Three years ago I jumped on the cloud bandwagon, looking at what the impact to mobile would be. Certainly, running apps in the cloud is interesting, especially in the fragmented mobile world with companies needing to support one app on different platforms. Storage is also an interesting area, most mobile smartphones can’t add additional space. Once the memory is full, users have to delete or clean up in order to make room for the new. But investment in mobile cloud platforms was slow–and offers, even today, are few. Three years ago seem like a long time, but in truth, not much has changed here.
In his recent piece called, “How Mobile and Cloud Are Transforming Industry in a Human-Centric Way,” Nicolas Lee sees the movement to mobile and from physical to virtual in order to support the, ” real business agility through the flexibility and scalability”that cloud solutions bring. As more companies support enterprise mobility, the demand for business applications and the need to scale can drive more adoption of cloud-based solutions. The software-defined workplace is creating a vision where software, supported by hardware and networking brings individual solutions that support mobility.
Though not everyone is ready for cloud yet.
How do we know this? We recently held a customer council focused on mobility in the enterprise. We had a great variety of business and geographies present and spent the time with a focus on the impact of mobility. One of the sessions concentrated on the impact of cloud at the enterprise. We’ve been doing a lot of planning, like everyone on extending additional cloud services and resources. But to a person, not one said that a cloud-based architecture was a lead decision driver for mobile support in their choice, today and for the next couple years. this was especially true for government and financial services organizations. Most had security concerns, but for many it was because their legacy systems aren’t cloud ready yet. Everyone has it on their roadmap for the future, just not today. Even more progressive customers (and almost everyone in the room was running some type of virtual desktop for its users) didn’t see the need for speed for mobile only in the cloud.
Another challenge with centralizing apps and data in the cloud is networking access. If all data is in the cloud, you have to be connected at all times. We’ve made in the past 15 years from wireless wide area speeds of under 25 Kbps to current rates in the Megabits (last I looked I average around 10-12 mbps down and 3-4 Mbps up over cellular). The problem though is that it is still all over the map and inconsistent. WiFi connectivity can be better at home and the office, reaching speeds of 30+ Mbps, but is not much help in crowded public places, or even on pay WiFi where lack of bandwidth slows the network down. When I want something for work, I want it fast and can’t wait for a better network connection. The good news is that availability of higher speed wireless networks is becoming more consistent. Even a few years ago, availability of 4G seemed limited, but today stitching together 3G, 4G and WiFi we almost have a ubiquitous network connection–even in airplanes. However, even as network capabilities improve, we believe users still love the local, native app and aren’t ready to give up on all of them yet to run them in the cloud.
The way people work today is different than just a few years ago.
The connectivity needs spurred on by always on social media drive an ever-connected society. On demand, at least for entertainment, is standard, just not for complex business apps and data yet. It doesn’t make sense to challenge a company’s bravery to make such a huge change and investment in a next generation architecture. It will come as an evolution as new systems and ways start replacing the older. We don’t see a lot of rip and replace. Our strategy is to listen to customers and help them evolve systems, work with whatever method they need, including supporting legacy applications and devices, from desktops to handhelds. Citrix leads in enterprise mobility today. Though we do see mobile in everything, we don’t see everything just going mobile. Or cloud. At least for now.