This past week the market has been buzzing with Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram. Maybe the most interesting commentary from the news coverage is the suggestion that Instragram helps fill Facebook’s gap in mobile strategy. Instagram has been mobile first from inception and seems to be pointing the way to future innovation in consumer technology.
None of this should come as a surprise as Facebook’s CTO Bret Taylor recently remarked,
“[Mobile] is what Mark Zuckerberg would have made eight years ago if the technology was available at the time.” It turns out the opportunity cost of the mobile innovation delta after eight years is $1 billon.
Why is mobile so important in the development process? The benefits are summarized nicely by S. Shyam Sundar, a director of the Media Effects Research Lab at Pennsylvania State University,
“People are living in the moment and they want to share in the moment,” Professor Sundar said. “Mobile gives you that immediacy and convenience.”
If mobile, immediacy and convenience are so important, why can’t we get them at work? Why shouldn’t enterprise applications work the same way? Businesses are moving increasingly to real-time, follow the sun global operations with increasingly distributed employees, partners, suppliers and customers. Immediacy, convenience and connectivity have never been more important.
The reality is that if Facebook has been challenged with mobility - and they have 425 million mobile users - enterprise software vendors, and their customers are even further behind the curve.
Today many enterprise software companies are promoting their mobile functionality, but the mobile experience leaves a lot to be desired with restricted functionality, bolted on-applications, inconsistent user experiences and a lot of user discontent. And to add insult to injury, the mobile add-on usually comes at an extra cost.
If there’s ever a category that is screaming for innovation in mobile it is enterprise software. The good news is that the enterprise market is moving – Workday just announced Workday16 with new HTML5 functionality – once again raising the bar for the old world ERP vendors and opening up new options for enterprises to take advantage of mobility to manage better.
There is a new wave of business to business enterprise software innovation coming as next generation cloud companies bring new functionality to market. With the explosive growth of the iPad, the rise of mobility and the broad consumerization of the enterprise, the next wave of disruptive innovation is likely to come from an emerging generation of enterprise software vendors who deliver immediacy, convenience and business value with an experience built mobile first.
The future is bright. The future is mobile.