Apple is the new IBM

I've been reflecting on the recent tour de force developer conference held by Apple called the WWDC. In it CEO Tim Cook and his team presented a sweeping overhaul of the software systems that power the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. I say computers, because these phones we carry are powerful computers in nice friendly packages. 

Since Steve Jobs' death Apple seemed to be running on fumes. A new phone, a new Mac, etc., but nothing new or powerful or innovative was presented to us technologists since Jobs sadly left the scene. Util now that is. WWDC was a ground breaking event that unveiled new and powerful software that proves that we're clearly in a  post-Jobs Apple era and that era looks bright indeed. 

The details are unimportant, but  few points. Apple has changed its spots when it comes to 3rd party access to the Apple operating systems. Once closed and limited  it's now open and agnostic. Android's lead in this key area evaporated instantly. Apple also has doubled down on the cloud as the technology to link their devices. Historically the cloud has been a blind spot and a weakness. If they deliver on their promises it could become a key strength. 

And last - they remain miles behind Windows on the desktop with only 80 million Macs world wide vs 1.2 billion Windows machines. I've always found the Mac desktop a mismash of styles and UX and wondered why people like it so much. No more. With the latest release the UX has been fixed. It's now as neat and tidy and coherent as their gorgeous hardware. I might even buy a Mac now!

In a stroke then, Apple has unified and opened their platforms in a way not seen since the heyday of IBM in the 1970's. A time when IBM made billions selling hardware and gave the software away for free. (Hey - just like Apple does!)  If they can pull it off and deliver as advertised it's a computing revolution. 

I can't wait to see Microsoft and Google's response! 

Cloud computing - the next wave is here

I was in to see a fascinating company this past week. They have tripled in size in 18 months and plan to double again in the coming year.  They started as 300 staff and they are quickly heading to 2,000. They had one location and before long they will have offices in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. money and big new contracts are pouring in and life is good, right? 

Well, no actually. Their CEO and COO and Heads of HR, sales and support say, "our IT sucks" and it's holding us back. Ah, I say, in your case IT stands for 'In Trouble' wen it should stand for 'Innovative Transformation.'  I've seen this many times before. In-house IT toils away using last century tools and solutions when the answers are obvious and available.

Need to deliver secure connectivity, email, shared work spaces? Last century they answer was Exchange and Sharepoint and an in-house data center. This century's answer is Googls Docs and Gmail. Trying to deliver front line CRM or back office HR and Financials across a massively growing firm? Last century the answer was Seibel and Oracle or Peoplesoft. Now the answer could be Salesforce and Workday. More function, longer reach all at less cost and risk. All available now. 

The next revolution is not coming. The next revolution is here. Are you getting the best out of your IT? 

Mobile first - Cloud first

Well my, oh my. Even Microsoft gets it now. The desktop is dead. Browsers are dead. Mobile is king and mobile needs cloud-based services that scale like nobody's tomorrow. Yes even Microsoft gets it. Imagine that.

PC sales are down 15% year over year, and yes some of that has to do with the disaster that is Windows 8, but the trends are clear. iPhone sales are up, Android sales are up, tablets and PCs are down.  Facebook, for goodness sake is taking more than 50% of their revenue from mobile now. The trends couldn't be clearer. 

People now take their computing with them. In their pockets. Ready 24/7 to access apps, to search to communicate to stay connected. That lump of computer in your study, bedroom or office feels so last century. Because it is.

The questions dear readers (and there are increasing numbers of you, thank you very much) the question is ...   Is your business on this new trend line? Are you staying connected with your customers on their 24/7 Galaxy 5 or on that lump of hardware sitting turned off in the corner of their bedroom?

Look around your management team in your next ExCom meeting and ask yourself if they get it? And if they don't what's it gonna take to join the 21st century?