It was a fascinating discussion-- we covered what it means to be mobile first, what mobile first means to collaboration, and whether we’ll move from "mobile-first" to "mobile-only."
Mobile first is more building for a small screen
The panel agreed that “mobile first” means flipping the design pattern of enterprise systems on its head.
Think about CRM: Traditional CRM systems are a database of all your accounts and contacts, related to your open opportunities. You use a CRM by drilling down from an account to an opportunity to the people involved and, finally, to the open and recently completed activity history.
Our mobile-first apps for salespeople take completely the opposite approach. We start with the activity-- what you are trying to do right now to push your deal forward. Meeting with a customer? Responding to their email? Making a sales call? We ask how we can bring the right information and actions from all your different enterprise systems to help you get that action done… now. On a small screen. With one hand.
An app built for “one-handed workflow” is so fundamentally different that it has to be created from scratch. It actually hurts you to start with have the legacy design patterns of an app built for desktop usage.
Mobile brings collaboration to your workflow vs. forcing you to “be social”
A panel on collaboration 2-3 years ago would have been all about “social” enterprise apps. In yesterday’s panel, that word wasn’t even used. Later at the conference, Alex Rosen singled out enterprise social as the most over-hyped technology trend.
Today’s startups are focused on bringing collaboration into the tools people already use to work, not asking you to “be social” on an enterprise social network.
Our apps bring collaboration to phone calls and emails: Get an email, share it with the team. Finish a phone call, let your boss know about it.
That’s also true for the other startups on the panel: Cotap brings team and company-level mobile collaboration to traditional point-to-point messaging. Quip brings mobile collaboration to traditional files. RelateIQ brings mobile collaboration to sales relationships. All of us help people work with others on the go. None of us would describe ourselves as “social.”
From mobile first to mobile only
Today’s winners will be mobile-first. I closed the panel with a provocative prediction: Tomorrow’s winners will be mobile-only.
In the future, every workflow for every worker will start with a mobile experience. Why? Because the question “what should I do next” is one that your phone is uniquely positioned to answer. Based on who you are, where you are, who you are near, and what you want to get done today, your phone can trigger your next best activity.
Will we need to move to larger screens and different input devices to complete those activities? Sure. But mobile-only startups will be the winners as we transition to this new way of working together on the go.