Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Magnolia 5 is mobile first

At the Magnolia Conference 2012 we presented the first look at Magnolia five and stated that Magnolia  5 was developed with a mobile first approach. There were two drivers for this approach:
  1. We want to bring the ease-of-use of a smartphone to the desktop. If you compare today's bloated interfaces of enterprise software with the fun-to-use, task-oriented apps on your iPhone you will immediately realize the attraction of the latter. 
  2. But there is a second attraction to developing enterprise software from a mobile perspective: the fact that you can actually use the software on a mobile device! 
So our goal was not only to make Magnolia easier to use on the desktop, but also to fully enable the same experience on your tablet computer. There has been ample research into the subject matter in recent years, and here are some quotes I presented at the keynote that highlight where the journey is taking us.
Mobile knowledge workers currently account for more than 60% of the total workforce in Brazil, Germany, India and Japan and more than 70% of the total workforce in the United States – Infotrends Jan 2011
These numbers are already more than a year old, which in terms of the mobile revolution is like a decade in desktop computing. Even if the Europeans by and large work from desktop computers, the same is not true for the rest of the world, and in any case, it is changing rapidly, everywhere, because the advance of mobile also changes the nature of business, as the next quote highlights:
Mobile applications will drive major transformation in the way businesses operate by delivering … relevant information to employees and customers – Gartner: “Effects of Mobility on Information Management”
Now these have been two good quotes why we want Magnolia 5 to run on mobile. Here is one that fits our other motivation, ease-of-use:
(Apple's iPad is) changing user expectations for how they interact with their content management systems – Gartner: “Tablets and Smartphones Are Changing How Content Is Created, Consumed and Delivered”
As you probably realize by now, what we do is what needs to be done. The future of content management (and enterprise software in general) will not look like your desktop software from the 90s, and I think we can all agree that is a good thing.

I spoke to a close friend recently, who told me that their company's Asian workforce is now exclusively equipped with iPads. They are no longer equipped with laptops. Probably the foremost reason is the lower total cost of ownership. Whatever their exact motivation, the fact remains that there is a workforce of an estimated 4000 staff being equipped with iPads instead of laptops. This is the trend that we see. And that is why Magnolia five is built mobile first.

PS: I'll be in London the next few days at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration summit. Feel free to touch base with me there.
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