcement, I’ve been debating with colleagues whether this move will finally see the iPad elevate its position to a core productivity device, rather than, as we tend to see, an additive device.

For some, this news will form the final piece of the puzzle to allow them to use the iPad as their sole device, and they will take little persuasion to try to adopt and embrace this.   For me, I don’t think that I would be able to work on a tablet to do all of the things I need to do.

With this announcement were a couple of key points. The free version doesn’t provide document editing, to get that requires an Office 365 subscription. The vast majority of business uses will no doubt need the advanced features of the paid version, and will be able to easily justify the cost.  This will no doubt also be positive for Office 365 uptake and may encourage customers to look at exploiting other 365 features.

I think bringing the power of Office to the iPad is a great move, and one which was inevitable given how the platform market has moved and the significance of the Office business in Microsoft.  Whilst there are other productivity applications available, many of which I have used and are very good, native Office will provide a much better and more familiar experience and remove some of the “niggles” that can appear with files formats etc.  But going back to my personal use and needs, productivity apps are all about multi-tasking and there are still some fundamental limitations to true multitasking on a tablet compared to how you use a desktop that are more difficult to overcome and will keep me with a laptop for some time I suspect.

We also need to consider this in context of a full mobile delivery platform.  While Office is arguably the key application suite for many use cases, and this move is a significant one for several reasons, we can’t just get hung up on the apps.  Of equal importance is content delivery, where will users store and access all of these Office files in a secure and governed way, across teams and across other devices? We consider an integrated mobility solution as comprised of applications, content and policy controls, so need to cater for each aspect equally for maximum value

I will be keeping my eye out around the office and in the customers I visit for users who make the full shift to a single tablet device now. I do know for many that’s the objective, so I won’t be surprised if some can make it work



(written from Office on a laptop, for now!)

If “IT doesn’t change “IT” stays the same.

We are in the midst of interesting times. Is there ever a day when the bulk of the dialogue isn’t about the implications of “change”. Now more than any time in the last 25 years the rate of “IT” (Information Technology) change is more likely to fill the average enterprise decision maker with dread rather than the childlike excitement of yesteryear. But is “IT” really as transformational as commonly inferred – is the digital DNA always discussed that underpins modern business and society really that fundamental?

A very important topic but one often only discussed in economics or business schools is one of General Purpose Technologies (GPTs). A GPT and there have been less than 25 identified and universally accepted, is a technology introduction that permeates society then fundamentally transforms a whole economy (the real definition is much much longer than that). If we roll back in time the advent of the steam or the internal combustion engine and also electricity are examples of GPTs that are easy to quantify when based on transformational impact.  It should be no surprise that “IT” or Information Technology is also considered a GPT but the in my opinion the current and future resonance of “IT” equips it with the potential to surpass many of the better known GPTs to date by a magnitude (please note, this is a very loose concept as for example without electricity, “IT” doesn’t function).

We have witnessed and been affected by “IT” over the last 40 years to a previously unimaginable degree. However the last ten years has propelled this beyond the realms of science fiction or even the minds of the freest thinking individuals.

We are bordering on an era of IT evolution and advancement potentially tempered only by a lack of imaginative thinking or dare I say it initial financial funding, rather than capability. It now seems virtually anything is possible. And there lies the problem, paradigm or opportunity, the expectations of users / customers of IT are now at a level where they also believe that “anything is possible” and potentially pour scorn on anyone who fails to help them to realise it. This means that not only must “IT” continue to change but so too must the services and solutions providers that deliver “IT” outcomes.

Successful infrastructure product supply and installation services are expected, not optional.  Moving forwards the primary “IT” value add is to help individuals or organisations to realise the transformational affect or outcome of an IT solution deployment that is personal to them. This will not only require a different sales and consulting approach from today’s services and solutions providers but also an attitude change from customers who may need to revise how they position or frame the business benefits they seek from any deployed solution.

Never has the “IT” landscape looked more exciting with the promise of the future truly inspiring to an indescribable degree. In summary. if “IT” doesn’t change “IT” stays the same – we know for certain it will change and therefore we MUST all continue to change.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: @Colinwccuk