I was chatting today with Paul Fulton, CEO of Orative, a maker of enterprise mobile telephony software, and he said something that got me thinking once again about this whole notion of presence and the intersection of enterprise applications and mobile voice and messaging technology. Fulton mentioned the old separation-of-church-and-state that has kept mobile devices from truly integrating with enterprise communications and data systems: Consumers own the devices; carriers own the networks; and enterprises own the data.
Now Orative and a handful of other vendors are starting to nibble away at that barrier without treading too heavily on the carriers' toes, and one suspects that the heavy shoes have yet to fall. Once they do, we'll notice a suspicious amount of Northwest soil stuck to the bottoms of those stompers, but that's another topic.
What players like Orative have hit on is that employees are just consumers that go to work in the morning, and those cool little consumer handsets have the potential to deliver much more value if you could bolt their mobile capabilities to the enterprise voice and data applications that are housed behind the firewalls. They're right, and some of the presence capabilities they are already providing are delivering dividends in applications like field sales, investment banking and other professional services where immediate decisions are critical.But the opportunity runs much deeper, as our friends in Redmond are starting to show us. One area that intrigues me is the "dashboarding" of data, where we are able to filter out relevant information from many different applications and receive reports and alerts, monitor critical operations, and share the information with other stakeholders. These dashboard interfaces seem tailor-made for mobilization. And combining that with the presence capabilities that continue to evolve makes that a pretty powerful decision-making tool.
Now, whenever I mention these little what-if scenarios, I receive messages from companies claiming to have already accomplished whatever strange feat I've noodled over, and I welcome them because sometimes they are way ahead of me. So illuminate, who's doing something like this, and if not what will it take to get 'er done?