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消费类科技引领IT革命

Christopher Lochhead 2011年11月02日

用户开始要求在工作中能获得更多的类似于消费类科技产品提供的体验。这对于公司的首席信息官和商用科技产品提供商而言意味着巨大的改变。

    有趣

    今天的商业用户们要求在工作中也能获得消费者式的使用体验。人们在问,“为什么科技在生活中如此多彩,而在工作中却这样乏味?”这就是新一代的商用科技消费者。你可以称他们为“商用消费者”。

    他们是怎么冒出来的呢?过去5年,我们见证了由苹果(Apple)、Facebook、谷歌(Google)、Netflix (NFLX) 和社交媒体聚合服务Flipboard以及其他众多公司共同引领的一场消费类科技革命。作为消费者,我们开始享受移动设备、Web 2.0等领域取得重大突破所带来的便捷,以及总体而言更加简单易用的用户体验。科技从未如此有趣,如此高效。

    然而,工作领域却是个例外。商用科技产品在易用性和美观性方面可谓一无是处(当然,当今商用科技的硬实力无疑远超历史上任何时期,无论是庞大的伺服器,还是错综复杂的算法)。结果导致生活中和工作中的科技体验出现了一个巨大的鸿沟。

    Today, business users are demanding a consumer-like experience at work. People are asking, "How come the technology in my person life is so great but, at work, it sucks so much?" Meet the new class of business technology consumers. You could call them "bizumers."

    Where did they come from? Over the last five years, we've witnessed a consumer technology revolution led by Apple (AAPL), Facebook, Google (GOOG), Netflix (NFLX) and Flipboard -- among many others. As consumers, we are enjoying big breakthroughs in mobile devices, Web 2.0 services and, generally, simpler user experiences. Technology has never been more fun or effective.

    Except at work. Enterprise technology seems bankrupt where simplicity and elegance are concerned. (There's no doubt the raw power and capability of enterprise technology -- from massive server farms to sophisticated algorithms -- is greater than at any other time.) The result has been the creation of a massive gulf between our personal and professional experience with technology.

    乏味

    想一想普通白领每天工作中要面对的情形吧:砖块一样厚重的笔记本电脑、糟糕的企业内网、堪称古董的ERP和CRP应用软件以及……微软(Microsoft)的Office软件。又或者,相对于Facebook、Twitter上的社交体验,老掉牙的电子邮件系统在协作方面是多么乏善可陈。(因此,难怪上个十年电子邮件领域最大的创新——嵌套式对话界面——会出自Gmail这样的个人应用软件,而且直到最近才出现在Office软件中。)更糟糕的是,在工作环境中一些简单的事也会变得异常困难,比如出差申请的审批、报销,以及要找到需要的数据、文件、人员、会议室、报告或报表等等。

    每个企业员工都知道个人应用软件使用方便,用户加载简单,并能有力地帮助他们进行创造——而且所需费用比传统的商用IT产品更少。虽然首席信息官们已在谈论IT业的“消费者化”,但真正在这方面取得进展的却寥寥无几。即便如此,企业员工们仍然提出了如下要求:

    *平板电脑

    *智能手机

    *应用软件商店,可提供几百个小巧轻便、可随意使用、无需培训即可上手的移动模式应用软件

    *可以选择并使用基于云计算的“免费+增值应用软件”

    *社交协作

    为满足此类诉求,具有前瞻眼光的IT公司正在调整计算机系统架构:接受新的移动平台和云计算,并在商用软件商店内提供商用消费者应用软件。它们还允许人们选择自己的智能电话、平板电脑和笔记本电脑(甚至接入公司系统)。但是要想在未来能继续生存下去,老牌的商用科技产品供应商必须要把它们庞大的模块分解成数百个小型的、更简单易用的应用软件。不妨设想一下,把SAP、甲骨文(Oracle)这样的会计系统改头换面为数百个易用的iPad式应用软件,会是怎样一幅场景。

    这些变化已然发生。其他类似的服务还包括:

    *YouSendIt:提供易用的、基于网络的文件共享服务,可以取代FTP网站;

    *Evernote:在移动设备可接入的云网络上存储文件、图片、PDF文档和网页剪报;

    *Egnyte(笔者是该公司的顾问):一个多种终端均可接入的、基于云计算的文档存储系统;

    *Chatter:Salesforce.com开发的协作应用软件,使用我们熟悉的社交媒体界面;

    还有很多很多。它们或多或少都具备下述共同点:

    *依托于云计算,硬件占用量比较小;

    *设计简洁,提供3-5项主要功能;

    *IT支持零需求;

    *代表着未来的发展方向;

    商用消费者革命正在上演。随着精通各种消费类科技产品的零零后们进入职场,任何试图抵制这种趋势的努力都是徒劳的。他们正在用全新的消费式商用软件、从下而上地推动十年来商业计算领域最大规模的一场革命。所有这些都源于生活中科技产品的使用体验。这已经不是“会不会”发生的问题,而是“何时”发生的问题。

    Christopher Lochhead曾任科技公司高管,现为咨询公司Play Bigger Advisors的策略顾问兼合伙人。

    Consider the typical knowledge worker's daily experience: a brick of a laptop, a lousy intranet, legacy ERP and CRP applications and ... Microsoft (MSFT) Office. Or, consider how bad old-line email is for collaboration relative to Facebook or Twitter's social experiences. (It's little surprise that the biggest innovation in e-mail in the last decade -- nested conversations -- came from a consumer application, Gmail, and only recently found its way into Office.) Even worse, at work it can be hard to get simple stuff done, like getting a travel request approved, an expense report paid, finding the right data, document, person, conference room, report or chart.

    The average employee knows that consumer apps are user-friendly, easy to ramp up and do more to help them create -- all for less money than traditional enterprise IT. While CIOs have talked about the "consumerization" of IT, few have made inroads on this agenda. And yet, employees are demanding:

    *Tablets

    *Smartphones

    *App stores filled with hundreds of small, lightweight, disposable, zero-training, mobile-style apps

    *The ability to choose and use cloud-based "free-mium apps"

    *Social collaboration

    Forward-leaning IT organizations are re-structuring their architecture to reflect these desires by embracing new mobile platforms and cloud computing, while creating custom bizumer apps housed inside enterprise app stores. They are also letting people choose (or even bring in) their own smart phones, tablets and laptops. But to survive in the future, legacy enterprise vendors will have to atomize their monolithic modules into hundreds of smaller, more usable apps. Imagine a refashioned an accounting system like SAP (SAP) or Oracle (ORCL) as hundreds of enjoyable-to-use iPad-style apps.

    These transformations are already happening. Services include:

    *YouSendIt, which replaces the FTP site with a simple-to-use, web-based file-sharing service.

    *Evernote, which stores docs, photos, pdfs and Web clippings on a mobile-accessible cloud.

    *Egnyte (where I'm an advisor), a file-storage that is cloud-based an accessible across platforms.

    *Chatter, a collaboration app from Salesforce.com, which uses a familiar social-media interface.

    And there are many more. They more or less share important common characteristics:

    *They are cloud-based, with a small footprint

    *They are streamlined, with 3-5 major functions

    *They require zero IT support

    *They are the future

    The bizumer revolution is on. With tech-savvy Millennials entering the workforce, resistance is futile. They are using a new style of consumer-like business apps to drive the biggest, button-up change in business computing in a decade. All inspired by how they use technology in their personal lives. It's not a matter of "if" it will happen, but "when."

    Christopher Lochhead is former technology executive, now strategy advisor & partner with Play Bigger Advisors.

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