The Mobile App Gap: Still A Billion Apps Short

Ted Schadler

Think 1.5 million apps is a lot? Pfffft. Netcraft reports 175 million active websites globally. Each one of those sites has many "apps" embedded in it -- one for shopping, one for service, one for each region or product line. I'm guessing we have a global app potential of 1 billion. 

The ancient elders of the web era -- vendors, webmasters, marketers, technology managers, agencies -- all appear to operate under the delusion that if they add responsive web templates to their site, they can make each of those billion experiences a mobile moment. Pfffft. They can't. Responsive web techniques are better than nothing -- at least Google will stop cramming your site to the bottom of the search list. But it's not enough to serve customers in their mobile moments of need.

To do that requires knowing exactly what someone needs, then creating the shortest path from I Want to I Get. And that means nailing the mobile moment.

We know already that people spend more time shopping on their smartphones than on computers. We know already that 70% of the traffic to Walmart.com around Black Friday 2014 came from mobile devices. We know already that 69 million Americans go online more often from smartphones than any other device. [Source: Forrester Research] 

Mobile is not an option. It's your reality. Mobile is as urgent for business customers and employees as for consumers. Here's what one manufacturer had to say: "Our customers look for us when they're installing our equipment in their datacenter. If we're not on their smartphone, then we don't exist." 

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To Be Customer-Obsessed, Firms Must Also Be Technology-Obsessed

Ted Schadler

There is much talk about being customer-obsessed. What does it take to be customer-obsessed?

Recently, in The New Yorker, Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, a small energy company in Vermont, told a story of customer-obsession. Her customer-obsession starts simply: Help customers reduce their energy footprint at no net cost. Green Mountain accomplishes this by investing hugely in the latest and best technology, to pull electricity from the sun, insulate the bejesus out of the house, run massively efficient heat pumps, and micro-manage the draw on the power grid draw. Yes, the capital expenses and labor costs are immense. But when you reduce a home's energy footprint by 85%, you reduce the $250 electric bill by 85% -- or more than $25,000 over 10 years.

Green Mountain Power has a customer-obsessed culture and a customer-obsessed operating model. But it also has become expert in using technology to win, serve, and retain customers. The company is technology-obsessed, often out ahead of even the pundits when it comes to the latest technology. Green Mountain Power unites all three forces to be customer-obsessed: culture, operating model, technology.

The same is true for every company and government. Igniting a culture of customer experience is important. Relentlessly improving the operating model to put customers first is also important. But without the right customer-serving business technology in place, customers will be stuck with ancient web sites, cranky mobile apps, pathetic call centers, and disempowered employees.

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Rethinking Hybrid Development

John Wargo

A few weeks back I published a report entitled New Tools Make Hybrid Apps A Safer Bet. It’s my first report at Forrester, a brief on some of the changes happening in the hybrid application space and what they mean for application development and delivery (AD&D) pros. The topic is something I was noodling on before I joined Forrester and it was a natural topic for my first report.

I’ve been a contributor to the Apache Cordova project and written 4 books on the topic, and while a lot of developers are building hybrid apps using Cordova, broad adoption of the approach has been lacking. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of developers are using the framework, and there are a lot of apps out there, but we haven’t seen a lot of big name adoption. Developers eschew the hybrid approach for reasons both valid and invalid; recent changes in the hybrid space address some of those issues and should set the stage for broader adoption of hybrid. Check out the report and I would love to hear your feedback.

Introduction

John Wargo

As a recent addition to the Forrester Application Development and Delivery (AD&D) team, I thought I’d use my first post here to introduce myself.

I’ve been a professional software developer, in one capacity or another, for the entirety of my professional career. Like many others on this team, I’m a geek (not a nerd; yes, there is a difference) and very interested in anything related to software development, gadgets and especially mobile.

As part of the AD&D team, I’ll be focusing on Mobile development topics alongside my colleagues Jeffrey Hammond and Michael Facemire. Because of my experience with open source software, described below, I will be focusing some of my efforts on that space as well. Currently I’m working on updating some of the existing reports in the Mobile App Dev Playbook, the first of which will be published soon.

Before coming to Forrester, I was a product manager at SAP responsible for part of the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) SDK. I owned the SMP Hybrid SDK (called Kapsel) and the SAP Fiori Client, a native mobile runtime for SAP Fiori. In the last ten years, I’ve held positions at BlackBerry, BoxTone (now part of Good Technology) and AT&T. While at AT&T, I focused primarily on mobile application platforms, achieving developer certification for several products in this space.

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Where Are You On The BT Transformation Journey?

Leonard Couture

The age of the customer offers a unique opportunity for CIOs to own their destiny.  The role of technology and information in helping enterprises win, serve and retain clients has never been more important.  As the leaders of the digital agenda for their enterprises, CIO and CTOs are the key drivers in improving how customers engage with your enterpriseWe call this focus the Business Technology (BT) agenda and there is a major shift going on to invest in both human and technical capital to address it. 

There are some simple guidelines to help measure where you are on the journey:

  • Where is your innovation happening?  Innovate at the point of customer interactions – digital value is determined by how used the innovation is.  There is no better way for CIOs to be part of the age of the customer than to deliver digital innovation when and where the customer needs it.  The complexity of how to build enterprise-wide digital engagement can only be answered by having a strong BT agenda powered by BT professionals who think and act in an agile, iterative manner.  Your customers will engage your enterprise in many different ways: if you are not building an adaptive experience for them they will move on no matter how good your products may be.  This type of measurement approach is critical to realizing the effect of the digital experience you are building. In the end, the only thing that truly matters is how your customers are engaging your enterprise.
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Everyone’s Talking — About Your Digital Experience (DX) Delivery Ability

Dominique Whittaker

There’s no denying the importance of delivering an excellent mobile experience. As the pace of technology quickens, delivery cycles approach zero-day releases, and mobile moments reign supreme more than ever so now is the time to invest in the right priorities.The results from our 2015 DX Survey provided a vivid picture of digital experience technology organizations’ interesting insights. More specifically:

 

  • Enterprises manage an average of 268 customer-facing websites. When you compare this to the number of websites on the Internet, it is no surprise. However, having too many cooks in the kitchen is, so to speak. Many large enterprises we’ve spoken with have stated they have as many as 10,000 content creators and users using their digital asset management system. Being able to manage the extensive portfolio and volume of content creators has been a challenge for DX organizations.

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Customer-Obsessed Technology Platforms: If You Don't Know, You're Doing IT Wrong

Michael Facemire
 
"I don't know about you people, but I don't want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do."
-- Gavin Belson, Silicon Valley
 
Writing software to make the world a better place -- that's a lofty goal, even for Gavin Belson on the HBO hit comedy, Silicon Valley. Yet why is it that we've spent years doing the exact opposite with software in enterprise IT? We've built applications to simply show data living in our data centers. Have a lot of products to sell? Put them all on a web page! Myriad of services you offer to your customers? Throw them all on that web page too! If they really want our help, they'll figure out what it all means, right?
 
Unfortunately this is a terrible way to create applications, regardless if it's on the web, mobile, or any other emerging digital channel. The data is good, but we cannot start with our data in mind -- instead we must start with our customers' needs in mind. But why this change and why now? Our customers (and increasingly our employees) are being presented with so many more options from your competitors, both those known today and tomorrow's digital startups. Simply put, the barrier to creating new software solutions is approaching zero. Making this transformation is central to the BT Agenda -- applying technology to win, serve, and retain customers.
 
 
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The Customer Success Vendor Ecosystem Shows Signs Of Consolidation. Zuora Acquires Frontleaf

Kate Leggett

Our world is quickly moving to a subscription economy. In a subscription economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of up-front at the initial sale. This means that the duration of the customer relationship has an increasingly large economic impact on the company’s financial health. Being successful in this new economy requires that companies actively manage their customers during their engagement relationship to ensure that they are realizing the economic value of their purchase.  Why? Because if you don't, customers churn. 

A new organizational role, called customer success, has emerged which is dedicated to actively managing the post-sale journey that a customer has with a product or service that they have bought. One measure that customer success organizations use to track a customer's success is a "health score." The health score is a composite number created from product usage data (who's using the product, how is the product used), customer interaction data (support tickets, customer feedback) and contractual data. This data is pulled from systems like CRM, ERP, billing, customer survey solutions. It is tracked at a user and company level and the way it trends, and sudden changes to the score are used to understand a customer' health.

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Gainsight's Pulse Conference Underlines The Importance Of Customer Success In A Subscription Economy

Kate Leggett

I attended Gainsight’s Pusle conference on customer success, held in San Francisco, on May 12 and 13. This conference, which focused on the economic value of customer success, actionable customer success best practices and insight from customer success practitioners, drew over 2000 attendees across 20 countries. This was more than double the size of last year's conference. The speaker list read like a who’s who in the world of young B2B SaaS companies: Apttus, Box, Zuora, Yelp, Satmetrix, MindTouch, Zendesk, Influitive, InsideSales, Docusign, Atlassian amongst others, as well as more established companies such as SAP,  ATT, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Workday. It also drew a long list of VC luminaries including Roger Lee from Battery Ventures, Jason Lemkin from Storm Ventures and SaaStr, Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint Ventures and Ajay Agrawal from Bain Capital Ventures,. 

So why the interest in customer success? 

  1. Our world has moved to a subscription economy. Categories like media and entertainment and telecommunications have fully embraced this model. Other industries like  publishing, computer storage, healthcare, are moving in this direction. This shift is most notable in B2B software.  
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Get your customer service ready for the digital-first generation

Ian Jacobs

This is a guest post by Danielle Geoffroy, Research Associate on the AD&D team who helps with our customer service and unified communications research.

Do you hear that swooshing sound of a tweet being sent in the middle of a Google Hangout? It’s faint, but strong, and it means they’re coming.  Generation Y—a generation raised entirely in a technology-driven world.  This new breed of consumers demands more from companies and government agencies, with particularly high expectations for friction-free customer experiences. They’re prepared with knowledge of your company, and your top competitors. In fact, they often have more information about you and your products than your own employees.

This new generation should matter to you, because by 2018, the millennials will surpass the spending power of baby boomers. Remember: there is a dollar value to every positive and negative Yelp review, tweet, and Facebook status they target at you. With so much information at consumer’s fingertips, there is some give with the take. People don’t want to retain all of the information they receive on a daily basis. Striking a balance between the knowledge of your customers, and the methods deployed by your customer support agents, will lead to an enjoyable service experience, and keep you far away from the dreaded viral video of a support request gone wrong.

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