The Just-Right Revolution

This is the first installment of a three-part series called ‘The Just-Right Revolution’ that outlines the primary drivers of the next big disruption in enterprise technology.

Getting to “just right.”

In the old fairytale, Goldilocks tried the first chair and it was too hard. The second? Too soft. Finally, she found the chair that was “just right.”

In the real world of business, we have fought battles over hardware. We have warred over software. We really want solutions that are “just right” — to lay our weapons down and just get stuff done. But how?

In a 2015 study, Gartner senior analyst Richard Marshall observes that “by 2018, more than half of all new mobile apps will be created by business analysts using code-less tools.” Marshall goes on to conclude that, “apps will become increasingly contextual…dynamically adapting to services offered by the environment.”

Here’s what Marshall is getting at.

A few months ago, one of my employees used our code-free user-experience platform (Skuid) to create a simple, yet powerful app. What did it do? To demonstrate, he went on a long run through the neighborhood wearing his smartphone. Every so often, the custom app would notify him as he ran by the addresses of prospects in our database, displaying data on the screen with contextually relevant information. Not too much. Not too little. Just right.

Turn or burn.

Nobody wants to stand on a burning platform. Yet when I look at the world of enterprise technology today, I see a lot of people fighting for a larger share of a house on fire. It’s been burning for some time. The alarms have been sounding, with ever increasing volume. But too few are paying attention.

The fire started at the end of the last century, when we moved from the Internet to the Web after the invention and dissemination of the browser. Capabilities previously restricted to the most geeky of geeks finally became democratized and made available to everyone. Nobody doubts the tumultuous impact the World Wide Web has unleashed for good and ill. But this was just the beginning of the conflagration.

With the emergence of mobile, we now live in a world of apps. We are buried in apps. The average smartphone user has installed at least 35 of them. We now have to organize our apps like we organize documents. Most of them, if we admit it, could probably be deleted. We rarely use them. But some of them get used every day, even multiple times a day. What’s the difference between a throw-away app and a mission-critical app? If you stop to think about it, the most mission-critical apps provide information appropriate to each individual’s context, role and needs. Like Google Maps, the best apps provide data and functions that are just right for my time and place.

“Just right” means human-centered.

Where should I go next? How should I prepare? Who will be there? How do I get there? What should I do? The best apps answer such questions, putting the user at the center of every screen. “Just right” means delivering the right data to the right people on the right device at the right time. It has to be easy — even “stupid simple” — not because people lack intelligence, but because people lack the time and patience to figure out how to function like a computer. People want apps that function like humans.

Your customers, coworkers and leaders don’t want to be told what hardware or database or app software to use any more. Nobody wants to be forced to use another platform with a different or clunky user interface to search for the answers we need to get stuff done. Instead, we want personalized data in a format that makes contextual sense for each individual situation. Our customers and coworkers require the right to choose their location, their device and how they want their data served. Delivering the right data in the wrong context is like forcing a person to drink hot coffee from a china cup on a freeway full of potholes: somebody is going to get burned. When people get burned, they typically don’t come back for more — not when they have choices.

The revolution is here.

Like it or not, the revolution is here: many of us already have the freedom to get to “just right.” In the next decade, the most innovative apps will not be delivered by the big names in hardware or software. The really powerful and disruptive apps will be created by individuals like you, who just want to get stuff done more quickly, easily, and profitably. The just-right revolution will be driven by code-free app creation tools that put the power of contextualized, individualized data into the hands of everyone, on any device.

Just as the browser made the Web available to all, code-free app delivery platforms will make app creation available to all. App development will no longer be the purview of geeks alone. Anyone will be able to create a killer app. But “killer” won’t be defined by a mass audience, it will be defined by an audience of one.

There are four primary drivers of the next big disruption in enterprise technology. To learn more, stay tuned for the second blog post in this three-part series: The 4 Drivers of the Just-Right Revolution.