The rapid pace of technological innovation, particularly in the field of app and mobile development, can make it hard to create long-lasting solutions. In emerging IT fields, driven by a reshaping of the modern workforce into a more consumer-driven, always-connected society, it can seem hard to want to settle on a specific solution or way of doing things. This may come from the empirical knowledge that the status quo is likely to shift again within the near future, or, to quote a social buzzword currently popular on social networks, "FOMO," or "fear of missing out." Like today's social butterflies, no company with an eye toward creating the best experience for themselves and their clients wants to be on the outside looking in of a major new trend.
However, this attitude can carry an organization forever, becoming an immobilizing factor detrimental to long-term success. Eventually, a company that has waited long enough for the "next best thing" to reinvigorate their business may find that they are no longer able to ramp up a new technology or successfully deploy business functions due to the entrenched inertia that stems from waiting too long to get going. It's especially important in the case of reporting tools to find the right balance between now and later, since the tools are needed today. There are a few ways that developers, business leaders and end users can collaborate on creating a future-proof set of reporting tools, capable of producing results now and armed with the adaptability and nuance to continue furnishing results tomorrow.
Reporting tools: Strategizing for success
When building reporting tools and applications, it's important for developers to work with the end use in mind. While this sounds intuitive, the influx of business-minded employees tasked with leveraging complex information and data sets into consumable solutions has changed the nature of the typical end user profile.
Development in this sense is both a philosophical and pragmatic issue. The more ponderous can look to a recent Re/code piece by Ben Horowitz, co-founder and partner of Andreessen Horowitz, which outlined the difference between "can-do" and "can't-do" tech innovators. In many cases, otherwise promising innovations are stopped in their tracks by Byzantine organizational hierarchies, in which the negative outlook of one person can lay waste to project development. Two prominent examples are the telephone, which was decried by telegraph giant Western Union as "idiotic" and "impractical," as well as the Internet. According to Horowitz, these idea-killers took a short-sighted approach to innovation.
"They focused on what the technology could not do at the time rather than what it could do and might be able to do in the future," Horowitz wrote. "This is the most common mistake that naysayers make."
In the development of better reporting tools, it will likely be most beneficial to ignore the seeming limitations of current capabilities, instead creating a goal and figuring out how to attain it. The technological shortcomings of many enterprise end users can be turned into a strength instead of viewed as a hindrance. Understanding how these users' minds work on a granular level can be highly instructive in the development of intuitive, dynamic reporting tools that can be leveraged for substantial insights.
Reporting tools: The future of content
The more pragmatic side of development deals with observing and accommodating usage trends. As mobility becomes more prominent in the enterprise, it's important to make all necessary reporting tools compatible with mobile operating systems and visualization, according to Enterprise Apps Today. Cross-platform development, rather than native apps, may be a bit more comprehensive to build on out of the gate but likely add increased longevity and compatibility to their use in enterprise environments. Successful future-proofing entails an understanding of the challenges of the future, and the willingness to believe they can be solved.