Stephanie Trunzo, Chief Creative Officer, recently shared a letter that she wrote to her father about how she sees her role building enterprise mobility strategy for our clients. Stephanie realized a peek into her personal thoughts on our business might be interesting to others as well: those of you who work with her at PointSource, those of you who are currently our clients, and those who we hope will soon become our clients. She is excited to practice the art of the possible with you!
You asked me the other day why I love what I do, and I thought more about how to articulate the reasons. First, let me set the stage for what I see as a pivotal change in human interaction.
The fact is, although I know you are not, most people would likely be reading this email from their phone, probably laying in bed in the morning before they even get up for the day. What is the impact of that statement? It is one very simple example of how the world is fundamentally changing because of mobile access to information.
Say my email included some links to additional articles, or asked for an action on your part, you could - still while laying in bed - read those articles and complete that action. As you take your shower and get ready for the day, you would be thinking about the new book I pointed you at, or the meeting I asked you to schedule. A quick glance at the weather on your phone tells you how to get dressed for the day. While you get your morning coffee, you would remember you forgot to order a present for a birthday coming up, and quickly make a purchase with only a few finger taps, or maybe even a single fingerprint impress. The reason you remembered the birthday was also your phone – it automatically reminded you by popping up a message. You change the show playing for your kids in the other room using your phone as a remote. In the car, you plug your phone in and listen to music targeted specifically to your preferences. You can also take a call while driving. As you commute your phone reads your texts to you and you respond by talking out loud. By now, it is 8am. Remember, this is not a far-fetched example of your daughter's crazy life, this is a common scenario and interactions like these will only become more standard.
Go to the other end of the extreme, and instead imagine an emerging nation, or even undeveloped nation - places that never had ready access to information at all. No infrastructure. No Ethernet, no computers. Even without smart phones, people have feature phones (like flip phones), providing cheap, but ubiquitous access to simple browser content. Information is suddenly available with minimal infrastructure. Farmers can transmit the price of their grain via SMS text and infant AIDS treatment programs can get instant test results.
Imagine now that you own or run a large-scale, enterprise business. You have thousands of employees, and thousands of clients. The fact is that those employees and clients are the people I already described – constantly connected. Business must change as the world changes; that is the basis of healthy strategy. This is not a statement about mobility, but rather a central tenet of all healthy business. That is what we do at PointSource: we help businesses formulate a strategy that leverages the benefits and capabilities offered by mobility. The possibilities are as different as the businesses and the stakeholders themselves.
Given how much work needs to be done, how do we get these folks started? There are two primary things we must do with every client to one degree to another, regardless of industry or role: identify our clients’ business objectives, and educate them on the technology.
Identifying business objectives
Sometimes I see firms who are doing nothing, are not interested in, or haven't yet conceived of a mobility strategy. I also see firms who have thrown together something, anything, just to get to market. In my experience, both cases have the potential for substantial business risks. One case can make a firm obsolete, and the other could cost money and cause a negative perception. So, the first thing we ask about when we do an initial consultation with a prospective client is, “what are you trying to achieve with your business?” Note that I am not asking what a firm is trying to achieve with mobility, I am asking what their business' goals are at the broadest level that makes sense for the conversation.
This is one of the reasons I love my job. I get to have innovative, creative conversations with different people across different industries every day. I help take their goals and translate those into a mobility strategy.
For example, understanding that a business is particularly interested in retaining repeat customers might lead us to a discussion on loyalty programs. Or, perhaps a business is looking to reduce the amount of waste in their kitchen prep. Initially, this goal that may seems unrelated to a mobile strategy, but something as simple as a mounted tablet in the kitchen with simple prep cook quantities and tracking intelligence can reduce waste and optimize stock ordering without additional management overhead and cost. I think of these conversations as practicing the art of the possible.
Educating on the technology
It is hard to be a practicing artist if you don't understand your medium. Amazing architects, the kinds who build structures, have an incredible level of understanding of materials and physics. They make decisions that would not always make sense to a buyer. The best architects can explain to the buyer the decisions they are making in terms that are simple and convey value. That is what we expect from our architects as well.
The mobility space is evolving at such a rapid pace it is difficult for even those of us in the field who are immersed in these conversations every day to stay on top of every new innovation. It is our job to communicate the kinds of patterns and efficiencies we design with to our clients in a way that they see the value of investing in a long-term mobile strategy. We don't just deliver results, we make sure our clients are informed about their choices.
For example, you can create mobile applications using native technologies or hybrid technologies. To put it simply, developing native applications means that you are leveraging the capabilities provided by the operating system, such as Apple iOS, and you do this individually for each operating system you want to interact with. As you might imagine, this can cause development costs to scale linearly with the amount of operating systems that you choose to support. Developing hybrid applications means you are using standards-based "agnostic" approaches, like HTML5 and CSS, to write common function, and then interacting with various operating systems through skins, wrappers, or abstraction layers. The pros and cons are subtle and vast – do you need to leverage a performance benefit of native, or the practical ability to keep up with OS changes through hybrid? By meticulously defining the use cases, we provide an understanding of how to optimize across both native and hybrid - it is not an either/or proposition - as just one way we help our clients become educated on the materials we architect with.
In design, we might share with our clients a new appreciation for the pixel. With vastly reduced screen real estate, the few pixels you would not think mattered can destroy the touch size for a vital function in your application. Mobile design skills are not necessarily interchangeable with the design skills in a firm’s marketing or web team. Helping clients understand why our user interface and user experience designers specialize in mobile are critical to success takes me back to my own information architecture and design days. Don’t even get me started on the importance of content management in mobile…
Yes, I do love my job. So much. And, I get to share that every day with the people at PointSource, leading them, watching them grow, and learning from them as they also share their passion for this business through all of their own unique talents. Sounds horribly cheesy, I know, but I actually mean it, ha! Where else could your girl combine her love of psychology, technology, business and art??? So, anyhow, that is my Saturday morning epistle. Love you ;-)
About the author
Stephanie Lynn Trunzo is the Chief Creative Officer for PointSource. She is focused on driving the vision statement and bringing operational excellence to this growing IBM Premier Business Partner. She had been with IBM for 13 years, most recently as Program Director for IBM Rational Jazz Lifecycle Integration Platform, a linked data-driven integration platform, expanding ALM and PLM stories.
Photo credit for this page: Olivia Lynn Photography