Kylemcnabb_2By Kyle McNabb

Our research into the future of desktop productivity continues, and much of what we’re learning suggests information workers want to more help tackling their work/life needs and managing their personal information. Interestingly, today, a vendor I wouldn’t have immediately thought of as a possible savior for all of us drowning in our personal information (emails, contacts, social networks, work calendars, personal calendars, personal files, and so on) stepped up to the plate. EMC announced it had Pi Corporation, a stealth personal information management vendor. I can’t figure out if this is misguided, or brilliant…

  • Personal information is a personal affair, not an enterprise affair… EMC’s an enterprise technology company. I’m convinced winners in personal information management have to appeal to us not only at work, but at home too. Outside of the IT workplace environment, who thinks of EMC? Microsoft, Apple, Google, sure. EMC?
  • …but EMC does know how to manage information… Okay, EMC does know how to manage information. They have storage, they have ECM, they have security, and they have virtualization (to name just a few things in their portfolio). EMC has plenty of trusted technology and knowhow enterprises utilize to help manage enterprise information.
  • …and they’re taking steps to move to the cloud. EMC’s moving into the cloud. Their embryonic Cloud Infrastructure and Services Division could — emphasize could — make them more attractive to information workers outside the workplace. Through the cloud they could obfuscate the complexity of setting up storage, content management, and security for the information worker — hey, as much as I think it would be cool to have my own SAN or Centera set up in my basement, I don’t have the expertise (let alone the capital) to do it.

Will EMC make a push to tackle the work/life needs of information workers? Time will tell — and I’m sure EMC will let us know soon. More likely though, I’m betting they plan to build up a robust cloud based infrastructure they can take to more consumer friendly organizations. Organizations that have our eyeballs and attention outside of work like Apple, AT&T, Yahoo! (if they persist), or even Comcast (or regional players in Europe and Asia) — could play a role in offering people personal information management help. We use them in many aspects of our personal lives. And these companies, worried about competing with Google and Microsoft for our attention as people (not just information workers), could offer us personal information management services on a platform built and managed by EMC.

Could be misguided…could be brilliant. What do you think?