Enterprise Mobility: iPad 2, LinkedIn IPO, Microsoft Azure Steal Tech Headlines in First Half of 2011
LinkedIn Goes Public
LinkedIn? No. 1? Really? Yes, really. LinkedIn was built from the ground up as a business-to-business social network. It grew up in the shadow of Facebook, but recently proved its value in the public funding marketplace. The LinkedIn public offering will touch off lots of companies thinking that maybe they should be building B2B products and services rather than one more consumer social network.
Microsoft Races for the Cloud
Microsoft has a history of being second or third to the big trend party (the GUI, office suites, the Internet, tablets all come immediately to mind). But there is a mountain of cash in Redmond and an abiding need not be left out of any enterprise sales opportunity. Azure was introduced before the start of this year, but the real marketing and developer romancing is just starting.
Apple's iPad 2 Alarm Wakes Up Sleepy Competitors
For whatever ails media companies, software developers, chip makers and just about the entire tech world, the prescription is the same: Take a tablet. Tablets are leading Steve Jobs charge into the post-PC era and all the tech vendors are playing serious catch-up. What about the business-to-business world? The new cool business traveler would not dare to be seen with a clunky laptop anymore. Its an iPad or iPad 2 or nothing.
Smartphones are the new rulers of the business mobility world. They are fast, powerful and ready to spew up apps at the swipe of a finger. The business world is now ready to build out its business app stores as soon as security, privacy and compliance concerns are well addressed. The smartphone also proved to be the hardware wedge for Google to enter the business space much more so than the Google search boxes that the company has been trying to peddle to business.
Business Social Replaces Business Casual
Facebook and Twitter have proved to be the way consumers communicate everything from the most trivialWhat did you have for breakfast?to the most seriousThe revolution is underway! Businesses which have relied on email and conference ad nauseum are instituting social networks as fast as their IT departments can install Salesforces Chatter, Yammer or whatever social network functions best behind the corporate firewall.
Conversation Trumps Blinky Banners
Business technology customers have no more desire to be yelled at than the consumer customer. They want conversation, technical information at the time they require the data, and help building business justifications for their tech investments. Does that sound so radical? Well, it is very radical in the world of blinky banners.
The Need for Speed
No matter how fast the companys network is running, it is not fast enough. That is just the truth. The vendors that have concentrated on creating the components for very high-speed networks (Juniper for one) are being rewarded with revenue while vendors that decided to jump into their partners businesses (that would be you Cisco), are being challenged. Multimedia, real-time business analytics and the rise of machine-to-machine instrumented communication will continue to drive the need for speed.
IPv4 Addresses Hit Empty
Just as there is never sufficient network speed, there is always the need for additional IP addresses. The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is going on right now. So far, so good, but understanding where your company resides in its IP migration should be near the top of the IT agenda right now.
Business Applications Redefined
Business applications are transitioning from being boring and predictable to real time, location-aware and exciting. The app store model is fully under development in the business space. Applications that are built around sensors communicating to one another, customer sentiment being measured and addressed, and location-based product and service offerings are helping to bring an entire new meaning to business intelligence.
B2B Rearranges the Dollars in the IT Wallet
The traditional complaint of the business IT executives was, How can we do any new stuff when maintaining the old stuff eats up all our dollars? That was a legitimate complaint before cloud service offerings, app stores on demand, prosumers using their salaries to buy the next great hardware device and technology investment once again being viewed as a strategic business differentiator. The dollars in the wallet are being rearranged and invested, it is just not clear that the same traditional vendors will be the beneficiaries.