It’s Not Enough to Be Connected
I attended Enterprise Connect for the ninth time this year, but it was the first time I delivered a keynote address. With the advances in technology today I could have delivered my keynote via TelePresence from Oslo, my home town in Norway. But I chose to attend in person because in this case face-to-face was the best way to tell my story.
I spoke to how “It is not enough to be connected.” This may sound strange coming from me, especially since I represent “the” networking company, but Cisco has evolved, as technology, businesses, and customer needs have evolved. Just being connected is not enough to drive the next levels of productivity. So, we need to think beyond connectivity.
The industry statistics in the post-PC era are more than impressive – and they change rapidly.
- There are now more than 850K Android activations per day.
- Apple’s iPhone business alone is now bigger than all of Microsoft.
- Two out of three people surveyed want the flexibility to work from anywhere, and consider an office as unnecessary for being productive.
- Right now, there are 1.25 billion Windows PCs worldwide.
- Forrester reports that close to 50% of firms now issue Macs as desktop equipment.
- Two of five people surveyed would accept a lower paying job that offered device flexibility as opposed to a single IT-prescribed PC.
- Apple is now the top PC vendor if you consider an iPad a PC.
These are a pretty amazing set of stats just from the past few months — however, a number like 1.25 billion Windows PCs worldwide sounds impressive, until you compare it to mobile phones. There are now 5 billion mobile phones – and of those, 2 billion have Internet connections, a number that has doubled in the past 5 years.
One thing for certain — things are changing quickly and the evidence is pretty overwhelming. We are living in a Post-PC era. What is clear is that the monolithic client-server architecture has essentially been shattered at every level – from applications and devices, to operating systems and server architectures.
- Devices are proliferating: The PC has been joined by more than 5 billion (and counting!) mobile devices, as well as tablets, thin clients, and purpose-built Telepresence devices.
- Operating systems come in many flavors: Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, and others have joined Windows.
- Applications are everywhere: The old provisioning model of a ‘standard PC image’ has evolved into an App Store model. Today, people download about 1 billion iOS apps from Apple every month, and another billion or so from the Android marketplace (as of December 2011).
- Server architectures are evolving rapidly into cloud/mobile models: Cloud-based services consumed in apps or browsers are replacing traditional “desktop” applications. Desktop virtualization is taking off. Gartner estimates that more than 60% of server workloads and 20% of desktops will be virtualized by 2013.
In my opinion, whether you choose to work on a PC, or on the go with a smartphone or a tablet – I don’t care. I don’t care about the device: It’s your choice. I don’t care about the platform you’re running or the application you’re using; I don’t care about deployment model you or your IT team has chosen. What I do care about is people.
You may find it strange that an executive responsible for a few thousand developers doesn’t care about devices or platforms. From an executive point of view, here’s what I do care about in my own business:
- I care about creating business value and growing our business
- I care about how people work together
- I care about how people create and innovate
- I care about empowering and engaging people
After all, people create business value and the point of technology is to help drive (human) performance to new levels. Just being connected is not enough to solve my care-abouts. We need to think beyond connectivity to drive the next levels of productivity.