Modern Delegation: Preparing for a Highly Disruptive Trend

October 29th, 2014Mobility

Delegation has been around for a long time. It began with direct democracy that originated in Greece when certain decision making was delegated to ordinary citizens.  It was the first major development of a single ruler granting an actual transfer of power. Delegation is critical to modern businesses.  Richard Branson on Finding the Right Path said “like all young entrepreneurs, the first thing I learned was that you have got to delegate your duties if you want your venture to survive and (ideally) grow.” Delegation improves decision making, efficiency, and speed. It also provides autonomy which is crucial to seeking talent and innovation.

Today technology is evolving rapidly to where we as consumers are now delegating power to apps and machines. Terms of use (what we agree to do or not do) are fundamental to the mobile experience. However, conditions of use (things that must be satisfied/accessible) is really heating up.  As another consumer-based market force, self-directed configuration practice will become the norm.  For enterprises, this means greater enablement of role-based access through self-service. It is the direct path to service scalability, efficiency, building trust, and satisfaction.  Now is the time to re-think roles and work processes that are tied to yesterday’s management constraints, and prepare for self-organizing and direct interaction models. (e.g. Uber seamlessly connects a rider and driver and both consumers and providers are rated.)

The Rise of APIs

To appreciate the disruptive scope of this evolution, we first need to understand we are living in a time when APIs (Application Programing Interfaces) are changing the way people consume Internet-connected services. APIs are rapidly transforming the customer and community engagement of entire industries. Remember back in the 90’s where web hits were a measurement for web presence – today the important metric is API calls. And the numbers are staggering as the API Billionaires Club illustrates.  That’s on the cloud side of the equation, and on the device side Apple’s new functionality in iOS 8 released twice the number of new APIs than in the iOS 7 release.

API access is managed by delegation.  AppDelegate is an event-driven programming method that uses iOS APIs to listen to function calls outside of the app and trigger various responses. New extension capabilities in iOS 8 and the release of SDK kits are now amplifying its scope and capabilities by an order of magnitude. Those who have updated to iOS 8, will have noticed many apps asking for more access.  This includes location, contacts, photos, camera, microphone, keyboards, social accounts, motion activity, and Bluetooth. Permission requests can include – “always”. Examples of background processes include: crowd-collecting highway speed to better predict arrival times and provide alternative routes; listening for wearables to iBeacon discount offers; or using the barometric pressure sensor in your phone to record the number of floors you have climbed.

New Frameworks

New frameworks and themes are emerging to help us connect and manage the tsunami of connected things and cloud services. Apple’s SDK HomeKit, HealthKit, CloudKit, WatchKit, and app extensions provide developers a standard way to rationalize the communication protocol. Key to this rationalization is the ability to delegate to users what controls they will be granting to devices and service providers (i.e. who/what can open my garage door or monitor my heart beat).  As you can see with the large and growing number of APIs this is a very complex undertaking.

Similar to the desktop metaphor themes (icons for copy, cut, paste, scrapbooks, folders, and trash cans) that were introduced 30 years ago, we can expect new consumer-based themes that will help us manage our physical world.  For example, the HomeKit platform provides a common database for all home accessory information.  The taxonomy theme illustrated below offers context to home environment automation that is supported by a precise delegation model for accessories and services.  This provides security, privacy, and functionality, as well as, convenience by leveraging events and action sets to user-defined scenes initiated through Siri voice controls.

HomeKit Administration Model

This new market dynamic, where delegation to individual consumers prevails, will be highly disruptive. To remain competitive in this new environment, organizations will need to rethink their entire value proposition and differentiate themselves, offering reimagined products and services for both the consumers and employees. System services with scoped (human and machine) roles with predefined tasks will be needed to securely connect, manage, capture, and transform machine-generated data and cloud services from line of business assets. Creating workflow taxonomy themes (i.e. automating claims, evidence-based treatments, decentralized POS (Downtown), etc.) to reinvent engagement and visualize consumer and provider practices will be a helpful construct in getting there.

Tags-   API Mobile Mobility Modern Delegation