Month: October 2012

Tablets in the Enterprise and BYOD strategies

A couple of observations about tablets in the enterprise:

  • Tablets of all dimensions have a role in enterprise use, as do all types of personal computing devices.
  • BYOD is certainly a challenge for some organizations, but is a reminder of how we should have been managing data all along.

Tablets and other personal computing devices in the enterprise
One reaction to Apple’s iPad mini last week was that it would change the dynamic of Apple’s market for tablets since a 7″ inch tablet is more appropriate for consumers so enterprises would stick to the 10″ versions. The only thing correct about this view is that the tablet market will change. But we don’t know how – use-cases are evolving and there are way too many variables beyond physical size. It seems just as likely that the iPad mini form-factor could grow faster in enterprises than the full size iPad. In any case there are certainly enterprise use cases for a smaller, cheaper iPad, especially since those seem to be the only significant differences, and there is no apparent app development cost or learning curve further easing enterprise adoption.

But the bigger point is that enterprises need to be able to support not only multiple tablet and smartphone form factors but a large subset of an unpredictably large set of personal device types.

This is not a new challenge, it is simply one that is accelerating because of the decreasing costs and increasing ease of device development. “Personal” devices in enterprises are not new – employees have often used their own personal computers especially as they shrunk in cost and to BYOD notebook size. Tablets and phones are the next step, but enterprises will soon be dealing with watches, wearable computing, and implants which is why…

BYOD strategies need to focus on the data not the devices
The BYOD continuum is also largely additive – employees aren’t just replacing devices but often using multiple devices to access and process much of the same data – keeping up with the variety and volume and versions of personal devices is hopeless. A BYOD management strategy that focuses on device management will at best have a negative impact on productivity, will certainly increase costs, and most likely fail. There are environments and applications where data security is critical enough to warrant the overhead of a device management strategy that approaches being fail-proof, but even in these cases the focus should be on the data itself with device control as a backup where it makes sense.

It may not be much easier to manage the data independently but that’s the ball to keep your eye on.

Frank Gilbane interview on Big Data

Big data is something we cover at our conference and this puzzles some given our audience of content managers, digital marketers, and IT, so I posted Why Big Data is important to Gilbane Conference attendees on gilbane.com to explain why. In the post I also included a list of the presentations at Gilbane Boston that address big data. We don’t have a dedicated track for big data at the conference but there are six presentations including a keynote.

I was also interviewed on the CMS-Connected internet news program about big data the same week, which gave me an opportunity to answer some additional questions about big data and its relevance to the same kind of  audience. There is still a lot more to say about this, but the post and the interview combined cover the basics.

The CMS-Connected show was an hour long and also included Scott and Tyler interviewing Rob Rose on big data and other topics. You can see the entire show here, or just the 12 twelve minute interview with me below.

Private Companies and Public Companies – Sizing up IT Spending

One aspect of the Global 5000 company database is that we include all types, shapes and locations of companies including those that are publicly listed as well as private firms. For those who sell to corporations (as opposed to consumers) there is a great deal of interest in private companies. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that public companies have to disclose so much about their size, shape and all aspects of their organizations – most everyone knows or can find out what they need to. Privates, on the other hand, are less well known and hold the allure that there is great, undiscovered opportunity in there.

To get a sense of the dynamics of the public/private we examined a number of metrics related to companies in the Global 5000 database.  It is true that more large companies are publicly traded. Of the 5000 companies, nearly 4,000 are public and just over 1,000 are private. That is the inverse of the market as a whole where most companies in any country or industry are private. Here are a few facts about each group.

  • The average revenue for a public company in the Global 5000 is $10.3 billion while the private companies averaged $10.6 billion
  • Public companies reported an average revenue per employee of $214,000 while private companies were just over $282,000
  • For both 2010 and 2011, revenue for both public and private companies grew by slightly more than 11.5%. Virtually no difference.
  • In both cases, IT spending per company is over $290 million and approximately 2.7% of revenue.
  • Total IT spending for Global 5000 public companies is approximately $1.1 trillion while private Global 5000 companies will spend about $300 billion.

The bottom line here is that big is big. It does not make much difference if the company is public or private, the big guys will spend a lot on a wide variety of products and services including IT products and services. The real difference is in the number of these large opportunities there are. Just because we find a few of these nuggets among the privates, does not mean all privates look alike.  Most are quite a bit smaller.

Learn more about more the [yellow]Global 5000 database[/yellow]

Tablet market evolution and mobile development strategies

It was only about a year ago that the tablet market was only really about general-purpose tablets. There was the dominant iPad, and the fragmented Android market. Ebook readers were a separate animal altogether, although the anticipated release of the first Kindle Fire raised the question of whether it would bridge the general-purpose and ebook market.

In some ways it did, adding enough apps and internet access that it was hard not to sneak in some work email or web research even when your laptop or iPad was purposely left at home for the weekend away with the family. But of course Amazon’s business model was/is different – a subsidized device to increase the sale of content. And Amazon’s use of Android was significantly more customized than other Android tablets.

The folks over at Tech.pinions continue to be a must-read for anyone following/investing in the tablet market. John Kirk in Battle of The Tablet Business Models: Lessons Learned and a Look Ahead, argues that the future of the tablet model will be determined by the business models behind them, and points out some consistencies and lack thereof between the major players, Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung and Microsoft. He is surely right that too often commentators and analysts have focused on hardware characteristics and software and not paid enough attention to business models. However, product capabilities can either create new business model possibilities or prevent their success so also help determine the landscape. For example, a non-glare, color display with low power requirements that combines the best of an iPad and a Kindle will certainly have a material effect on the market. In any case John’s post contains a number of nuggets.

Another aspect to consider in tablet market evolution is the difference between enterprise and consumer tablet markets. We’ll look at that in another post.

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