We constantly hear about the Apple ecosystem and now the Android ecosystem and even the Samsung ecosystem. These ecosystems are great for convenience until they begin to lock a user out that’s not part of the ecosystem.
Where this is most problematic relates to software. If software only runs on an iPhone and is not available to the Android problems can ensue. These problems are now starting to get quite problematic.
Where the problem is the most prominent is at work. The world is becoming or has become a smaller place. The economy is now referred to as a global economy. Designs for product may originate in North America but the manufacturing is likely done elsewhere. Communication is thus critical like at no other time in history.
Ecosystems can also be thought of as closed systems as opposed to open systems. Open systems are designed to work with other systems. In one’s personal life this may not be as critical as it is in the work environment but it’s annoying when you can’t work with someone else or receive information easily as a system works only in the ecosystem.
The Demands of the Team
Teams are frequently formed in the work environment to tackle problems. As an example, a team is formed to work on a project to meet some desired goal. The team, to function at a minimum, needs to communicate fluidly.
In today’s work environment, users are allowed to use their own smartphones. There are a lot of advantages for a business to allow this. When a team is formed, and of say ten people 7 are iPhone and 3 are Android users, they all need to be able to communicate in an entirely fluid fashion. You can think of their Smartphones as both gateways to information and the processors of information
Fortunately, standards have always been prevalent with respect to communications protocols. People generally can email each other, text each other and use a shared chat system to work on the project.
Difficulties tend to arise Around Critical Applications
Workers work with applications such as task managers and project managers to get the job done. They use Databases and Notes applications and analytical tools to analyze information and come up with strategies and solutions. If some or all of the tools are systems dependent or closed there’s going to be a problem. You’re going to either have to work with work arounds or tools to cross the chasm which may not prove easy.
What makes the process easier is if these applications are cross platform. That is they equally run on an Android and an iPhone. The more that applications are cross platform the easier the solution. The most appropriate tools can be brought to bear to solve the problem. This demand is simply increasing with time. It won’t go away. However, some developers are rigid in their approach not to make their applications cross platform. Long term, this will likely hurt the developer but in the short term it hurts the individual workers.
Cross Platform tools will enable Productivity
In the long run, there will continue to be a push to cross platform solutions. The more tools that work this way the more likely it is you can bring the right tool to the problem and further some tools already have a wealth of data that could get lost or at least not used.
Manufacturers feel threatened that if they loose their closed ecosystem their competitive advantage could be washed away. This is a hard one. Apple’s ecosystem gives them competitive advantage but at the same time can hinder companies workflow. On the other hand, if they support open systems and protocols they will enable solutions that are difficult for one supplier to do it all.
Regardless, market forces are at work making this a reality. Software Developers like Evernote ensure they run in numerous environments giving competitive leverage. This then encourages competition developers to do the same thing.
As time has passed, we have moved from very closed systems to more open systems. Likely this trend will continue improving the solutions delivered and the output of corporate and personal workers.