The App Internet, Worksocial and the Future of Business
If Forrester Research CEO George Colony is correct, we are in the midst of a titanic shift. Since early last year, Mr. Colony has been talking about the rise of the App Internet. Some have interpreted this as yet-another “death of the Internet” theory, but what Mr. Colony is actually talking about is the demise of the browser-driven World Wide Web presentation layer that sits on top of the Internet plumbing (the underlying “series of tubes” to use then-U.S. Senator Ted Stevens’ much-ridiculed, but not entirely inaccurate analogy).
There are many very smart people who disagree with Mr. Colony’s prediction (you can read a very cogent counter-argument here), but I find it compelling. It is also closely aligned with Appian’s “worksocial” vision – a vision that includes solutions to some of the arguments against the App Internet.
In its most simplified form, Mr. Colony’s argument is that the browser-based Web is fundamentally inefficient because it cannot take advantage of the ever-increasing processing power, storage capacities and native capabilities of the mobile devices that are saturating our lives. He argues that the movement of the future is to marry these miraculous devices directly to the Internet via native mobile apps, and by-pass the web.
In a recent article on Forbes.com, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Ted Schadler stated it this way:
“The App Internet is the future of software architecture and the foundation of how people get stuff on their mobile devices (we call that mobile engagement). The App Internet means native (or hybrid HTML5) apps on mobile and desktop devices that use the Internet to get services. It’s the native app that makes the user experience good. It’s the Internet that makes the user experience relevant to life.”
App Internet proponents further argue that the growth of social computing is a harbinger of this sea change. One out of every five people worldwide will use a social network this year, and one in every four will do so in 2014 (source: eMarketer). Mobile devices will over-take desktop computers as the primary Internet access devices by 2014 (source: Comscore). Mobile and social go hand-in-hand, and, so say App Internet supporters, the writing is on the wall: the App Internet generates a fundamentally better experience because it is optimized for the mobile screen size and device functions, and can leverage the “context” of a user’s experience through device capabilities like camera, geo-location, voice note capture, etc.
How Appian’s Worksocial Fits – and Fills Some Holes
Appian’s worksocial vision marries the best of work automation (BPM) to the innovations in social collaboration and mobile access. We deliver the native mobile apps that define the App Internet, while overcoming some core App Internet objections, such as:
1) “The App Internet will place a huge burden on organizations to develop and maintain native apps across multiple mobile platforms.” Appian provides a zero-code, visual drag-and-drop development environment to begin with, and extends it through “write once, deploy anywhere.” Through simple checkboxes, any Appian application becomes a mobile app native to iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms
2) “The App Internet will exacerbate the enormous data volume and security problems we are already facing.” Appian does not store any process data, tasks, collaborations or other enterprise data on the mobile device. Our combination of storing only the minimum amount of data required for local processing, using local encryption, and secure network communication for all other data ensures enterprise data can be reliably secured on mobile devices for secure processing.
3) “The App Internet predicts the end of cloud computing.” Mr. Colony has made some controversial and headline-grabbing statements about the end of cloud computing in the era of the App Internet. I don’t buy that part of the argument. The cloud, in fact, is increasing in importance in Appian’s view (and according to our rapidly growing cloud customer base). Worksocial from Appian leverages the cloud to allow a business user to access and make use of the various applications and application components they need to do their jobs – anywhere, anytime.
Worksocial is the next evolution of Appian’s history of market-leading innovation. It can help your organization turn the Social and Mobile revolution into real business value right now. And it will position you for whatever comes next in the ever-evolving nature of business and IT, be that the App Internet, or something else we can’t yet predict.
Director of Corporate Communications