There's a reason the theme for IBM Impact 2013 was "Business. In Motion."
That's because not only has the speed of business accelerated -- but when and where business is conducted.
In yesterday afternoon's Mobile Mini Main Tent session, IBM executive Kristin Lauria and a host of other mobile experts shared their views of the trends and realities of mobile computing.
A short video set things in motion for the session, one that explained how IBM's MobileFirst initiative is all about helping clients "turn interactions into opportunities" and "putting your business in motion."
Lauria then shared a few thoughts about the changing technology and business landscape. "In the new computing era," she explained, "we've moved from single transactions to personalized engagement, from structured data to massive amounts of unstructured data, from static applications to dynamic services."
She then walked the audience through five trends that would have significant implications for the enterprise.
- Mobile is primary.
- Insights from mobile data provide new opportunities.
- Mobile is about transacting.
- Mobile must create a continuous brand experience.
- Mobile enables the Internet of things.
Lauria then passed the baton to Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, whose talk was entitled "Mobile Is the New Face of Engagement."
Ted's discussion was less about broader trends and mobile, and more about the need for organizations to home in on consumer engagement. The value proposition of mobile to the individual was simple, Schadler explained: It's about our ability to get what we want when we want and how we want wherever we want.
Schadler warned that we're almost back in 1997, however, entering a mobile bubble. "As with web," Schadler explained, "mobile looks easy at first. But it's harder than you think."
Schadler explained that, like the Web, the firms that move too slowly for their customers face disruption near and far. And that the path forward is clear: It's about mobile engagement, not applications. It's about mobile first, not just mobile pilots.
"Your customer and employees have given you permission to be in their pocket," Schadler explained. "What will you do with that permission to live up to that engagement promise?"
Mobile engagement empowers people to take the next most likely action in their moments of need. So organizations ought not start the conversation with what services they wish to expose. Instead, focus on what the tasks are they wish to accomplish and reorient your mobile experience around those tasks.
Of course, as with any emerging technology trend, be careful what you wish for, as mobile does have some unintended consequences, which is when Schadler pulled out his own list:
- Mobile is a multichannel coordination quagmire.
- Business processes are not task-oriented or outside-in.
- Design and development are not focused on the physical context.
- Systems are not ready for exploding micro-activity levels.
- Infrastructure is not tuned for last wireless mile.
All of this to say that organizations trying to adapt to mobile will not do so painlessly.
New services and technology investments will be required, along with skills, but more importantly, it will require a renewed focus on human factors and user interaction design to fully embrace the opportunity.
But for those who move forward smartly and with a focus on the consumer's needs, there is definitely a pot of gold at the end of the mobile rainbow.