The intersection of Cloud, Capital Markets and Mobility

Justin List

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Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms

Blog Post

Mobile Is the Face of the Cloud

Why the UX that counts is the one in your hand

The cloud is enabling a seismic shift in business operations. From legacy on-premise applications to agile, scaleable and pervasive, the cloud is moving wholesale once internal-only applications. CRM, HR, billing, transactional systems, almost everything is moving to the cloud , even in the world of financial services.  But the user is not sitting at there desk anymore. The user is out visting customers, working at airports, in cab, presenting from their tablet. In fact a significant portion of the User Experience is now happing in the mobile device. The iPad (and other devices) is enabling a new generation of applications, that are every bit as rich, or richer than available on desktop machines. Indeed with accelerometers, touch, GPS and video cameras built-in, arguably iPads have more modes of interaction and therefore vastly richer experience than a desktop PC.

When the cloud enables your apps and data anywhere and everywhere, why would you tie yourself down to the desk? Instead of using a Windows file system , use Box.net for cloud storage. Instead of your old on-premise app use Salesforce for anywhere CRM. Same with all your other apps. Prezzi works nice for delivering those presentations. In fact, any application you can install on your PC probably has a better equivalent in the web on the device.

With that came some fragmentation. In the bad old days of mobility (okay, two years ago!) you had a plethora of mobile devices, form factors and operating systems. There were about 4 versions of Windows (variants of embedded windows, windows CE, Windows mobile ) there was Blackberry and the new boy in town IOS.

Now we have fragmentation though in the enterprise there really only is IOS and Blackberry at the moment .Android is lacking in some features for Enterprise and is also too fragmented currently for IT ops to take on. Android will probably find traction soon, and perhaps Windows 8 (assuming they can ship in 2012) ...

With that fragmentation comes design decisions. in the old days you would buy a MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) to build 'once' and deploy 'everywhere' . But they didn't exactly live up to the hype and you faced a lowest common denominator approach accross the radically different devices of Winmo and Blackberry.

Now devices are converging in functions and the new boy on the block HTML 5 is changing that again. With HTML 5 you are no longer locked into producing for IOS or Android but can instead write a feature rich UX across all devices. HTML 5 actually gives parity or better than any desktop OS. You get all the rich UX available anywhere , including the iDevice.  I like the Salesforce approach which is to provide a dynamite UX built in HTML 5 but offer you a pure online only version (no downloads) or a hybrid version (install the app, offline capability, use some features of the device like camera etc). You get the choice but the interface is HTML 5 either way . The really cool thing with Touch.Salesforce.com is that it not only supports both modes, but it supports all user customizations. That's right. Any custom objects you create, custom fields, almost anything is supported (visualforce coming later!).

You get all the agility you want in the cloud on the iDevice as well. It's why the device will become the UX of choice for the cloud.

More Stories By Justin List

Justin List is a Principal Sales Engineer with Salesforce.com. He has 11 years of experience in pre-sales, 7 years in financial services specializing in enterprise modeling, analytical systems, mobility and latterly low latency trading and risk systems. He is now using the Cloud to transform business with the Social Enterprise Vision.