You may build you own IT applications, but ONLY if:
1) They support your business Core functions and
2) It adds substancial commercial advantage and
3) Time To Market is less than 6 months
I use super safe passwords. We are talking extremely safe. Totally unbreakable.
For me that is. I always keep forgetting the tons of user id's and passwords needed to use computing and Internet. I was therefor greatly surprised when registering for Twitterfeed the other week- I didn't have to make up another internet identify but was allowed to reuse one I already had – like Facebook or Google. Without Twitterfeed being affiliated with Google or Facebook but enabled by something called Open ID. “Really cool” I thought!
Also very convenient is Instagram. Having snapped a picture with your smartphone you can choose to share it in other networks like Facebook, Twitter and all the other majors with a click. Not only cool because it's so easy to share but also because Instagram doesn't lock up the data (your picture) I'm their own network. That's having courage in your business model if you ask me!
Friends, it's pretty clear that Consumer IT won this one.
Since ALL TIMES Corporations and Corporate IT have been spearheading development and functionality. So we dragged Windows back to our homes and private lives and so we spent a fortune on MS Office, Photoshop and Tank-sized PCs.
Thank God SAP never released a Home-edition. That would have sent many good families to the street – broke and totally confused.
Now that have ALL changed. Very fast and in fact so fast not everyone noticed. Or to be correct, not many at all noticed. Yet. But if you are in the trade it is time to wake up and pay attention.
Swarms of applications, not officialy affiliated, sharing data and credentials are the future of corporate IT systems. It is the future of ALL IT. And this both within your company AND beyond. If you want to connect and do e-business with another company you just connect. Like placing a call, like sending a mail.
This is happening RIGHT NOW on a GLOBAL SCALE on the consumer side. But us on the corporate IT side are still stuck in Windows XP-dead-end-land. Afraid to admit we lost, if I'm kind – never realized that we did if I'm not!
So get over the pride! Get over that we lost the battle for development and start moving.
In the end only the dinosaurs will stay with the dinosaur systems. And we all know how THEIR carrieers ended.
Lovability is the future. Usability failes because it forgets our feelings. If people doesn’t love your stuff, you’re out.
But what brings love?
After my last post on the topic, many suggested the simplicity of Apps. Sure, Apps are pointing in the way of the future, they are simple to use (because they ARE simple), they dont ruin the performance of the hardware, they are more and more interconnected – sharing logins and data and they are fairly priced. And THAT is the future of IT. A swarm of services (services because local apps are just a workaround for bad connectivity) that interconnects, that shares data, functions and logins. Like Twitter share with Klout or Google share between its applications. This is all still quite simple, but will soon be getting more and more complex – and this is important – behind the scenes. The complexity will not clutter the user experience, rather enhance it. And that is spot on, because we dont want simple – we want simple to use. And there is a HUGE difference.
Imagine a simple car. Steering wheel, three pedals and a stick. Thats it. Nothing more. Now imagine a luxury sedan, like a Mercedes or a Cadillac. Stuffed with electronics, luxury, safety details and you name it. But still it got the steering wheel, pedals and a stick (be it automatic). The basics are the same, and driving is all the same. None of the extras gets in the way of the driving. Its only there to help, to make the experience better or safer. If you want to drive, just go. You know how, in any car. And when we buy cars we dont chose “simple” but rather charming, sporty, practical or whatever makes us tick. But simple to use is a given. In all cars.
Compare that to the average corporate computersystem where you are looking at the controls of a Boeing 747. Buttons everywere, controils all over the place. No way can you find the few relevant knobs for the task at hand.
So go for Simple to use, but not Simple.
That is the future of IT-systems.
And that’s where love starts.
My summerhouse is a waterfront cottage built on the grounds of my grandfathers old farmland. Situated at the north shore of one of the big Swedish lakes, the last Ice Age left this particular shore scattered with rocks and stones. Boating on the lake is great, but you need to be a native to find your way. A newbie wont survive a minute without hitting a rock.
I grew up navigating those waters, I am a native and so i have no trouble finding my way. But even i have hit hard when i was young and even I need to stick to the known routes. Creativity in steering or spontaneous navigation lead to certain trouble and sinking boats.
SO why have all of this planets corporate IT-systems taken their inspiration from this particular piece of nature, this very beautiful but dangerous Swedish bay?
WHY are all of this planets corporate IT-systems impossible to navigate and impossible to figure out? If you dont happen to be a native?
Surely there is no Ice Age to blame for littering the code? Surely the engineers that build the systems wants them to be used – i mean we all think about usability, right?
I dont believe that engineers in general are lousy designers – but i do think that having worked 1000′s of hours with the code of a system you know it so well that you can navigate any front with ease. And with your screen off. You are a native, and as a native you easily gets blind for complexity. Things that seems natural and easy for you comes across as totally impossible to understand and use for your customers. SAP, anyone?
There is also the abundance in IT – a button costs nothing to install. More colors? Cool – its also free! And so we start stuffing the programs with functions that MIGHT be useful, someday for someone. And until then only confusing for everyone.
This needs to stop right now and I hereby put a ban on bad design.
We need to design our systems from the users point of view. Only.
Dump Usability and introduce Lovability.
And do it today.
If people doesn’t love what you do, you have failed!
Back home, the family uses Apple computers. Not long ago i was sitting and thinking what made Apple so attractive to modern users.
I came to the conclution that it was the beauty of simplicity. Not only is it easy to buy an Apple computer, you just choose size and you are done. If you want a PC there are more choices to make and decisions to take than ants in a stack. You need to be a Professor to understand the specs and a nuclear scientist to understand the sum of the parts. The simplicity coninues after delivery, too. Apple have already choosen the programs for you and the varieties are limited – but real good. If you want to surf you go Safari. End of discussion.
This brought my thoughts to the world of the web – and i realized that the chaos out there might not last forever, i felt that i was longing for something else, some guidance, some quality and some order. If i need to do a CAD drawing, i first need to spend days on finding the right tool. And the tool that i eventually find is likely to be so complicated that i end up drawing with pen and paper instead.
Then, last week i read an article by Chris Anderson (the author of books like “The Long Tail” and “Free”) in my favourite magazine Wired, named “The Web is Dead“.
Chris Anderson might be the smartest guy out there when it comes to internet trends, so when he speaks it is wise to listen.
He basically says that Google have taken over the web, and no other company can any longer earn money out there as Google dominates search and advertising.
So what companies does to live online is to move away from the web, into locked spaces like Facebook where Googles search spiders can not crawl or (back) into applications, nowadays called “apps”, still using Internet as the medium – but not the Web.
Important to realise those two are not the same, they are often confused.
And as it turns out, we as consumer LOVE apps! Because they makes things simple, and does the job without hazzle we have become willing to pay for what on the web is free.
Which brings us back to the experience of buying an Apple. We are coming to the stage where we are willing to pay more to get less (but in better order and with better quality and pre selected for us).
Looks like we have matured to the point where we now wants to use information technology to support our daily life, instead of putting our daily life into experimenting with IT.
This means something for us as CIO’s, too – for our future developments of customer facing systems. It might even open up for some great innovations if we are quick.
And if we can figure out how to ride the wave.
You are smart lads, think about it. Give me your feedback!