How Consumers Are Changing Enterprise IT
Form factors such as the tablet or the mobile phone may soon be replaced by wearables like the glass or watch
A couple of days ago, I was keenly watching the launch of Amazon Echo. The first thing that came to mind was - the Star Trek computer. Well, the Star Trek computer was fiction, but Alexa, Google Now, Siri are here today. The fiction is now a reality!
This is exactly what's happening with consumer trends. You see, something that starts as a consumer trend, soon ends up with enterprise IT, with the tagline of 'we need to support that' or 'we should use it for our employees.' Think about this: how cool would it be if I could walk into my office (or access my virtual office from anywhere) and say "OK Infosys, whom am I speaking with at 9am?" The system would promptly respond with, "You have a call with Jack Ryan at 9am, Prasad." If I need more information, I will ask: "Tell more about him," to which, my faithful system will respond with the required information: "Jack Ryan is..." and all the information from my CRM and LinkedIn will flow in along with a summary of my email exchanges with Mr. Ryan. That future, my friends, is not too far away!
We were at Olive Garden a few weeks ago and our guests walked out talking about 'the best Tiramisu' they had just savored. When a happy consumer utters these words, it should be music to the ears of that restaurant manager. Up until recently, an enterprise like Oliver Garden (Darden) would hope that such a consumer would visit more often and recommend the company's products to their friends.
Today, it's all about digital consumers, who influence the marketing efforts of an enterprise. That's why a global company needs the kind of enterprise IT that can harness the power of consumer technology. Today's best IT is all about engaging consumers through social media, data analytics and more, at their locations in order to grow their business as rapidly and as efficiently as possible.
Companies are using another tool - 'gamification' - to tap into the growing sophistication of digital consumers. Let's face it: everyone loves a game - even if it's presented in such a way that the consumer doesn't realize that he/she is playing one. But the behavioral analysis that results from such online game-playing serves up valuable consumer information to companies. Suppose a gamification element is embedded in such a way that mothers use the tool to measure and monitor the nutritional intakes of their children. A consumer focused food company like Nestle can suggest products to moms that supplement their growing children's nutritional needs.
And speaking of wearables, Fitbit is a fabulous example of non-invasive incentives to alter the user behavior. Family members compete with each other and and ask "how many steps did you do today?." Many corporations have signed up for such devices and offer points for using one, with its direct effect on health insurance (gamification at play again)! Healthcare companies will be able to improve the well-being of their customers by offering a range of wireless health monitors. Industrial safety/employee health and safety can take on a new dimension with these technologies.The truth is: mega tech trends are paving the way for new ways of living, working and playing! A few years ago, organizations were keen on exploring the ways to do business on tablets and mobile phones. Now, they have to think of ways to engage digital customers on other form factors such as glasses or watches. We are truly witnessing sea change in our 'technosphere'; a change that can be exploited to make our enterprises stronger, efficient, innovative and secure.