Friday, November 11, 2011

Strategic change demands adaptability

We had a lengthy internal meeting yesterday to plan our tactical response to the latest round of changes in the IT landscape that we operate in. The trigger was Adobe's announcement this week that its Flash technology is essentially dead.

Of course, the official Adobe news was only that it would not develop Flash for mobile platforms; but as mobile (smartphone and tablet) outnumbers other personal computing platforms by a factor of 4:1 it's really only a matter of time before Flash ceases to be dominant on PC-accessed versions of the Web, too. Once HTML5 gets up to speed and becomes a real contender, not just for video delivery but for the sort of applications that Flash has been used to build, then there's no reason why anyone would build new stuff for Flash when HTML5 will work nicely on mobile and 'desktop' platforms equally.

So, the analogy that came to mind - again - yesterday was that of a ship's "helmsman." The helmsman's job is to get the ship to the destination, with the cargo and crew, on behalf of the owner; even though the wind and the waves will be trying to blow things off course and the currents and other conditions will be constantly changing.

This is what happened with Adobe's Flash announcement this week. A still-great technology has suddenly become a dead-end and, in response to the changing circumstances around us, we need to adapt our tactics, while holding to the strategy and the cargo-destination combination from the helmsman analogy.
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