MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor on implications of 'the mobile wave'

The BI (business intelligence) vendor chief has a New York Times bestseller on his hands

By , IDG News Service |  Software

IDGNS: Where should enterprise technology companies place their research investments now with respect to mobility?

Saylor: I think the most important thing right now would be to say, 'how do I mobilize existing enterprise applications off of the entire generation of applications that were created around Windows computers or on web devices.' I think all of those are obsolete at this point. If you can do the business process on a mobile phone or an iPad it's 10 times easier and probably 10 times better.

The number-two interesting research idea is to create mobile applications to automate business processes that were never automated before. There is a whole class of things that people have automated, like the [general ledger], payroll, [human resources] processes and order entry and that's well-understood.

But there's another set of business processes, like taking home room attendance, or issuing a prescription, or issuing a traffic ticket. Those were never automated during the last round of automation, because it doesn't make any sense for a police officer to carry a laptop computer around to issue you a traffic ticket and it didn't make sense for teachers in elementary schools to take attendance using that.

I think that there's a set of business processes that are ready to be automated and become enterprise software, if you will, and there's another set of business processes that already were during the Internet wave but they're now obsolete. They can be mobilized and upgraded dramatically to be much more powerful and easy to use.

IDGNS: When you talk about the mobile wave, are you really saying that all these Windows PCs in every company are going to be gone, or are you talking about coexistence?

Saylor: If you take people like me, 95 percent of my processing has shifted off of my desktop to my tablet or my smartphone. I think that the growth rate on desktops has stalled out, and I think desktops will be stagnant or will actually shrink.

I don't think they'll go away, because I think there's a legitimate use of a desktop for document production. If you're creating spreadsheets, if you're doing Adobe Pagemaker stuff or photographic retouch or video editing, well, then a desktop makes sense. It's just that there's a world of people out there that don't create documents. They consume documents.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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