Gartner says CIOs must address the key impacts of the “post-PC” era, as workforces and consumers increasingly access IT applications and content through mobile devices. “The release of the iPhone five years ago marked a shift towards a mobile-dominated future,” says David Mitchell Smith, Gartner research vice president. “The era of running applications solely on desktop and notebook PCs is rapidly being superseded by a fast-moving, diverse era of ecosystems that span consumer electronics, business computing, fixed-location clients and mobile clients.”
Smith lists the three key implications for this shift, and how ICT leaders can prepare for them.
First, IT organisations must rapidly evolve mobile applications and interfaces to meet sharp increases in demand across B2B, B2E and B2C channels. “Too many IT departments and end users still assume that only desktop applications are needed,” says Smith. He recommends identifying specific demand for mobile applications across the different sectors in the next 18 months; and implementing an architectural and tool framework for future context-aware apps.
Second, application developers need to retool as mobile-centric design replaces desktop-centric design for user interfaces. “The leading edge of this change is the touch-and-gesture interface that is fundamental to mobile devices, but beyond this, both audio and video channels are being used to expand this new user interface [UI],” notes Smith.
Third, he says organisations need to reallocate resources as mobile advertising projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by four to one by 2015.
“When building user interfaces or multiple screen sizes and operating systems, new tools are needed to make applications function correctly on different devices,” says Smith. “There’s no automatic way to do this — it takes engineering skills to design the right outputs.”
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