I recently went to New York for the National Retail Federation Conference and I took a picture of all the devices (excluding my laptop) that I carried with me for use at the hotel, in the booth, and while I was at 30,000 ft.
As I think back about working with multiple devices (both issued to me and owned by me) during the week, here are some areas that impacted IT.
It has been quite an exciting day, and it started with me traveling on a red double-decker red bus and then on ‘the tube’ -- well, we are in London!
Cisco’s CTO Padmasree Warrior delivered her keynote speech, “Zero to Zetta,” on the macro industry trends driving the industry today. She discussed many of today’s hottest IT topics, from the relentless explosion of devices and content on the Internet, the rapid ascent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), to the new models of consumption of cloud computing. Within this backdrop, she talked about Cisco’s unique architectural approach to innovation and its focus on building the Intelligent Network to optimize the infrastructure in light of the changes facing the industry today.
I was at a technology conference in London late last year, and the topic was mobility – and, inevitably, BYOD: bring your own device.
The mobility evangelists (and they dominated the four-person panel) waxed poetic as to all the fabulous things that iPhone- and Android-armed employees could bring to the business. Rich content! Social networking! Collaboration! Meeting each other for lunch!
Then a grouchy American analyst walked to the podium, and growled two words: “Data Security.”
And silence fell like a thick blanket over the room.
BYOD is one of technology’s topics du jour, an issue that will create a few tons of PowerPoint and a fresh revenue line for consulting firms in the next 18-24 months.
Cynicism aside, it’s a very important issue – and not just for ICT shops. And, it’s an issue that will be easily misunderstood.
Yes, BYOD is about data security. Yes, there’s a need for hard and high corporate security walls. Clearly-stated rules. And devout attention to PCI.
But beyond that, let’s pause and reflect.
BYOD is not about the devices. The devices will continue to evolve at Moore’s Law speed, and the stuff the kids are bringing into the office today will be obsolete by the time your new policies reach the governance committee.
Truth be told, BYOD is about the big tech-driven generational change in expectations and behavior. It’s about the new normal of life with the Internet. Life in the Internet.
It’s about Millennials who use technology like I use a knife and fork. It’s about a tsunami wave flooding every phase of business life – from the headquarters office to the distribution center to the store.
And this tsunami will not just touch devices. It will drive change in the cloud content that employees will use. It will drive change in their willingness to sit in cubes (versus do the work at home or at Starbucks or wherever there’s a fast wireless pipe). It will drive change in their expectations for interaction and participation, for education and training.
It will even touch the glowing third rail of data security. (As this is the generation of Wiki-Leaks and unbridled transparency on Facebook.)
Significant technology developments continue to hit the USA K-12 market.
With Apple’s digital textbook announcement last week, we are now likely to see more acceleration of the spread of new student devices. Is this major announcement by the company that rapidly transformed computing, music and mobility the boost schools need to drive toward the promise of digital technology for all students? And what’s the resulting impact on device and computing trends in K-12?
On the topic of devices, we asked two of our leading K-12 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) customers to give us their opinions. BYOD? 1:1? What’s the better course to pursue? The answer would make Nike proud. While both noted device and equity issues one way or another, all said simply” “Just do it!”. What’s even more interesting – it wasn’t actually all about the device.
OK, retail technologists. It’s the new year. Time for resolutions.
Grab the pencil (so you can revise, not erase) and the notepad, plug in the earbuds, and settle into your thinking chair. And take the first step in getting rid of those old bad habits.
Resolve to address those big, ugly, long-standing structural weaknesses that weigh you down like a ball and chain. Weaknesses like the non-integrated, multiple databases residing within the legacy applications. Like the oft taken-for-granted time-to-capability performance (caused by a legacy store architecture) that measures all-store roll-outs in years and gets a constant eyeroll and deep sigh from the SVP of Ops.
Resolve to look that ancient, deeply-customized application that you prop each year with more people and money squarely in the eye.
Resolve to lose weight. Heavy, power-sucking, PO-abusing CPU weight. Virtualize the data centers and start the process of removing CPUs (and all the break-fix maintenance costs) from the store. Thin is in. So is operational simplicity.
Resolve to demand value from your vendors – which, as we all know, is different from the lowest price. Demand that they help you solve specific business problems. Demand that they bring their best strategists and thinkers to the table.
Resolve to ignore all the one-off shiny technologies du jour. Easier said than done, especially with NRF around the corner, the marketing SVP sputtering that “everyone else is doing it,” and the CEO remarking that his nephew had one at Christmas. (Mobility! Smartphone apps! Tablets! Interactive kiosks! Ooooh!)
Resolve to embrace BYOD, and push it forward. Your corporate leaders of tomorrow won’t necessarily thank you. It’s just that they’ll be willing to work for you instead of the competition.
Resolve to toss out of the room any consultant or vendor sales rep who talks about “customer experience” without detailed considerations of your segment, your price point, your brand promise, and the overall customer journey by persona – all the way through service and loyalty. Resolve to ask them how many times they’ve visited your stores.