Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cultivating a New Tech Category

9 Things every marketer should know before they introduce a new technology

At some point in their career, most technologists think they have the “next big thing”, a product or technology that stands out uniquely from anything else on the market. In fact, it’s so great that it deserves to be a new category in-and-of itself.

Now, if you’re a reasonably-seasoned marketer, your initial response to this is “They first need to properly price and position the technology so that it solves a well-defined problem, or creates a new valuable capability that customers will pay for”.

That would be true if the product was in a well-understood, mature market. But it’s far from sufficient when the technology or category is new or nascent.

Maturing a new market category and building an ability to execute

The problem technologists face is that most potential customers approach buying-into the product the way Gartner Research sees their “Magic Quadrant” – (a) is the revolutionary have a “Completeness-of-vision”?  [often Yes] and (b) do they embrace a reasonable “Ability to execute” [often No]

Why “No”?  Because most often, customers shy away from purchasing products in a vacuum. Rather, they demand a “Whole Product” – one in a category that’s mature, well-understood, and ultimately poses minimal risk of long-term adoption.

Besides good messaging, how should product marketing, market development, and alliances organizations help build a mature market category?  And, how can they accelerate the journey to “Ability to Execute”?

Top Market Category Development Initiatives

1.     You need the competition
Look... nobody will believe you if you claim there’s no competition. Rarely is it ever true. If you want to ensure a mature market category – one where customers believe the technology is worthwhile, will someday be mainstreamed, and represents a relatively low-risk option – then customers will expect and demand competitors. So, don’t hesitate to include mention others in adjacent markets, or companies that are just nipping at your heels.

2.     Encourage healthy Analyst awareness & coverage
Some of the top influencers in the tech market are industry analysts. Find out who the individual analysts are that cover adjacent spaces to your new category and educate, educate, educate. This process won’t result in instantaneous reports, but is critically important nonetheless. If analyst organizations don’t first recognize your category, they won’t assess it or follow it. And that means that buyers – who follow the analyst’s evaluations – won’t buy into it.   You know you’ve reached your goal when analysts formally cover the category with ratings, Magic Quadrants, and competitive evaluations.

3.     Ensure a known/understood product and pricing model
Mature markets have known (and often, expected) pricing models.  If your category’s approach is different or unusual, consider changing it to a more industry-standard style.  Otherwise, you may need to wait until other competitors in the space offer similar pricing approaches so that customers see it as the “standard” for the category.

4.     Cultivate a Developer following
For most technologies, you’ll absolutely require a community of developers, admins, and/or architects to adopt your platform, APIs, architecture, etc.   Their expectation is that you’ll publish information, examples, and best-practices and even free testbeds – to get them that information essentially free-of-charge as they learn/adopt your technology.  Make sure you create an enthusiastic following of developers, local user groups, and even ISVs, and liberally nurture this critical population of customer/buyer influencers.

5.     Cultivate an ecosystem of ISVs and 3rd-parties
Similar to cultivating a developer following, the notion of offering a “whole product” requires that you also work with partners, software vendors, service providers, or any other company that directly (or indirectly) adds-value to your technology.  (They’re always there. If you have trouble identifying them, look harder... or ask your customers).  You should consider investing in an ISV and/or alliances program, where you’re actively helping promote your value-add partners to your customers. Remember, if you have a robust ecosystem of partners, your customers will immediately recognize it, and further trust in your new technology category.

6.     Develop the right terminology, and work it into the industry vernacular
Customers won’t buy-into your new category if nobody’s talking about it.  You’ll need to invest in very intentional content marketing, social marketing, hashtag use, SEO seeding, conference speaking opportunities etc. to begin to get your market category terms in use.  Choose the terms judiciously, and only use 1-2 lest you dilute their use.  Wherever possible, also work with influencers near the space (analysts, editors, tweeps, etc.) and engage them in conversation where they begin to use your terminology

7.     Cultivate the new topic at trade shows and conferences
This is not about exhibiting at conferences.  Rather, it’s that you really know your category is mature when entire industry conferences are based on it. But in the meantime, you should focus on getting your new topic inserted into conferences on adjacent topics/technologies by submitting speaker abstracts, and by encouraging customers of yours to do the same.  If you know of complementary companies (or even competition) in the space, then also consider approaching conference promoters to create a small “neighborhood” of like-minded technologies within the larger exhibition floor. That will help develop customer awareness of the new category.

8.     Pursue industry awards
It never hurts to get mentioned in industry awards, or even in those “best new xxx” or “coolest vendors in xxx” surveys.  Search for who’s conducting awards and surveys, and make sure you are on the short list of those getting considered (remember: you don’t need to win... just getting an honorary mention is OK). And don’t forget to have your customers and partners nominate you, too.  The more your technology category gets mentioned and considered, the closer you are to getting in the mainstream.

9.     Hype that customer momentum!
True for all forms of marketing, the best seller/marketer to customers is another customer. Focus on developing great customer stories that illustrate your outcome/benefit (not how “cool” your technology is). Ensure these stories contrast your new category against the “old” ways of doing things. And get the customers to directly endorse the technology/category/segment.  Their peers will always take notice, and have greater confidence in the new sector/category.

As always, I'm interested in your thoughts, reactions, additions. Part of the magic here is bringing new and innovative ideas to the table. Please have at it. 


Monday, October 9, 2017

The New Way We'll Start our Digital Day

This post originally published on Citrix Blogs

The desktop-centric world is dead. Here’s why — and how — it will be replaced.

When industries shift very slowly, sometimes the most significant changes go completely unnoticed. For example, consider how the notion of the “desktop is your workspace” is pretty much becoming irrelevant (if you disagree, read on).
The point here is that cloud services, SaaS apps, and browser-based services are now really your new “workspace.” You don’t really need your desktop at all. In fact, even your desktop productivity tools, like MS Office, are now in the cloud (Office 365) and even desktops themselves (XenDesktop Essentials) can be accessed over the web.

Now, if you’re in corporate IT, this evolution toward disaggregated services is leading you toward a ton of problems: multiple user logins, manual service onboarding, inconsistent security across different service providers, and, basically, loss-of-control over what apps users/employees work with. More often the problem is being referenced as cloud service sprawl.
As the desktop-centric model dissolves, there is a new model ready to take its place: the digital workspace. This will fast become the way that IT aggregates, assembles, secures and delivers unified workspace environments in this brave new cloud services world.

How we got here

The world used to be desktop-centric
For decades, workers started their “digital day” with their PCs or Macs — mostly using applications and productivity tools. The Integration model was whatever was installed locally; the Security model was whatever they had protected with their PC password.  Maybe they used a browser, but 99% of the time, it was to consume information from the web. And it worked… for a while.

Then, we became browser-centric

Over time, more of our work lives were spent with browser-based applications (think SalesForce, WorkDay, SAP). Gradually, the success of cloud-delivered SaaS apps — which were soon available as apps on our phones, too — began to dominate our work days. Plus, lots of useful apps, such as Evernote and DropBox, were organically adopted by employees, creating “Shadow IT” problems within companies. Thus began the first true phase of cloud sprawl, where the digital work environment became disaggregated. Worse yet, some services had different browser requirements, users had multiple logins, and IT had little-to-no insight into who had access to what. Even still, more and more of our time was being spent “outside the desktop” using externally sourced services. 


Today, nearly everything resides outside your desktop

Fast-forward to today. The vast majority of apps you use are either browser-based, fully web-based apps, or full mobile apps (particularly true when you think about how you use apps on your cell phone). The only things, really, that workers use that are “native” to the PC or Mac are productivity tools like Microsoft Office (unless you’re a digital native, you probably eschew that in favor of Google docs, yet another external service.) In fact, even Microsoft Office is being disaggregated from the PC desktop, with the prevalent use of Office 365.

So, we have to ask ourselves two questions: (a) is the desktop (as a “container” of apps) relevant anymore, and (b) if not, what becomes the new access and aggregation point for a worker’s apps and data?

IT – and users – need a new way to aggregate, secure, access, and deliver cloud services

Let’s assume we had never started with a desktop PC at all and that all of your necessary work applications were just a mix of on-premises apps, browser-based apps, mobile apps and cloud/SaaS services.
We’d want our IT departments to have a way to onboard and aggregate each service into a curated and controlled “workspace” environment. Each employee would have workspace of their own — one with a single login, with policies that controlled which apps they had access to, end even workflow tools between apps and coworkers. Even better, we’d want the workspace to ensure that apps with native UIs, browser UIs, and even device-dependent UIs would all be available consistently on any device. Best of all, we’d want this controlled “space” to follow workers around on their devices, whether they were using their laptop, a borrowed tablet, their personal phone, or any device of their choosing.


The digital workspace is real, and it’s now: Where you’ll start your “digital day”

The relatively new notion of the “secure digital workspace” is increasingly the way workers will access the resources they need, and how IT will aggregate, secure, and deliver all applications, regardless of where they’re generated or which personal devices are being used for access.
And it will be contextual and personal — you’ll have it available on all of your devices, and it will know if you’re using a secure device, if you’re on a secure network, and even whether you’re in a secure location. This means that you might not have full access rights to certain apps based on where you are or what network you’re on, or the system may change the method of delivery to ensure better security. It might even notice you’re simultaneously logged into two devices in two countries and raise a security flag.

For workers, this approach will simplify how they get to all the apps and data they need to be productive, and will make it possible to easily collaborate with coworkers, contractors, partners, and customers. And it will ensure consistency by bringing disparate applications and data into a user-centric, context-aware environment. Finally, it will optimize their experience, performance and security across any device, platform or network — regardless of the platform for which the original app may have been designed.


For corporate IT, it will help them restore control over their employee’s digital environment because a secure digital workspace ensures better, more consistent control over on-boarding, aggregating, and managing access across hybrid cloud services, regardless of their source. And overall, this unified approach reduces risk for companies because the entire workspace is surrounded by a “Secure-Digital Perimeter” across infrastructure, apps, delivery networks, and devices.

If this sounds interesting, I encourage you to look into the possibilities, such as using the Citrix workspace to aggregate, secure, access, and deliver this new world of possibilities to workers near you.

Transforming CIOs into IT Supply Chain Managers

A version of this post was originally published to Citrix Blogs

How Citrix Cloud services are adding to IT’s business value
The role of the CIO – indeed for of all of IT – is changing. Jobs that used to be tactical engineering and integration of technology are morphing into strategic positions that instead integrate external services. As I’ve observed in the past, CIOs are transforming IT supply chain managers, and it’s happening in the digital workspace market now more than ever.
This is one of the basic assumptions we made when developing Citrix Cloud. Unlike monolithic IaaS or PaaS clouds, Citrix Cloud is designed to be a services integration and management platform. It focuses on simplifying the integration across a number of infrastructure and workspace services, each of which may reside in different locations and/or clouds. The result is a new IT integration platform that focuses on providing business (not technology) outcomes.
While thinking about this in the context of Citrix Cloud, I’ve noticed a number of generalizable principles across a number use cases, as well as some specific principles for creating secure mobile workspaces:
General Principles – for IT supply chain integration

  1. Assemble, don’t build – Now more than ever, IT must ask itself the classic buy-versus-build question: Should they be in the business of building/operating any software at all? If so, what compelling business or competitive need (i.e. data sovereignty, security) is driving the decision? If a driver does not exist, , IT needs to let vendors operate noncritical services.
  1. Consume services, don’t generate applications – IT should be adopting a consumption model for services, not be in the business of running applications. Their time should be spent on higher-value activities like integration and workflow for services, not creating the services themselves.
  1. Think hybrid first, think SaaS first – no single cloud or outsourcing approach fits all. Any modern strategy for service management and outsourcing has to assume hybrid cloud and has to assume multiple SaaS providers. Like any other vendor strategy, IT has to assume changes will happen over time, and therefore keep vendor options open.
  1. IT’s job is to focus on business outcomes, not technology – Today, IT outcomes must be additive to the business – not simply play a support role. In the past, IT often focused on cost reduction, but today they should be more focused on strategic enablement of the business. So, when thinking about sourcing and integrating services, the aim should be to enable lines-of-business — not to shave expenses.
  1. Enable assembly of core services – For the average information worker, a digital workspace is comprised of different services that may be sourced from different locations, e.g. desktops, applications, storage, device control, access control. The core of any workspace supply chain ought to consist of most/all of these.   Some may inherently be SaaS cloud services — others might be local. It all depends upon constraints such as security, compliance, technology “bench strength,” and of course economics.
  1. Anticipate the need for multiple services and multiple workspaces – The average information worker may use many applications and services, and each worker type may well require different amounts and combinations of these. Therefore, anticipate integrating dozens if not hundreds of apps into different families of workspaces – one for each worker type.
  1. Enable choice – As a supply chain manager, IT will need to ensure that vendor choice is preserved. This principle extends beyond where SaaS services are sourced from, and continues on to where IaaS resources reside as well. You’ll want to maintain control of where data, IP, and other sensitive information resides. For example, locking-into using a single cloud for service execution may not give you the long-term flexibility you’ll need or require.
  1. Evaluate technology on driving value up and less on driving cost down – As a strategic enabler, the IT supply chain manager should understand line-of-business needs today and anticipate them for tomorrow. For example, rather than focusing on driving cost out of managing desktop hardware, IT needs to focus more energy on driving in more value – such as making desktop access more mobile, more accessible, and more secure. Focus on assemblingin value-add services such as file synch and share, mobility applications and/or unified communications.
  1. Don’t Forget: your chief outcome must be employee productivity – In the end, IT’s goal should enable workers to do their jobs better. Focus on productivity, user satisfaction, flexibility. Tools like Citrix Cloud are designed around these principles:
  • Speed – responding to employee needs or competitive pressures
  • Simplicity – the ease of selecting and instantly integrating new services or capabilities
  • Choice – the ability to source services from any cloud

Specific Principles – for workspace integration
In building a workspace supply chain, we here at Citrix applied these principles to developed tools to help companies leverage them. The following design principles for Workspace Cloud extended the four above principles into a platform that’s fast, simple and flexible to use:
How Citrix Helps
Citrix Cloud is more than a new delivery mechanism for Citrix technologies. It’s a platform that helps IT speed and simplify high-value service assembly.  In the coming months, you’ll see Citrix add even more service types — increasing the breadth of control IT will have when delivering high-quality workspace services that will absolutely delight your employees.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How Big is the Hosted Desktop (DaaS) Market - Part 2

Originally published on Citrix Blogs

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this Blog, “how big is the cloud-hosted desktop market?” is still the top inquiry I get from our Citrix Service Provider (CSP) partners looking to enter the market.
In that first post I outlined some of the approaches I take to describe the growing size of this market.  In this post, I want to offer additional data that Service Providers can use when justifying investments of IP and capital for ventures into cloud-hosted desktops.
Analyst assessment of the SMB Market
Small-and-Medium Businesses are likely the first (and major) adopters of DaaS. They are least likely to have sophisticated IT departments and/or data centers, most cost- and complexity-sensitive, and most likely to have mobile (i.e. work-from-home) employees.
Conservative analysis in 2013 by AMI Partners who specialize in SMBs, tens of thousands of SMBs (larger than 50 employees) are pre-disposed toward purchasing DaaS solutions; In the US the estimate is 95,000 businesses; in Western Europe, 38,000; in LATAM, 87,000.  Contact me at the Citrix Service Provider program if you’d like more detailed findings.
Furthermore, recent analysis,  BYOD and Virtualization in SMBs, trends by Gartner Research indicates that
“According to our 2012 survey results, approximately 43% of SMBs are already deploying HVD [Hosted Virtual Desktops]. We believe SMBs’ interest in DV is partly driven by the fact that their client computing environments are not as complex and distributed as the ones in large enterprises. In fact, the highest planned adoption rate for 2013 to 2016 is among SMBs where the number of absolute devices that are considered for virtualization is fewer than 100 physical devices (40% of 100 to 250 users)…
Using Office 365 as a Proxy
Indeed, comparing Microsoft Office 365 to a full-blown hosted DaaS solution is a bit apples-to-oranges.  But it does provide a proxy for estimating SMB’s propensity for using – indeed, subscribing to – a cloud-based workplace productivity tool.  According to recent Microsoft announcements, there may be as many as 1,000,000 seats in production – at an advertised $100/yr price. Now that’s momentum.
I also subscribe to the conservative view that Microsoft may be overstating their numbers somewhat. But even if so, even a lesser number is probably quite impressive as an adoption metric.  Watch this space in the near future to see what larger enterprises adopt it, and what Microsoft’s annual run-rate grows to.
Overtures by large players
Another piece of evidence is simply the fact that if large vendors make large bets on the space, that could be empirical evidence of a growing (or soon-to-grow) market. Obviously Citrix has already invested heavily in this space, with over 2,500 partners now offering DaaS solutions globally. And recently VMware’s End-User Computing group announced its intention to move into the space as well. To wit, Dell has made a similar entry in the market with 3rd party technology.
But what happens if other mega vendors enter?  If or when we see players such as Microsoft (Azure) and Amazon (AWS) offer DaaS or other forms of hosted workspaces, it could be evidence that the players in-the-know are getting enough market encouragement from customers to make significant investments.  And this could add to the self-fulfilling prophesy that the age of cloud-hosted desktops is beginning to mature.
Timing: The $64k question
With the momentum we see at Citrix, and with the number of large design wins in our pipeline, I expect the DaaS market to “pop” in 2014.
By that I mean that customers will begin to be less skeptical about performance, and providers will have richer offerings. I would also expect new entrants into the space – complete with new/expanded business models.  And, from a “hype” cycle perspective (thanks, Gartner) I’d expect to see DaaS move away from the peak of expectations in the direction of a more mature technology.   While we may be many years from DaaS becoming a mainstream complement to other delivery mechanisms, all signs indicate that it has certainly moved out of its early stages and is on its way to adulthood.
Other Resources

How Big is the Hosted Desktop (DaaS) Market - Part 1

Originally published on Citrix Blogs

Without question, “How big is the hosted desktop market” is the top inquiry I get from our Citrix Service Provider (CSP) partners.
Our thousands of global partners are constantly making investments in infrastructure, marketing, business operations and sales. And frequently they are going to their board (and sometimes to external investors) for funding to chase the high-margin, high-value hosted desktop market.
The problem is, how do you estimate the size of a market that’s so relatively new that it hasn’t yet been tracked?  Well, it turns out that some surveys have already been taken, and that there are also a number of “adjacent” markets that will convert to hosted desktops….
What is a cloud-hosted desktop? Desktop-as-a-Service? 
First, let’s define terms. Traditionally, your “desktop”  (typically Microsoft Windows) is the container for all of your personal and workplace productivity apps. It’s your customized environment with your data and personalization information – not to mention being protected by your security credentials.  This environment is also traditionally run locally on your personal hardware (laptop, desktop, etc.).
Enter Virtual Desktops. These can be fully-functional desktops – complete with apps, personalization and security – but their software physically runs on a server elsewhere… but typically somewhere on the same network in the same business, and typically on a server in a datacenter.  These server-based desktops are owned and managed by the company’s IT department, and then provided to each user.
However, the cloud-hosted virtual desktop goes one step further. It runs on a server, but perhaps in a 3rd-party data center that is off-premesis.  Its data and user experience is delivered over the public internet. The 3rd party is typically a managed service provider (MSP) under contract by the business to provide and maintain desktops. The user can expect an identical desktop & application experience… except all of the compute power resides somewhere in “the cloud”.
Some now term the cloud-hosted desktop model “Desktops-as-a-Service” (DaaS) in that the desktop is no longer considered local executable software. Rather, it is delivered and managed as an on-demand internet service – meaning it can be turned on/off at will, and billed-for as an hourly, daily, or (typically) monthly service.
Why is Cloud-Hosted DaaS so new?
To be honest, for as long as we’ve had the notion of cloud computing, there’s been the desire to host desktops. But the inhibitors revolved around two main areas: Physics and the more mundane aspect of licensing. While the licensing aspect of a 3rd-party owning desktop licenses has been solved-for, it took longer to work around Nature.  The internet’s networks needed to be faster and have lower latency – two factors that contribute to the user experience.
The good news is that both of these issues have been solved-for to the satisfaction of all involved.
OK: So how big is the market? What’s the Opportunity?
Since the market for DaaS is so new, we’ll have to look at a variety of existing and adjacent metrics. We’ll also have to use some best-guess methods to gauge the opportunity.
Note that a number of these statistics are excerpts from research from a number of analysts/sources. Complete reports not in the public domain are only available from the analysts themselves.

  • The existing Desktop Outsourcing market.  This is defined as the desktop owner (usually running desktops locally) turning to a 3rd-party to manage and maintain those desktops. According to Gartner Research, the worldwide market for this is nearly US$30 billion.  One could expect that over time, some percentage of the companies in this category would instead turn to a cloud-hosted model for maintenance and support – rather than continue a model of local execution and outsourced maintenance.  Even a 1% shift of this market would translate into a DaaS market of  US$300 million.

  • As a % of cloud services offered. MSPmentor, in their 2012 Global Report (part of TalkinCloud), notes that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) represents is offered by 48.9% of the top 100 MSPs. (note that some of this number probably includes on-premesis VDI hosting) While revenue breakdown numbers for services-offered is not available, the top 100 MSPs annual recurring revenue in 2011 was over US$1 billion. If even a small fraction of a given MSP’s revenue mix includes cloud-based desktop hosting, we still have the makings of a healthy market.
  • The broader Desktop Virtualization Market. According to The 451 Group, the market for the Desktop Virtualization Ecosystem Market is estimated at US$5.6 billion by 2016. (This includes server-, client- and cloud-based hosting; session-based computing; application virtualization; management). Again, if even a few percent of the cloud-based hosting component manifests itself, we easily have a market in the hundreds of millions of $US.
  • Hosted Workspace-as-a-Service market. Again, this market definition varies from pure DaaS. But according to a recent IDC study, the total WW market by 2016 is estimated in excess of US$661 million.

What We Still Need
Surprisingly few industry analysts and associations formally track DaaS.  Neither MSPmentor, MSPalliance, nor The Web Host Industry Review track the DaaS market as they do other traditional hosting statistics – nor do they index which leading MSPs, CSPs and HSPs offer cloud-hosted desktops, DaaS, etc.  I certainly hope that changes soon.
However, the news is good on 2 fronts. For the service providers, the opportunity to host desktops is new, growing, and highly profitable. And for the enterprise users, hosted desktops represent a new world where your workspace is available anywhere, anytime, and not subject to hardware failure/loss.
Stay tuned for another Blog in this series that will further help outline the opportunity for hosted desktops and workspaces. [ Part 2 Here

Your Next Computer.... in the Cloud ?

For years, the “virtual PC” has been the dream of users and corporations alike. After all, why do millions of us lug around a laptop with our Windows desktop stuck to it? Why do we risk theft, loss or damage to valuable data when our entire workspace — and data – could instead live in the cloud and be accessed from anywhere by any of our devices….

[This is a re-post of my Blog on Wired Innovation InsightsClick to read more]

The Beginning of the Non-Dedicated Device World?

Originally published on Citrix Blogs.

What makes your phone your phone? Or, for that matter, what makes your desktop, your laptop or your tablet yours? After all, millions of people own identical hardware/software configurations of iPhones, Android-based phones, tablets, laptops and other devices.
The answer lies in two defining aspects of each device: The user’s data that is locally-stored, and the user’s personalization information.
But in the very near future, I foresee that people will move interchangeably among many more devices, and will do so fluidly. They will rent, exchange, or even borrow devices that become theirs perhaps only for minutes or days, before being re-used and re-personalized by others.  These devices might even be un-assigned, yet can take on the personalization, features, and data access of each new user, and these users will do this because the devices are specifically fit-for-purpose, or just available at the time.
For example, have you ever forgotten your phone, but your wife has hers? Wouldn’t it be great to just borrow hers and have it instantly (but temporarily) take on your persona and contact list?  Have you ever walk into a meeting and your laptop battery dies? The conference room has a shared PC. No problem – the PC will become “yours” for the next hour.
You get the picture.
It’s Already Started: Your Data is Anywhere
Why would we want mobile data/personas?
Looking at mobility from a data context, we’re already seeing wholesale evolution with services such as iCloud, ShareFile, Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive and others.  Wherever you are, whatever device you use, your data is instantly accessible. Gartner terms this your “personal cloud.”  We even see this metaphor paired with applications – for example with Xmarks on my FireFox browser, where any FireFox browser I launch on any device instantly brings along my set of stored bookmarks. My personal data store always follows me.
Also consider this: If you think of content as another form of your personal data store, we’re also seeing your data served up in a similar manner. Personalized services such as NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon, Pandora and others are offering content – custom to you – on any device you hold, even through a personalized device known as your networked living room TV.
Whether we realize it or not, the need for locally-stored data is quickly being obviated by online data portability services – all living in the Cloud.
Next: Your Personalization Anywhere
As Gartner recently highlighted during the Data Center conference this month, the personal laptop is no longer the “hub” of your activity. Rather, all devices you own are in effect peers. And pretty soon, all devices you touch will be equivalent peers too.
Here are a few illustrations:

  • Cell phone loss: Lose your phone?  Instantly recover your data, apps, personalization, ring tones etc. This won’t just be an in-store service anymore.
  • Cell phone missing?  Just borrow a nearby phone and temporarily personalize it
  • Work and personal phones? Sure. Combine your work profile and number, plus personal profile and number accessible from a single device.
  • Moving from your desktop in your office to a Tablet on the road? No problem – data, personality and session are all portable
  • No laptop for a business meeting: No need to lug physical hardware. Just re-assign and personalized an on-site device – or borrow one from a friend.
  • Traveling but want to watch your home TV or service? No problem. Re-assign the media profile of a TV or small screen to access your home or online streaming content profile
  • In a rental car?  Assign your personalization and have the radio pre-set with favorite stations and streaming audio subscriptions, and the GPS will be loaded with your contacts/addresses
  • Data Portability in the Cloud – It’s now an accepted practice that data can live in the cloud, securely accessed from anywhere. Network advances continue to make fatter pipes, increasing real-time access
  • Mobile Personalization – More personal preferences, profiles and use patterns are also being stored in the cloud. And more devices are making use of flexible personalization to adapt to screen size, input devices, etc. (Gartner predicts that the Personal Cloud will be the center of our digital lives, for apps, content and preferences – allowing you to sync across devices. Services will become more important; devices become less important.)
  • Workspace-as-a-service technologies –entire workspaces – not just apps – can now be delivered as a service to any device. That includes session portability, simple “storefronts” for users to self-provision, and global availability and content delivery systems.   (Gartner predicts that by 2014, most organizations will deliver mobile apps and workspaces to workers via private application stores.)

What Will Make It All Work?
There are three industry trends I see as creating this perfect environment for a world that uses non-dedicated devices
Aside from fancy personalized covers and nametags, what makes your devices “yours” really lives in the cloud – and there is no reason that data won’t follow you to nearly any device you use or touch.
And then, perhaps the sense of ownership – or need to use “our own” device – will slowly fade away. Taking its place will be our willingness to use whatever device is in within reach.