It says a lot when perhaps the most powerful and influential brands of our time – Google – decides to point its prodigious resources in the direction of mobile technology. We have been hearing it for years: “mobile is the future.” With its well-timed introduction of the Android OS a few years ago, to the recently announced acquisition of Motorola’s mobility division, Google is making clear that it doesn’t want to be forced to play ‘catch up’ in the mobile space.
A similar window of opportunity exists for the offshore/nearshore sourcing industry – in boosting its relevancy in a computing environment driven largely around the concept of ‘anywhere, anytime’ access. Put simply, the global outsourcing industry can choose to react and ‘take orders’ from clients in the various manifestations of mobile technology requirements, or dedicate itself to contributing meaningful tools and solutions that can potentially shape the future course of the industry itself.
The opportunity is so large it can appear – at first glance – to be quite daunting. First off, the mobile industry continues to develop at a furious pace. Just one small example: Apple faced the unsavory option of developing a mobile device (the iPhone) that would largely replace an end-users’ need to have a dedicated device (iPod) to manage one’s musical library. Steve Jobs and his leadership seized the fact that anticipating the next wave of user demand is more important that trying to stick with a viable – yet rapidly aging – solution. What’s the lesson for outsourcers? Leading providers need to continue to point their research and development units toward the anticipated requirements of the end-user. What ‘pain’ are they likely to experience, and where are their providers and vendors (software makers, handset builders, network owners and content creators) likely to come up short in meeting those swelling demands?
It is interesting to note that one of the most popular discussion points among CIOs in the year 2011 is the trend known, as the ‘consumerization of IT.’ Enterprise IT leaders are grappling with the fact that their internal business customers are showing up at their workplaces with an increasingly expanding list of expectations that point right back to the central tenant of mobile: give me access anywhere, anytime, with any device.
Can those same CIOs manage to meet all of those demands (which by the way are also coming more and more from senior executives), or can they reliably turn to third-party managed services partners and outsourcers to help those business end-users thrive? There is plenty of talk these days that in the dynamics of global outsourcing - it is less about geography and cost, and far more about innovation and what the sourcing partner brings to the table. In the case of mobile, there will continue to be a growing appetite for vendor to can clear a path toward more efficient, reliable and customized services in the mobile space.
Waiting around for the client to figure out how to articulate what they want will no longer be a viable option. In other words, vendors – the real leaders – will need to have ideas and answers before the client tries to explain the quandary they have found themselves in.