There’s an old joke that is along the lines of asking a stranger directions to somewhere and the stranger responding
“Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”
Yesterday I shared some of my Going Mobile experiences (where I spent a week with nothing but a mobile phone on which to work) with a group of people from across a number of large organisations. My working patterns are generally very mobile, and very focused on my smartphone. What the week of only having my smartphone to work on taught me above all else was that a phone these days is not only just a computing device, but it’s also probably become my most important device. Thinking of delivering services to mobile as an after thought or as a “value add” is caught in a mindset that is stuck with the idea that the only proper business use of technology is sitting at a desk, banging away on a keyboard.
But for my work, and for my business, a device-independent technology strategy is easy. I’ve started from scratch, have everything in the Cloud, and only use services (for the most part) that are mobile-enabled either through apps, through a browser, or through a combination of both. The majority of my work is in Google Apps for Work. I use WordPress for Blogging. Twitter and LinkedIn are crucial tools for helping me stay connected with people. I use Zoho for invoicing. I use Expensify for expense management. My tax return is done online, as is all my banking. I had a green field, and I’ve built upon it using cheap, reliable, secure technology none of which I have the headache of actually running myself.
Most businesses aren’t like that. But as I’ve argued before, it’s far better to start by thinking about where you want to be, and then try to plot a path there. Too often we become constrained by the reality of our past and present, and then can’t even ask for directions.