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

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor's big interest these days is "the mobile wave," which refers to a re-ordering of technology and modern life through the proliferation of iPads, smartphones and the increasingly sophisticated software that runs on them.

It's also in the title of his recently released book, "The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything," which has made The New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list.

Mobile software has also become an important focus of MicroStrategy's BI (business intelligence) software portfolio, but during a recent conversation with IDG News Service, Saylor was most interested in discussing what's holding back widespread mobility, and what it portends.

IDGNS: Do you see any obstacles in the way of "the mobile wave?"

Saylor: It only took 25 years to put mobile technology in the hands of six billion people. The technology has been proliferating pretty rapidly. [But] there's a limitation in the rate at which we can manufacture certain components.

Qualcomm has said that they're at capacity manufacturing the Snapdragon chip. Google and Amazon had a hard time producing a 10-inch tablet computer so I take that to mean that there's a shortage of 10-inch touchscreen glass in the world and I think Apple has bought it all up. I think manufacturing capacity constraints are an obstacle, and as we tool up to be able to produce hundreds of millions of tablet computers, that will take time.

I'd say certainly within five years we'll have five billion people with a smartphone and within 10 years I think we'll have five billion people with tablet computers. I think manufacturing is going to be the number-one obstacle. The number-two obstacle is just logistical constraints and the rate at which it takes time for sophisticated technology to diffuse into the hands of everybody.

IDGNS: The content we are getting on our phones now is a lot richer than it used to be, and it's only going to get richer in terms of the data intensity. Do you see problems with the global network infrastructure keeping up?

Saylor: The friction comes in the form of increased monthly fees to people that are on mobile phone networks. That will drive people to adopt more terrestrial networks and try to take advantage of Wi-Fi more often. Certainly, bandwidth is becoming more costly. There was a time when television was free and you bought the TV and you put up an antenna and you watched for free. People started paying $20 for cable and then $100 for cable and then $200 for cable, and I would say there are plenty of people right now that probably pay $100 to $200 a month for their mobile phone service.

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

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?