We asked dozens of people within the Syncplicity by Axway team to challenge themselves for 30 days to only take a mobile device to meetings and leave their laptop at the desk. Or at home! The challenge was to experience first-hand what it’s like to rely only on a mobile device for everything from content consumption to editing.
Truth be told, I got a head start. The idea was hatched over the holidays and I started doing it almost immediately, well before our new mobile apps were launched.
Some of you probably saw my earlier tweets. And probably also saw that after a few weeks I slowed down on my “Go Lite” tweets. It turns out, this was not because I lost interest in the challenge. Quite the contrary! “Going Lite” became so deeply ingrained in how I did my work that I completely forgot I was taking a challenge!
And, that’s why I said the challenge was “concluding”—for me and many of you I know it will now be business as usual. I have no intention of going back.
So what did I learn from my experience?
What I liked the most…
- It really was “light”. I know many people carry Macbook Airs or other super light laptops, but not me. As a marketing processional I still require the processing power and screen real-estate of a 15 inch macbook pro for “power” work. So carrying an iPad to meetings and business trips was a real pleasure.
- No wires. Ever notice how much time is spent at the beginning of a meeting with people jockeying for table space, extension chords, power strips, etc? It was a real pleasure to just sit down and get started!
- I could easily present PowerPoints. Just because I didn’t have a computer didn’t mean I couldn’t present a deck. It was easy to do without having to launch multiple apps because of the embedded editor in Syncplicity by Axway for ipad.
- I could easily collaborate. I could collaborate with files using Syncplicity—including accessing and editing files, taking notes, sharing photos of white boards, and recording audio. I could also access shared presentations with Webex for iPad, check my email (I know… I am sure none of you check email during meetings.. it’s just me), get text messages for urgent issues, reference websites, log to do’s, etc. I was fully productive and collaborative!
Of course, if mobile devices could replace laptops 100% then laptops would no longer exist.
Here are some things that challenged me…
- Heavy-duty content creation. Anyone who has seen a Syncplicity by Axway deck knows we take design seriously, and that include animations. Building complicated decks still called for a larger screen, a mouse, and a keyboard. Not to mention movie editing (nobody will ever accuse me of not being hands on!).
- Heavy-duty multi-tasking. When creating complicated documents (presentations, documents, etc.) I learned to appreciate the convenience of having multiple windows open on a large screen and being able to cut/paste between documents and apps.
- Any meeting requiring an enterprise app that is poorly adapted to mobile. I am not going to name names, but if you are an enterprise app its time to create a first-class user experience on mobile. Your users want to do more than access reports and dashboards on their mobile devices. You know who you are.
- Falling trees and other non-workplace hazards. Ok, you might wonder if a tree falling in a forest makes a sound when nobody is around. But, I can assure you that it does when you are working on files right next to where it falls! Even a seemingly small palm tree (see image). So, when you “go lite” and are untethered from your office, cube, or desk just be aware of your surroundings!
The Go Lite challenge showed me first hand how so many “work streams” in our daily routine do can now be done entirely on mobile devices. But that doesn’t mean all of them can.
Some work streams require vendors to take a “mobile first” approach—where vendors need to understand that their user is now most often mobile, and accessing the app on a mobile device, so everything about the app and user experience needs to start with “mobile”.
A growing number of work streams require a “mobile only” approach—the end user is always mobile and requires capabilities that leverage features only available on mobile device (e.g., camera, microphone, location awareness, proximity awareness, touch screen, etc.)
For a growing minority of apps, it’s still acceptable to follow a “mobile also” approach when the primary use case requires the processing, screen, and user input characteristics of a desktop or laptop. But new mobile devices are starting to close those gaps. And, enterprise vendors that are still building “mobile also” apps for mobile users will need to wake up soon!
Thanks again to everyone inside Syncplicity by Axway, EMC, and many of our customers and friends that took the Go Lite challenge. This was as much about learning as it was to have fun. And we hope you did both!
Head of Marketing