I overheard two blokes on the elevator discussing golf last week. "Have you seen the app for The Masters? It's incredible – the best app ever." An app for a golf tournament leads the technology universe!
In the bygone era, people would flock to auto shows to see the latest car and engine designs. They were awed by how the latest technology could take a driver anywhere he wished to go in the blink of an eye. Today, if you visited an auto show, you will find that some of the most powerful personal computers now come with leather bucket seats. It's the idea that the automobile is yet another way to connect to the world via the Internet. Make no mistake: Car telephones have been around for decades. Satellite navigational systems are nothing new. But automotive internet connectivity is entering a new, exciting phase.
A very successful private equity investor once shared with delegates of a packed conference that he spends more time on the road than he does in his office. The reason, he said, is that he wants to see firsthand the types of companies in which his firm is considering investing. Not only that, but he would go to exotic lands during the worst times (weather-wise) of the year. Monsoons would hit the coasts, earthquakes would shake cities, and snowstorms would cripple roads and airports.
Nowhere has the voice of the individual become more potent than in banking. The good news is that a new trend will help banks tap into the minds of their consumer base. Imagine using light-hearted, fun techniques to lead consumers through various scenarios and judge where next to engage with them. That's why ‘gamification’ can be so powerful.
My friend's organization was spending upwards of 3% of its revenue on IT. The corresponding figure for its peers is approximately 1.8% to 2.3%. So, does that mean my friend’s business has got its math all wrong?
The thriving market of the ‘bells and whistles’ type, is a natural lure for innovative companies to create innovative apps. Two common methods to experience these apps are – Google Play or the Apple App Store. Now, here’s where innovation takes a giant leap – the Flypp Digital Experience Platform. Created by Infosys engineers, this platform is working towards the philosophy that soon, we will need only one device to cater to all aspects of life.
Planet Earth has yet to pass the 7 billion mark when it comes to human beings alive on its surface. Yet it recently passed the 7.3 billion threshold for mobile devices. That there are more mobile telephones than people in the world is one thing. But when you factor out the many humans that are barely out of diapers, or very old, that ratio becomes even more extraordinary.
Von Clausewitz famously wrote that you should know your enemy. That's mighty helpful advice for a battlefield commander. That said, I have a piece of advice for busy executives who want to get some tactical advantages for themselves and for their teams: Those 19th-century military analogies only go so far.
First it went Digital, then Mobile, and now consumer behavior is trending towards the confluence of Social, Local and Mobile. The allure of SoLoMo lies in its ability to drive action: According to research, a high proportion of consumers searching for "nearby" products or services on their smartphones, follow through; one report says that 90% of such consumers acted within 24 hours; 70% called the service provider in question; and 66% visited the stores.
Having made it through 2012 after all, what can we look forward to in 2013? Well, mostly more of the same, but with some differences. The mobility story is no longer new, but it is expected to turn a significant chapter sometime early next year, when the number of tablets and smartphones in use will exceed that of personal, laptop and notebook computers.
It's interesting how stories of contact center excellence are still few and far between. And that only makes me wonder what it'll take to "customerize" these centers, and raise their standard of service and experience. And even more importantly, why this must even be prioritized.
It's safe to say we at Infosys know a thing or two about the benefits of being mobile. I think about some of the enormous projects we've completed over the years in which some of our closest and most trusted co-workers were thousands of miles away.
Enterprises and their consumers exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship. And this arrangement is particularly relevant for digital consumers.
Sometimes a literary or musical movement can define a generation. Bobbysoxers danced to Big Band music. The Beatniks wrote about people who came of age in the early 1950s. Then came rock and roll. By the 1990s, the author Douglas Copeland captured the concerns of the generation born in the late 1960s and 1970s in a terrific book called "Generation X." Remember how corporations were suddenly referring to "Xers" in their marketing initiatives?
Sometimes it's really hard being pessimistic about the future. Sure, the economy is still growing at a snail's pace and we're in the throes of uncertain economic times. But I've been watching several marketing-related innovations that continue to evolve brand relationships with the customer at the center.
The American industrialist Henry Ford once said this. Bet he'd heard the adage "the customer is always right". Yet, he trusted his business instincts and visioning rather just the somewhat limited wish list of his customers.
To be meaningful, business aspirations must do justice to opportunity. That's simple enough to appreciate. But, the question of what prevents organizations from achieving these aspirations is tougher to answer.
With the US cable operators offering telephone and broadband services, telecom companies entering the cable's television stronghold, and Internet upstarts joining the fray, everyone is now in the same race. Amidst cutthroat competition and the blurring of lines between telephone, Internet, and cable providers, cable companies are stepping up their innovation efforts to achieve differentiation and growth.
When it comes to sharing personal information with retailers, consumers are behaving a little wary–even testy–of late. Let me share a story with you. A friend of mine received a $10 gift card from Starbucks as a reward for filling out a marketing survey.
Online collaboration, for all of us, is familiar terrain. Blogs, wikis, social media, collaboration applications on forums like Facebook, and social CRMs are an integral part of our everyday life. But, collaboration can have a very different dimension–virtual-physical collaboration.
It's a world of growing complexity and changing dynamics. And, I often find many vexing challenges, that businesses face, stem from the fact that they must, on one hand, add on new capabilities to adapt to change, and on the other rationalize these add-ons in the interests of organizational efficiency and operational simplicity.
My 5-year-old daughter loves this app on her iPad–it's called Endless Closet, which essentially lets her outfit her virtual Barbie doll. She often surprises me with her creative ensembles and her vivid explanations about her choice of colors and accessories.
Data mining is so yesterday. Today, we're engulfed in text mining–the use of computer processing to understand patterns and trends in text is becoming a more valuable business tool every day. Text mining technologies have developed at a rapid pace in the past decade and have become relatively sophisticated, but there is still no "out-of-the-box" text mining solution that plugs into existing business intelligence (BI) systems.
The computer industry has always tussled with the problem of forging a unique identity. Semiconductor companies and other hardware component suppliers for consumer electronics typically lack a direct relationship with end customers.
The game of information empowerment is at halftime now. The first half clearly was about organizing information and democratizing access. What a game that was–the World Wide Web is almost a zettabyte now!
It's hard to spot a business, brand or service that doesn't say the "P" word. Really speaking, claims of extreme personalization still belong in the realm of wishful thinking. And will continue to do so unless businesses find a way to understand each customer uniquely. Now, that may be more possible than it sounds, thanks to the notion of a "consumer genome", which like its biological inspiration provides definitive identification of its owner.
My family, I think, is fairly typical. A wife. Two kids. Four iPads. And, zippy Internet that keeps us all happy and well. That's why, when a friend told me about this new lightning-fast Internet provider, he had my attention instantly.
Today, you can actually watch streaming television on a tablet device, thanks to the technology advancements in the last couple of years. Cablevision was one of the first to launch it for TV watchers, and TV has worked its way into the "let's-stay-wired-experience" anywhere and all day long.
Remember the comparison between radio, which took 38 years to reach 50 million users, the Internet that did it in 4, and Facebook, which took less than half that time? Impressive as they are, there's a lot more to digital evolution than just numbers.
Of one thing I'm certain: When it comes to business online, Facebook is no Amazon. When Amazon first went live in 1995, it sold books. Today, the site has branched out into being a purveyor for countless other mass-market products that have nothing to do with literature.
Recently, Harrods' Managing Director, Michael Ward said that they would not be able to open a store in India. Not enough takers for expensive clothes and jewelry, apparently. Fair enough.
Like most men I know, I always feel uncomfortable selecting greeting cards for my wife–birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, Mother's Day–you get the idea. Although I consider myself a sensitive, emotionally centered, and caring male, I always feel inadequate standing in the aisle picking through cards written by love-lorn poets who are apparently paid by the word.
My 14-year-old girl came to me and asked me to help her with her physics project. It was called "It's tough being the sun". As I started getting into it, I explained to her that there are two fundamental forces at work within the sun.
No, it's not the digital consumer phenomenon and its irresistible opportunities that I will outline here. That is, indeed, a given. Let's explore what more can be achieved.
Today, the overall social media story has achieved epic status. There's nothing new to say about even the newer batch of stories. It's tweeted, liked, and followed in good faith. So let's shift focus to the interesting vignettes developing within its canvas, the stories branching out from the main tale.
It hasn't taken long for businesses to discover that viral marketing through social websites–Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and such–can easily make or break a new product or service. Branding opportunities abound.
"If you look at some of the industries that make up the manufacturing sector–mining or metals or chemicals–these have traditionally stayed away from large technology spends," Ashok Vemuri, Head of Americas, and Global Head of Manufacturing and Engineering Services, Infosys, recently quoted in Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
As enterprises witness greater need for augmented reality and gamification of business applications, there is a surge in demand for intuitive and easy-to-use applications among digital consumers. This will provide a facelift for business applications to transform as smarter applications with built-in personal touch, immediate gratification, and real-life analogies. Even large players such as SAP and Oracle have started to play on usability and adoptability of applications than functional breadth.
A lot has changed on the criminal front. Online fraudsters attack known vulnerabilities on websites on busy days when manual screening staff are overloaded with transactions. As enterprises installed fence over expensive items, fraudsters have moved their focus to more innocuous stuff. When stolen in bulk, such theft has a deep financial impact and burns a big hole in retailer's wallet and confidence. Digital consumers must stay wary of such attempts as fraudsters can hack into their accounts and membership clubs.
In the future, in most enterprises, technology spend will be higher than per capita technology consumption. This raises expectations of digerati and widens the gap between type of application and its usability. At present, most applications are rigid, non-intuitive, and difficult to adopt. However, new-generation business applications are bound to have better built-in design aesthetics and intuitive interfaces.
Digerati can win and derive better bargains from organizations that sop information across the Web and secure insights into offerings that help them plan future releases, identify products, and price patterns to optimize offerings for consumers. Data mining is useful when organizations draw intelligent conclusions from what they have mined.
Social media ROI cannot be measured in hard dollars. The mandate calls for an in-depth understanding of inherent characteristics of the media as it involves interaction with a large, floating, geographically diverse population. One way for measuring ROI is to align it with existing parallels in the marketplace. Similar to marketing when returns happen downstream, it has an impact on overall consumer behavior across the engagement life cycle. This challenge can be met with a bit of planning and benchmarking.
In a short span of time, social media has evolved from being a pastime for the digerati to an indispensable habit for millions the world over. Consumers lead the way in showing what's possible from collaborating with social media, and businesses are following closely behind. There are several websites that connect patients and caregivers to exchange ideas and lend advice and support. Given that social media will play a crucial role in the future of healthcare (though collaboration may help in finding the cure), the real potential lies in developing new treatments.
In the era of omni-channel shopping, the secret to success lies in 'simplicity' and 'seamless' nature of customer experience. According to research, omni-channel shoppers exhibit strong brand loyalty and often influence others to patronize a brand. As 'digital natives', these customers expect to be engaged in a dialogue with the brand and do not appreciate being marketed to. Enterprises that get this digital equation right can ensure their success in the digital age.
Enterprise social media platform strategy must meet an organization’s objectives and enable flexibility in drawing relevance to brand. Reliability, performance, security, operational capabilities, strong hosting capabilities, compatibility with existing IT infrastructure, and value-based pricing determine the platform-enterprise fitment. The pre-built platform should be business-ready from the word ‘go’.
Social media and mobile commerce play a critical role in increasing the social quotient of the brand by making shopping a shared experience. Besides, they help brands to build consumer intimacy, loyalty, and drive store traffic. Further, they also equip brands to gain deeper insight into consumer preferences, augment social profiles, and build personal relationships. Given this scenario, social media and mobile will increasingly play an important role in facilitating tomorrow's shopping experience.
Increasingly, social media is driving consumer buying behavior and is gradually transforming the market. Enterprises need to integrate their social media strategy with processes. A low-risk, low-cost investment, and pay-by-value model is extremely attractive. Infosys SocialEdge offers multiple solutions in an integrated platform. Business areas identified for social media integration need to facilitate high return on investment (ROI).
As the proud pioneer of the global delivery model (GDM), Infosys championed co-creation (the new GDM), much ahead of industry peers and competitors, as the way forward in IT services. Based on the premise of a new engagement model with clients, co-creation seeks inclusive and meaningful engagement with stakeholders to mutually expand value. It calls for sustained engagement with partners rather than transactional interaction. A case in point is Nike+ website. It elicits engagement with customers and also equips Nike with visibility into product usage.
The blog explores introduction of multi-channel commerce in retail industry and how it can ease the shopping experience, increase customer satisfaction, and facilitate easy order fulfillment. Further, the blog makes a case for early adoption of this strategy by stating that proactive players may end up being more competitive and provide a better marketplace experience. But, will the interests of third-party logistics providers (3PL) be hurt?
Taking a futuristic view of digital consumers amidst intelligent systems, the blog explores remote management of electronic gadgets with mobile phones. During unexpected outages, connected consumers can remotely manage gadgets and appliances while resting assured on data privacy and security.
Social media has changed the marketing structure for retailers from a controlled customer experience to a scenario similar to multilevel marketing. Further, prospective customers rely on social media to understand products and services. But customer analytics efforts appear to focus more on individual customers than 'customer influence'. Retailers may do well to realize that return on investment from 'influential customers’, which may prove more rewarding than the traditional network and viral effect.
High quality content in cyberspace is redefining the role of store associates in the real world. Apart from being a content expert on products and services, sales associates are expected to perform the roles of customer relationship management robot and technologist simultaneously. Now how do they manage that?
Growing demand for new mobile applications has forced organizations to embrace innovative business models. Learn how these models break hierarchical barriers and leverage partners to foster disruptive business avenues.
Social media sites have made it easy for you to share just about everything with everyone else. So how easily can you connect with your friends? Your friend has become increasingly social… and how well do you know her?
We all know how companies are leveraging social media for finding what consumers think about their products. And not just companies. Even consumers draw insights from the social media to make a decision about personal needs. A consumer now tends to ignore the available “facts” in favor of the conclusion he quickly derives from others’ views. The key factor that is missing –“is he doing an apple-to-apple comparison?” Is it like the suggestion he used to get from a ‘like-minded’ friend?
Google's launch of the first mobile wallet app, a few weeks ago, will trigger innovation in our lives. The NFC (near field communication) technology on which Google’s wallet works will evolve quickly. And this will replace the physical wallet.
“Consumerization of the enterprise” is no longer an indulgence. It is an imperative when digital technologies disrupt the status quo and give a new meaning to “fast cycle time.” There is no alternative to staying competitive.
Even a burger can inspire marketing creativity. As enterprises world over devise new strategies to engage digital consumers in increasingly clever ways, three trends seem to dictate their strategies – personalization, self-service and co-creation.
Instant gratification and delayed gratification both come with distinct set of advantages. For retailers, prudence lies in employing the right strategy for the given occasion thereby luring consumers and retaining them for the long term.
The laws of physics do not apply to the digital universe. The axis of digital influence is prone to disruption as is evident in the war amongst technology giants to control the digital subscriptions value chain.
Technology is all pervasive. Restaurants are no exception. They have long morphed into a social hub for networking and relaxation than being a mere destination to enjoy a good meal. Now, they have gone a step further and started providing apps to enrich consumer experience. Take a dekko at some innovative services.
There's more to the launch of Kindle Fire than meets the eye. Agreed, it has ushered in a new price war. But it has also resulted in a burning platform that calls for a radical change in consumer behavior. Learn how.
A large number of successful IT community deployments struggle to provide business value. Why is it that some programs succeed while others fail? Our expert explains that the 'secret' to a successful IT community program lies in adapting to how a community works rather than expecting a community to adapt to your program.
The digital consumer drives smartphone subscriber trends based on the best partnerships and application utility provided by the communication service provider (CSP). Therefore, CSPs must understand the trends and analyze consumer behavior accordingly.
Communication service providers (CSPs) can leverage social media for newer revenue channels. This recently happened with a popular social media mobile application launched by a software company through one of the biggest CSPs in India. It will enable the digital consumer to use social media more conveniently, on the mobile phone.
The digital consumer knows smarter ways to save his money. Paid apps are not as popular despite the fact that a growing number of apps were the primary reason smartphone sales shot up.
As more and more digital consumers access the Internet from their mobile devices, enabling accessibility through mobile browsers is becoming a dominant trend. Mobile apps too enhance the phone’s capabilities and provide a better user experience.