by Clive Gold, Marketing CTO, EMC Australia and New Zealand
I am starting to love my iPad! That is hard for me to say as I have publicly stated I am not an Apple fan. The reason for this is that I am fundamentally a hacker; I like to take things apart. I’ve always been that way which is why my mother likes to say, “Once Clive touches it, it turns into broken!”
There are two ways to view this tablet phenomenon, smaller and lighter but the same-old stuff or the new user-interface to computing! I’m guessing that if you are in the first group, you have not used a tablet in anger, and don’t understand the needs of your prospective employees!
So if tablet computing is not about the overcoming the deficiencies of laptops; size, weight, instant on, etc. Perhaps you think it’s about the improvement of the tools you already deliver on the laptop, like the fantastic Webex client. No its not! It’s the change in the user paradigm; it is the result centric, touch and use, information rich user interface. It’s designed with the emphasis on ‘user’ rather than ‘interface’!
Let me expand, recently VMware acquired Sliderocket, here. Interesting isn’t it, because your first question is what has cloud-slide-presentations have to do with the world leaders in virtualisation? (Can’t be PaaS that’s already taken… maybe we move into FLA, from FLA, because TLA don’t work!)
I never really understood how to sell the concept of VDI to the end user, we are going to give you just what you have now, but in a different way, and perhaps complicate you life a bit! Now VDI makes great sense and provides a lower TCO from an IT point of view. Perhaps the power user can get access to more computing resources, but for the average person.. it’s still the same experience that was invented about 20 years ago!
Now, imagine you are the bright new graduate your organisation is trying to hire. You are always connected and device independent, your environment is a composition of services providing you the information and utilities to supplement and support your lifestyle. You walk into the interview and you ask about what will be provided to support and supplement your work!
The picture that is painted for you is one of being tethered to a machine, restricted to a bunch of disparate applications, (each with its own training and password), a fundamental Office suite, e-mail limits, file sharing methods, remote access protocols, and so on… not a pretty thought!
To expand let me tell you about EMC Wire. This is an EMC internal iPad application, it gives me access to the internal EMC information that I need. Why is this great, well lets contrast the two methods I have to access this data?
- With EMC Wire: I walk into the airport lounge, turn on, enter security code and touch the icon, begin reading, listening or watching.
- Without EMC Wire:
I walk into the airport lounge, boot-up the laptop, logon to the laptop, establish a VPN session, login to system 1 and enter password, login to system 2 and enter password, (repeat3 more times), begin reading, listening or watching. (If the codec is correct, you have enough power and it’s not time to board!)
So why is this so scary to IT people? Because it removes you one more step from the technology. Normal people should not know what a file system is, what a directory looks like and what impact the extension of a file name has on them! When EMC acquired Paul Maritz, (sorry I meant PI – but given what’s happened maybe that what it was!), the technology he was working on was based on this idea, that the information presented to the user should be relevant to what they were working on. In the background, we all know this was about automating classification, tracking and trending, but to the user it was magically having the data you needed at your fingertips!
To me the tablet is about ‘software appliances’, rather than traditional applications. The ‘appliance’ idea provides a self-service, dedicated, rich experience, very different to the traditional ‘client-server’ applications that we fundamentally all use today. After all the amount of computing capability we carry with us today, dwarfs the systems of 20 years ago, so how is this capability being used to alter the interaction and value delivered by IT? Is it just about ‘gestures’ rather than mouse clicks, or is there a more fundamental shift happening.