The Importance of Seeing the Big Picture

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
seeing the big picture

In the end, innovation isn't just the sum of whiz-bang technologies and cool features. It's about how everything works together in a digital ecosystem.

I just returned from a two-week vacation in South America. During that time, I snapped somewhere around 1,000 photos using my Nikon DSLR and iPhone. Both cameras performed just fine, and there were a lot of spectacular pictures to enjoy afterward.

However, getting all these photos organized into albums was torturous. I've already spent a couple of hours at the task and it's still not finished. The question that ricochets through my mind is this: Why isn't photo software smarter and more tightly integrated across devices?

I use a Mac and iPhoto on my desktop, and I also have an iPad and iPhone. During the trip, I continually connected the SD card from the Nikon to the iPad and transferred photos onto the tablet. I created albums, but, unfortunately, the albums do not transfer over to iPhoto through iCloud. So, I have to create entirely new albums later.

Even worse, some photos that I snapped from the iPhone and some that I transferred to the iPad from my Nikon wound up not being imported into iPhoto correctly. So, I had to manually check photos from the cloud-based Photo Stream and determine which photos were missing. That was a long, slow and frustrating process.

Although Apple has done a reasonably good job of creating photo software, and its Moments and geotagging features sort photos on individual devices relatively well, there's apparently no way to replicate or copy events and albums over to other devices. The strength of any given device becomes a weakness in the entire ecosystem.

This mirrors the problems that businesses and IT departments face in today's rapidly evolving digital space. As an enterprise unleashes projects, features, systems and apps, they add incremental value. However, at some point, all the parts do not fit together efficiently, and people wind up wasting a lot of time overcoming workflow limitations.

Apple will eventually figure out that it needs to revamp the way photos and albums connect across devices and software. Simply enabling cloud-linked photo streams doesn't address the fundamental needs and desires of users in a post-PC world.

Likewise, business and IT leaders must constantly step back and take a 30,000-foot view of workflows and processes. It's critical to remap workflows all the time.

In the end, innovation isn't just the sum of whiz-bang technologies and cool features. It's about how everything works together in a digital ecosystem.

Customers don't want to use multiple apps, and they certainly don't want to repeat tasks when they're buying, using or seeking support on a product. They desire simple, straightforward tools that provide one-and-done capabilities. That's true digital transformation.

This article was originally published on 2014-03-31

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.

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