Enterprising Developments

Mobility is Great, But Desktops Will be Around for a Long Time to Come

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, January 11, 2011

My friend Phil Wainewright just made an interesting observation in his latest ZDNet post, something that I've been suspecting in recent times: for many software developers, it's now “mobile first, desktop second”—meaning the new innovation will go into the mobile space, and desktops will adapt.

Phil points out, and I agree, that much of the work done in enterprises will still be done on desktops. Can you imagine a customer care center with representatives plugging away on cellphones for data?  Can you imagine writing out and editing a business proposal on a smartphone? 

The desktop platforms also now have an edge in one important area over the mobile world as well— enterprises have figured out how to deploy one application that can run on any desktop, via the Web and browser model, accentuated by Web services, service-oriented architecture and now cloud. The mobile world, on the other hand, now has an assortment of proprietary platforms—iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone and more.

For insurance IT managers with tightly focused budgets, this creates a quandary—where to devote scare and expensive IT resources, such as tools, programming time and outside expertise?  I discussed some of these issues in a recent article in INN, and in preparing the piece, spoke with Eli Winn, manager of the mobile and social team for enterprise Internet solutions at State Farm Insurance Co.

State Farm is leading the pack as far as mobile services, but resource constraints have become an issue, he points out.

“Everything we do on one platform we always want to do on another platform,” Winn says. “So, for example, if we create something on iPhone, assuming that the technical capabilities are there, we would also want to replicate that on Android and for mobile Web. But resources are always a concern just because of the pace that things change. And so we want to be purposeful about which ideas we choose, knowing we can't deliver everything.”

The ultimate solution, he says, is mobile Web, in which any and all applications can be accessed through a standard mobile browser in the same way desktop applications all employ browsers to access any platform out there.

“Everything State Farm has to offer, you can get it on the mobile Web. We do try to be specific to platform, for example iPhone and android, because we know people choose their phones for a reason.  And we want to use the functionality of those platforms,” Winn says.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

 

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Driving Growth Through Distribution Management

In the current hyper-competitive marketplace, many carriers are focusing on improving their distribution practices as a key technique for driving growth.

Google and Insurance: One Year Later

Google is getting the approval for selling insurance on their compare site in a large number of states via a number of different insurance partners.

How IT Managers Can Get Close to Policyholders

Four steps CIOs need to take to lead insurance organizations to greater “customer obsession.”

Strategic Initiatives for 2015: Making Sense of the Shifts

Insurers must choose between embracing innovation or just continuing with business as usual and run the risk of becoming a casualty in the new competitive battle.

To Stay in the Game, Insurers Must Aggressively Embrace New Consumer Technologies

Emerging technologies displayed at the CES could be some of the greatest change agents since the introduction of the Internet, offering breakthroughs that could challenge many businesses.

Marketing: The Insurer’s Shadow IT Department

Marketing executives continue their march into the insurance data center.