While Enterprise 3.0 has yet to be defined by academia or business, the year 2011 will no doubt mark the beginning of the Mobile Enterprise. If this is indeed the case, the first question is whether or not Enterprise 2.0 is over?
Enterprise 2.0 -- We are Here
There has been some recent discussion started about whether or not Enterprise 2.0 is dead. Perhaps it's the hype over Facebook, Twitter and anything with the word "social" preceding it. However, does the emergence of everything social make Enterprise 2.0 passe, or is this exactly what Harvard Professor Andrew McAfee imagined when he coined the term in 2006.
He described E2.0 as "the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers". And the race began to improve the usability, understanding and adoption of Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, expertise location, communities of practice, activity streaming and social tagging.
We began to see productivity improving, the increasing connectivity of people, enhancement of knowledge sharing and focus on innovation. Beyond all the buzzwords, we have seen many organizations slowly transform into more collaborative and social enterprises changing the way they interact internally as well as externally with customers.
It's Time for Mobile Enterprise 3.0
So, if everyone is tired of hearing about E2.0 and we're moving into a new version of knowledge work, then the next question is what exactly is this "Mobile Enterprise 3.0"?
The term Mobile Enterprise is not simply just another "channel" or initiative. It goes beyond accessing news, email or basic information via a smartphone. It is a continuation in the cultural shift of organizations as they evolve beyond everything and everyone becoming collaborative and social as they did in E2.0.
This "Mobile Enterprise 3.0" is actually a combination of already understood concepts including:
- Cloud Computing
- Universal Access
1. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a key ingredient in the mobile enterprise. It incorporates software-as-a-service, virtualization and utility computing. It's a consumption and delivery model for IT services based on the internet that involves dynamically scalable and virtualized resources. Moving applications to the cloud is the first step in enabling knowledge workers to gain universal and secure access to information that is relevant to them.
2. Universal (and Secure) Access
The Mobile Enterprise is not limited to just smartphones. It is convergent technology with applications and data accessible using mobile devices, laptops, desktops and tablets over wired and Wi-fi networks. Universal access is simply our ability to access information anywhere, anytime, on any device.
For example, mobile access to enterprise databases allows us to update data from anywhere in the world, at anytime, with any device equipped with a Web Browser (and by anyone with permission to access the service). The Mobile Enterprise enables a real-time and Just-In-Time business strategy.
Personalization is something that is critical to the mobile workforce. Consuming information on mobile devices means that the content must be relevant to me or my social networks.
In my non-business life, Facebook serves as a highly personalized place for me to receive and organize information that is important to me. Similarly, personalization in the business world enables knowledge workers to filter business critical data through personal dashboards and data views accessed on any device. Furthermore, personalization focuses on one's ability to socialize relevant information into our business networks and alert passive consumers of content to take action via mobile workflows and collaborative business processes. Additionally, adding a location specific context may be relevant in some cases to ensure the right action is taken on time-sensitive and location-sensitive information. Lastly, a personalized user experience will require more thought in design, presentation and visualization of information in a multi-device and mobile world.
The expectation will be for businesses to mirror how we interact in our personal lives with applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Twitter.
Editor's Note: Additional articles on the mobile enterprise: