The Changing Role of IT: What iPhone 6, iOS 8 Mean to Business
Every time Apple comes out with a new product, the media is abuzz with excitement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise — Apple is the technology leader who not only has its pulse on future technology trends, but sets the trends.
The launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the week before last didn’t disappoint — it was filled with fanfare, color and a new toy (i.e. the Apple Watch). However, as the founder of an app development platform company, it was a sleeper. Why? From the consumer technology perspective, it didn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know — i.e. the world continues to shift away from PCs to mobile computing (hence the iPhone 6’s larger screens, faster processor, extra battery life and 128 GB storage capacity); and native apps along with their push notifications have won the battle over responsive design mobile websites with regard to content delivery and user experience (native apps will be the software that allow for information to be displayed on the Apple Watch operating system).
Notwithstanding this, what I found interesting about the launch was the innuendo (or lack thereof) regarding the importance of the new devices to the future of mobile and business. Keep in mind, it was only two months ago that Apple and IBM announced their partnership with respect to enterprise mobility and business apps. Since then, not a whole lot has been said about what this partnership means or is intended to accomplish.
Regardless of whether the importance of the new Apple devices to business was articulated or not during the launch, there definitely is a correlation between the new hardware, Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 8, and the future of business computing — particularly as it applies to the role of IT.
One of the questions being asked around corporate America (and beyond) is how do we take advantage of the mobile device that almost all of our important audiences — employees, customers, partners, vendors, etc. — have in their possession all the time? How do we go about creating native apps to deliver information through the mobile device? Should the role of implementing a mobile business strategy exist within IT departments who have their own agendas and might not fully understand or empathize with the day-to-day issues business unit leaders face in their work? Or should it reside with the business leaders who understand their respective challenges and may even have thoughts on how mobile can help them?
Depending on the organization and the infrastructure and resources it possesses, such a transfer of responsibility from IT to business units may happen sooner than later. Presently, businesses are developing native apps in the following ways:
- Internal development for those that have appropriate resources on staff to do so
- Outsourcing development to third party developers for those that have financial resources to allocate
- Nothing at all because they don’t know where to start and fear the time and expense that might be involved
For those without resources to develop native apps, the good news is that developers are out there who realize the importance of giving non-IT professionals the ability to control their destiny in a non-technical way. And, because of them, solutions are starting to crop up that allow them to take advantage of mobile technology, to create their own native apps and to quickly, cost effectively and securely effectuate a mobile business strategy. Given the efficiency and cost savings of working with these types of developers and using these types of platforms, it is only a matter of time before all business professionals, even those from organizations with more sophisticated IT infrastructures, look outside of their organizations to develop mobile solutions.
So what does this mean for IT? As we see from Apple and their new devices, the paradigm has already changed with respect to how companies deliver and communicate content, data and information. Even today, mobile computing and the cloud have rendered personal computers less relevant.
The next paradigm shift to occur will be the changing role of IT from tactical practitioner to consultant charged with helping business units look beyond the walls of their organizations to determine how best to use mobile technology in their work.
Jeff Corbin is founder and CEO of APPrise Mobile.
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