Mobility has become the new normal

Mobility has become the new normal

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Some of you know that my presentations typically st art with how Apps, Devices and Mobility has changed the way how people stay productive, connect with each other and exchange information’s.

Today I would like to share with you more insights on this topic. Specifically on why mobility has become a key investment for many companies? And of course how it changes our work as IT Professionals. 

I still remember when we released Windows 8 it was all about providing a consistent experience across an ecosystem of devices. It was also the time when we started talking with our customers about the fact that Mobility has changed how we work and that it can change how we are doing business.

This year when I was presenting at TechEd North America I changed this phrase and said “Mobility has changed how we work, and it started changing how we do business.”

 Reason for that is that anywhere, anytime has become reality. People work from multiple locations and from multiple devices. Nearly 80% of workers spend at least some portion of their time working out of the office. By 2015, the world's mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2% of the total workforce.

Just think about how many times you have seen peoples sitting in the barista shop next door and were preparing their next presentation. Look around how many devices you will see which serve you or your colleagues as a companion device. In fact the other day a colleague asked me which Windows Phone he should get for himself and the 1st question from my side was not how fast it should be, how much storage it should have but rather what tasks he wants to accomplish. And this has become normal, did you know that about 29% of the global workforce have more than 3 connected devices?

There should be no doubt that by investing in mobility it can significantly help enterprises to accelerate the user productivity and solve many business problems.

Below you can find two examples on how mobility can simplify processes, and solve real business problems:

  • Contoso Airlines: If you ever went to the back of the airplane during a long flight you will notice that the cabin crew is often busy filling out forms, clipping documents from one place to another depe nding on the status of a task and they tend to be always in rush. If you forget for a second that they are above the sky all I can see is that Customer Service representatives are performing back office task rather than being at the front desk and engaging proactively with their customers. It’s great to see that specifically in the airline industry more and more companies are investing in mobility. Their IT teams are looking into ways to bring mobile devices to reduce their paperwork and help them spending more time with their valuable customers. At the end all it takes are devices, connectivity between those devices and one App which acts as a dashboard which provides them a 360* on what is happening in the airplane.

  • Fourth Coffee: How many times did you went to a restaurant and you have received something completely else then what you ordered? How many times the menu of your favorite restaurant had  to be changed because of price adjustments or because the new cook use different flavors? And lastly how many times it happened that you wanted to order something in the menu but it was not available? The solution is once again mobility! But how would it look like? All it takes is mobile devices instead of menu cards, one app connected to a cloud service and lastly one or two back office devices for the restaurant owner or the kitchen with whom they can instantly update what is available, what’s the daily specialty and even If they want it could include a personal greeting from the chef cook.

The one thing I have learned in the world of Apps, Devices and Mobility is that you have to start thinking outside the box. You have to leave your comfort zone that's where the magic/innovation starts.

Now that we have looked into what mobility is, how it can help enterprises solving business problems, let’s look into our role as IT Professionals. The question is... do you want to be Mr. Legacy or Mr. Awesome?

Of course this looks too good to be true. In reality what I have started seeing is two new focus areas:

  1. Configure before customize: For those of you who are familiar with Microsoft Services either because you were working with an Consultant, Architect or Engineer or because you simply know someone in that role you will know about our goal – we want to reduce customization where possible and focus on configuring our customer needs. Shifting the mindset from “well I can just write a couple of code lines and it will do the trick” into “let’s follow best practices and configure where possible” has took a while but the benefits are clear – better stability because we rely on defined product configurations, easier to troubleshoot because we know what has been configured even if the person who did the configuration in first place has left the company and of course it’s more comfortable when it’s time to update the technology.

  2. Technology is dead. Long life solutions: While in the past many of us were specialized into a particular technology, or even sometimes sub-technology area (for example Windows Client – but within that deployment and only with M icrosoft Deployment Toolkit) it has become normal in many organizations to look into solution areas. This means for example you will have your Device Infrastructure team (looking after Deployment and Manageability – not the SCCM team, the MDM team and the Client Design team) or Identity Services (includes now beside of Active Directory also online identities such as Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Account etc.). In fact this is the same what we have started driving couple of years ago in Microsoft Services.

But why does this all really matter? The answer is quite easy – with connected devices, cloud services, online identities and new business problems we as IT Professionals have become very popular and not just in the basement but also on an executive level. The executives in the companies have start seeing us as business enabler, as someone who can help optimize processes and not just the team they call if their computer doesn’t want to start.

So the real question is what does it take us to become the next generation of IT Professionals? Again the answer remains secret in the obvious. It’s all about stepping out from the comfort zone, and don’t being afraid to learn. If you are serious about becoming Mr. Awesome then here are my top 3 recommendations for you:

  1. Explore and evaluate the Enterprise Mobility Suite over http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/enterprise-mobility-suite/default.aspx

  2. Understand how to enable productivity with Office365 over http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/what-is-office-365-for-business-FX102997580.aspx

  3. Build your first App with Project Siena over www.microsoft.com/en-us/projectsiena/default.aspx 

    (Attention: You don’t even need to know any programming language for it!)

For those who read till the end I really would like to thank you. The response I have got since I started this blog is incredible and it’s an honor being part of such a strong IT Pro community.

P.S. I wrote this blog post during my flight from Johannesburg to Dubai with my lovely Surface Pro.

Thank You,

Milad Aslaner

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  • Interesting reading... It would be great seeing you at one of the local conferences here in Dubai. Would like to understand more around Enterprise Mobility Suite.

  • Thank you Wafeek. EMS will have a big impact on how enterprises can leverage cloud services to accelerate user productivity. I'm looking forward for the next events here locally!