For at least the past two decades, knowledge workers have been firmly rooted in the PC era. Within enterprises of all sizes, that meant that the predominant operating system on the desktop – and often in the data center — was Windows.
We had unprecedented productivity gains during this time, no doubt, but I would now firmly assert that as Ray Ozzie suggested — and Steve Jobs was more than happy to reinforce — that we are transitioning to an era where PCs play a secondary role, if at all – this is the Post PC era.
I believe we will now have more access to more information on more devices from more applications than ever before.
It’s not as if PCs are going away, so what do we mean by the “Post-PC Era”? PCs have their place. They’re still useful business tools. But it’s clear: We are rapidly evolving from a predominantly client-server world to one in which the Windows PC is just another device in a broad list of options.
We now have many choices in devices – even the option to perform the same tasks on different devices depending on our preferences at different times. Everything is anchored by persistent services that enable device portability and mobility.
Once upon a time, I dreaded having to replace my mobile phone or PC. The transition invariably brought with it lost data, lost time, lost sanity… But I can now upgrade from one device to another fairly quickly without breaking much of a sweat. And I really need that ability if I want to keep up with the latest advances in technology.
Although they’ve performed well for over two decades, traditional business tools and infrastructure based around the desktop PC and office-productivity software no longer exclusively fit the modern knowledge worker nor the global distributed form of 21st century work.
A colleague of mine with close to 30 years experience in financial services recently returned from a business trip to Kuala Lumpur where he attended a financial services CIO summit. One of the messages he heard again and again was the quest for simplicity.
The CIOs were looking for solutions that are not simplistic, but rather simple – simple to implement, simple to maintain and simple to use.
Not a new concept, but one we need to constantly remind ourselves of as we use technology as an enabler. Key lessons learned to keep in-mind include:
It’s not about the technology, it’s about delivering improved capability and business value
Get the users involved early and often
Ensure both the business and the technology sides are aligned
It’s about people, process and technology
The list can go on, but let’s return to simplicity. When we look at today’s distributed computing environment, it harkens back to the early 1990s when the battle raged between OS2 and Windows. We all know the result and now PCs, in a client-server architecture, rule the day. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the client-server environment is anything but simple which is why we are moving into a post PC era. I would argue that a critical part of this shift is the need to drive to simplicity.
A brief example may help paint the picture for you. We recently worked with a large European bank that was facing a far-reaching desktop operating system upgrade. To replace the old with the new would not have solved one nagging problem: it took over 20 minutes to boot up, sign in and start using a desktop. All the best intentions lead to increased complexity and a lot of lost productivity.
Do the math: 1,000 people signing in once a day lose a total of 333 hours of productivity every day. That’s 8 weeks of lost productivity in the first half hour of each work day. Transitioning to a virtual desktop environment, with Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure(V XI) and services, brought the sign-in time down to seconds, not minutes, while simplifying overall desktop management, which ultimately helped increase productivity.
The challenges we face in today’s post-PC era include overcoming complexity, but as Edward de Bono says, “Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple.” Now is the time to drive for simplicity.
At the Cisco Collaboration Summit 2011 in Miami today, Cisco unveiled new solutions to help people collaborate more effectively in the post-PC era. This era moves past the limitations of “PC centric” communication and instead evokes a “people centric” approach where people can collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device or application. The advancements Cisco is introducing today --from Cisco WebEx to Cisco Jabber — can change how people meet utilizing expanded cloud-based services, and can give workers an easy way to collaborate directly from Web applications they use every day, driving new levels of business productivity and competitiveness.
I sat down with Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager of the Cisco Collaboration Software Group, at Collaboration Summit to learn more about these new announcements and how they fit into Cisco strategy.
You may hear Cisco talk about “Mobile. Social. Visual. Virtual.”. I sat down with Lynn Lucas, head of Collaboration Marketing at Cisco, and asked her to articulate what this means and give some examples of how this has influenced our Cisco Collaboration portfolio.
Leading into our collaborative workspace announcement, we are conducting a series of interviews with Read More »