Defeating the Islands of Information: Cross Platform


In the article “Cross Platform: Looking at the Value in Task Management Systems!” I embarked on the first part of 2 parts on the value of cross management platforms for task management systems. I decided a third article was necessary as a precursor to looking at specific applications. In this article, I thought it valuable to look at why cross management platforms or systems are necessary in the first place before looking at the specifics of task management systems.

Desire to Deliver has been around for a Long Time

It was recognized, years ago, that as systems were being deployed, some by IBM, others by say Hewlett-Packard and then others by any number of suppliers including Apple that islands of information were developing fast. The idea being that systems should work together and not off unto themselves was quickly recognized. Information was quickly being seen as a corporate asset but this asset was getting locked in these islands crippling many of their capabilities to deliver sound solutions and provide more valuable information due to the lack of synergy.

Integrated Office Systems the Early Precursor

As I.T. was becoming an increasingly valuable corporate asset yet these islands of information were stifling many of the capabilities of these powerful and useful tools, Integrated Office Systems or the move towards such systems arose. The problem of the day was the technologies were too new to apply the theories effectively. That is, the theory of integrated office systems was powerful and logical but companies lacked the technologies or capabilities to effectively pull off the solution.

The integration of these information systems was seen as a must so that information could collectively be viewed and acted on. What was required though went beyond the days technological capabilities.

Task Management Integration

In the whole consideration of systems integration, one area that was viewed as very significant was that of task management. No system could be effectively used or deployed piecemeal, one system handing off to the other. The systems had to work together and information in the task management arena, although it could work in a linear fashion has to work in a parallel and sometimes backward fashion.

Again, the problem related to technology and most specifically software solutions that could work in a fashion together. The software really had to be cross compatible regardless of the hardware it ran on.

Technology has Come Far

Technology has come a long distance. It is the way this technology is deployed that determines the feasibility of good systems use.

At one time, every system had it’s own software management platform and the software of latter year could not run on another systems hardware. The problem was identified very early on as something that needed a solution.

Fortunately, solutions have been built. Although there was initial, intense focus on cross platform within a specific systems environment, there is now an intense focus on systems that will run on different hardware platforms equally and exchange the information. It is the cloud that is making all of this possible.

Smartphone as Driver

In many ways, it is the deployment of Smartphones that have been the driver of a lot of our solutions today. If project A requires the dissemination of X material and project A’s prime say task management system sits in the Apple world, these days all anyone would need is an iPhone. However, this is not practical nor wise. The nature of competition is a good one and the use of different devices driver the growth of sophisticated solutions.

So considering that not everyone will have an iPhone but needs access to the information, the solution has been to build cross platform systems in which, regardless of device, as long as the person is working with an application that is cross platform there is no need to worry. Evernote is a prime example. This application literally sits on everything. Evernote also can sit on a wealth of information and the person that uses an iPhone can have equal access as the person that uses a BlackBerry, Android or Windows phone.

So Too with Task Management Systems

We are now seeing the evolution of true cross platform Task Managers every bit as powerful as the dedicated one phone app like OmniFocus. These task managers ensure that say you work in an all Mac environment but your needs are such that a BlackBerry suits you better for the Smartphone portion, the data can reside on the system and be viable.

In fact, since we are creatures that work well with a methodology or a structure of Getting things Done we are also individuals with individual proclivities. The iPhone isn’t for everyone and you just have to watch the way some people use it relative to others. For certain people, it might be a BlackBerry that better fits their work style or workflow yet they need the same access to information.

In the next of these articles, having provided some of the history behind the need and development of cross platform systems, I’ll look at task managers that work in this very regard. Relative of device, the person will be and is working with the same information as anyone often and even better displayed with the same UI.

Thus. cross platform systems are liberating in that you are not part of a heard unless you want to be or your boss just doesn’t get it. Competition can thrive in this kind of environment without the loss in productivity. In fact, if people are working with the system that suit them best then productivity should be improved.

On to the cross platform systems in the next article.

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