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Consumerisation and Application Development

F.Y. Teng | July 12, 2012
The impact of consumerisation on IS organisations and analytics.

Donald Farmer, VP, Product Management, QlikTech

In this, the second, part of MIS Asia's interview with Donald Farmer, VP for Product Management at business intelligence (BI) technology provider QlikTech, the impact of consumerisation on IS organisations in general and BI tools development and deployment in particular are discussed. The expurgated transcript below.

Talk about consumerisation.
Consumerisation is important for two reasons. The first is just the impact of devices. The estimates in our own business are that within a year or two years, about 25 percent of all business intelligence will be mobile. And that is being driven not by IT departments but by decision makers in business. When you get something like an iPhone for your birthday, you'll probably then want to use it in business. I can't remember the exact number...but was something like 60 percent of all iPads are bought by individuals and 80 percent of them are used for business.

Those people are buying their own devices. Then you have the "bring your own device" phenomenon. Now, the interesting thing is that it is also happening in software. Gartner has identified a trend of people buying their own software. They have also said that we are leading this, by the way. Business users are choosing their software and, using a phrase that Gartner uses, they are doing it "with or without IT's permission." In other words, they're going to their IT departments and saying to them: "Give me the software, let me use it." There's the example of the guy in the airport starting to download software in the airport and solving his problems before his plane landed. He didn't phone IT to ask, "Can I install this?" He just installed it himself. So we're moving from "bring your own device" to "bring your own software." And that's a huge change in consumerisation.

The other part of this is consumer behaviour. It's different and that is because consumers have learnt. Consumers learn a certain type of behaviour. They search and they browse, rather than write queries. They expect to browse an application rather than go through exact commands. Think of a search engine. Today in Google, I just enter "Search" and I get information back. If I don't like what I get, I change and refine my terms and search again. I might add a few words. I'll say "Hotels in Singapore", then "Business Hotels in Singapore", and then "Cheap business hotels in Singapore". I'm constantly refining my process. I'm refining it all the time. I'm not constructing the perfect query.

A few years ago, if I was using Alta Vista or I-Cost, I would actually be very careful to say the "hotels AND Singapore AND business AND Marina Bay". I would construct a query. It was like writing a query in a query language. None of these matters now, because we have learnt to "browse". Consumers are used to browsing and they want to browse. They don't want to have to learn the query and construct a query, they want to just browse. That means that you ought to be able to give them the data quickly. The great thing about Google is that it does two things amazingly well. It gives you lot of information and it give you lots of information very, very quickly so that you can interact with it. We have to do that. And that is very different from the approach of a SAS or Microsoft.


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