iPads, Poems and ERP

(cross posted from my Gartner blog)

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

While I’m somewhat uneasy about the impact of  the iPad and Kindle on books and literature generally  because of the intellectual property control that it gives the device maker, I’m rather impressed with the implications that it has for poetry (thanks Lia for the link).

Watch this video from the Guardian about Elliot’s Wasteland. It is simply delightful.  Congratulations to Faber for doing this.  It is doing things with poems that weren’t possible before.

For the enterprise software vendors reading this, doing the stuff you do on the desktop or the laptop on the iPad doesn’t really impress anyone, it merely illuminates the gap between yesterday and tomorrow. Do something that you couldn’t do before.  Surprise and delight. Innovate rather than replicate.

update: credit due to touchpress.com as well as Faber.

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The iPad and the Enterprise

(photo cc attrib. pntphoto thanks!)

 

I have seen several keynotes from software executives lately. I recollect that all of them had iPads in them.  Seasoned software executives have been getting positively giddy about the iPad.

It has given Steve Jobs a sales force that he didn’t know he had. It seems without really planning for it, the iPad has become the must have enterprise device.

But what I’ve not yet seen is the must have enterprise application on the iPad. Yes, I’ve seen some neat repurposed reports and simple entry screens  but I’ve not yet seen an application that makes me sit up and say wow, that is a new and fundamentally better process enabled by the device.  So far the innovation is all about Apple.

If the iPad  means that enterprise software companies build executive dashboards and actually get executives engaging with the software, then fine, okay, that is an improvement from where we are today, but it misses the big opportunity.

Just  fixing the executive user experience has a whiff of the Potemkin about it. It would be a whole lot better if the iPad helped to prompt a rethink of how everyone interacts with enterprise software. Today the iPad merely illustrates the chasm between the typical enterprise software user experience and delightful design.

Application flexibility and the tree pose

Cross posted on my Gartner blog.

As some of my readers know I’m a keen but slow amateur cyclist. It is a sport that doesn’t really lead to flexibility, the opposite in fact. I need to stretch if I’m going to have any sort of suppleness, so I have made a conscious decision to stretch a lot. (Thanks Graeme

It works for Lance.

 image

I’ll admit to doing yoga poses while on client phone calls. Nothing like a tree or butterfly pose to focus the mind while discussing ERP upgrades or SaaS talent management vendors.

In my ever widening search for obscure metaphors, it seems to me that enterprise applications are a bit like cyclists. Unless they get stretched regularly, they loose their suppleness. They become rigid, which eventually undermines performance.

So many ERP and HCM projects start with good intentions. The project drives change, and then you go live. Then you stop stretching.Things ossify.

Can your system still touch its toes?

  • Do you have people in your organization who can help the systems flex or do you need to get in expensive SI resources to make changes?
  • How easy is the product for business experts to configure?
  • How can you easily test configuration changes?
  • More than these though, get over the idea that going live is the end of change. It should simply be the beginning.

Some of this is about the inherent suppleness of the technology, but even the most flexible technology turns rigid if you don’t embrace continuous change. Get that mat out.