It's one day before the big Apple conference on September 9, and most people in the mobility space are already tired of Apple news. In a reflection of modern technology coverage, I've received countless comments that can be distilled to "enough already" about a product that doesn't officially exist: Apple's wearable computer dubbed iWatch. While it may be tempting to tune out all things Apple, and roll your eyes when a peer from the outside IT runs into your office to ask if you're heard of NFC, the Apple event is the perfect time to start discussing your own mobility strategy.
Mobile, front and center
Most technology discussions with peers outside IT are a painful process. Unless there's a compelling need or something in it for them, eyes glaze over and proposed budgets collect dust. Emerging technologies in particular are a tough sell, since there is rarely a guaranteed timeline for success or return on investment. Love or hate Apple, the company has perfected the art of priming the press and the public for its announcements, and everyone from mainstream journalists, to fashionistas, to the CEO down the hall is likely aware of Apple's event and some of the broad trends that it may reveal about mobility.
If nothing else, you should have a solid explanation of how these trends impact your company and what will be required to take advantage of them. NFC is relatively old news for mobility veterans; however, your SVP of marketing may be amazed at the possibilities and be knocking at your door, asking when he'll be able to capture customer data from "tap to pay" transactions. Similarly, your COO might be asking if she can leverage wearables to increase safety in hazardous areas of the manufacturing floor. Appearing dismissive, or worse yet, belittling that person for bringing you "old news," is the perfect way to eliminate yourself from future mobility discussions.
Take the lead
In conjunction with this and future Apple announcements, there's no shame in stealing some of the company's thunder and sending out a brief synopsis of what's expected to be announced, and how those new products and technologies affect your company. To really accelerate your own internal strategy, show the efforts you currently have underway in these areas, and highlight where they need more resources. If you've struggled to get internal mobile testing resources, for example, connect the assumed release of iPhones with larger displays to the need to test multiple form factors for functionality and user experience. In essence, nearly anything from the Apple event could be tied to your own mobility strategy, even if it's a complete lack thereof.
Don't be an iGrouch
Yes, you're likely sick and tired of news about a company that routinely takes existing technologies, from tablets to mobile payment, slaps an "i" moniker on it and calls it new, and has the press eating out of its hand while it does so. Despite that, getting some much attention focused on mobility creates opportunities for those of us in the field that far outweighs hearing about iWatch for the thousandth time. Even if you're not in a position to set your company's enterprise mobility strategy, having insightful thoughts about trends in mobility ready to go when you're asked about something i-related will let you shift the discussion in a more interesting direction and influence people who are newly interested in these technologies. Share that person's excitement and present your thoughts on how a particular trend will impact the company and what resources you need to capitalize on it, and suddenly you'll have an army of allies.
Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at email@example.com, and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com. All opinions are his and may not represent those of his employer.