According to Richard Foster of Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, to just 15 years today. Digital upstarts — those that leverage changing customer demographics and shifting customer preferences via social mobile and analytics — are taking customers from those that don’t, and creating new business imperatives. Customer preferences today are all about being social while mobile.
In order to remain competitive, businesses need to meet these new requirements with innovative and digitally personalized customer experiences that leverage location and social preferences. These same customers have been conditioned to provide their preference and location information willingly via mobile devices and social media. IT has to tap into this information and then lead the charge (with business sponsorship) to use digital technologies to maximize the value of IT investments and drive new business growth.
Cloud computing has removed the previous barriers to entry that kept competitors out, allowing a pace of innovation never before seen. Established firms must also use cloud computing to meet these new customer requirements as follows.
- Reduce IT complexity, allowing more focus on business outcomes (customer experience) vs. the operational aspects of keeping systems functional
- Increase efficiency through improved asset utilization, aggregating demand and accelerating consolidation
- Decrease time and cost to market by shifting IT funding from capital to expense budgets
- Facilitate innovation by substantially lowering the cost of experimentation and failure risks
To deliver digitally personalized customer experiences, you need to drive your cloud efforts around marketing and related business process improvements, specifically toward customer preferences expressed via social media, mobility and location awareness. Consider the following tips:
- Shoulder the responsibility for leading your team to focus on personalized customer experiences that leverage social/preferences and mobile/location-aware improvements.
- Focus on understanding how social and mobile integrations and customizations can enhance or simplify your customer experiences. Examples include loyalty applications that remember your favorite hotel foods; or offer a free meal “on the house” if you lose at the gaming table.
- Make sure that you also mine the preferences (social) and location (mobile) information generated by your products and customers. Use this data to drive marketing. Customers willingly provide this data. Collect it, analyze, look for patterns, and empower marketing and sales and other business users to access this data. To do so you need to build this capability into your applications.
- Stay in touch with your customers, peers and marketplace. Over time customize your features to your specific environment using the information mined from customers as well as non-customers in your marketplace.
- Put in place a cloud-first policy if you haven’t already done so. See Why “Cloud First” Shouldn’t Scare IT for information on the value and use of a cloud-first policy.
- Look over your cloud plans. Be sure you’re leveraging cloud computing’s features appropriately. Understand what these features are, how they produce benefits and why those benefits are good for your firm.
- Look for where cloud features can facilitate the ease of adding or modifying business process capabilities, allowing your firm to respond quickly to opportunities and challenges in the marketplace.
- Get going today, work with key non-IT business areas (sales, marketing, production, operations, etc.) to identify your marketplace and understand your customer social and mobile preferences and patterns. Follow these steps to develop and capture a strong return on agility.
Understanding how cloud features interlock to deliver organizational agility from social, mobile and related analytics is critical to a successful cloud adoption and business success.