By Ric Telford
As illustrated so vividly by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers in their annual Internet Trends report released this week, technology is truly “re-imagining” many aspects of our daily life. From locking your doors to adjusting the thermostat, scrapbooking to photo sharing, taking notes to filing documents – very little remains unchanged. So which technologies are really driving this re-imagination? More often than not, the advances can be traced back to social, mobile and cloud.
Fortunately for us, it’s not just the personal habits of consumers that are changing. If you think about the greatest technological impact for business since the advent of the PC and the Internet era, the emergence of cloud-based, real-time collaboration from anywhere at any time is having immeasurable benefits for productivity. The concept that ‘work’ is no longer restricted to a desk is changing the face of office life for businesses, academics, nonprofits and governments alike.
A document that once only existed in your cubicle can now be created on your desktop, edited from your tablet, tweaked by a colleague from home, and reviewed by your boss at the airport all before it’s loaded to the projector for a client presentation.
This type of productivity enhancing collaboration is only made possible through the intersection of social as a shareable service, mobile as the ubiquitous access, and cloud as the delivery. Three tech innovations part of the same continuum and the same consolidated framework. These three technologies represent the next era of the Internet age – enabling more flexible delivery of data and expanding the reach of collaboration – all to drive new levels of responsiveness and efficiency.
Of course collaboration beyond the confines of your office walls presents concerns for the enterprise that must be systematically addressed. The proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approaches to workplace mobility, and the increased use of consumer cloud services for sensitive work documents, means that organizations must assume responsibility for maintaining the integrity of confidential data. A sensible but comprehensive social/mobile/cloud governance strategy can address and mitigate these security concerns.
To that end, IBM released today new social business software to help its clients collaborate easily and securely in the cloud using a wide variety of mobile devices. The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking features and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite for simultaneous collaboration on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents.
One academic institution already realizing the benefits is the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which is using this IBM offering to keep tabs on the progress of research projects across campus and help facilitate knowledge sharing, all without having to worry about email overflow or version control. Of course as we know, leveraging the cloud means UTEP isn’t limited only to collaboration within its campus. In fact, they’ve expanded their use of IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to work with universities acrossNorth America who are involved in the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions, an organization helping students pursue information sciences and engineering.
Whether public, private, academic or nonprofit, recognizing the enterprise opportunity of social, mobile and cloud-enabled collaboration is key. This means implementing the necessary IT governance, but mostly importantly, evolving to embrace the convergence of three of the most important technology trends of our day.
Check out our Flickr page for photos of the IBM Connections mobile apps.