Drunk History of Your Mobile Strategy

Ted Schadler

Everybody can name their favorite apps. But can you name even two mobile websites you love? We can't. So we stared into the awful maw of the mobile web to learn how to fix it. 65 companies signed up to help. Along the way, we found problems stemming from the journey you've taken to be in your customer's pocket.

My colleague Danielle Geoffroy brilliantly realized that it was a drunk history, so we wanted to share it with you.

  • 2008: "There's an app for that." Savvy developers jailbroke the first iPhone so they could build apps. Apple then launched the Apple App Store and chaos ensued as every developer and company piled on the apps as the mobile strategy. (And y'all invented the pub game, "there's an app for that.") You ignored the mobile web.
  • 2010: Responsive retrofits tiny-ize websites but miss the mobile moment. Agencies and creative developers swooped in to magically morph brands' giant desktop websites into "mobile-friendly" websites. But that strategy led to the quiet crisis that responsive web design is not mobile-first.
  • 2016: Apps are winning . . . just not yours. Forrester's data shows that US consumers used 26 apps last year and 26 apps this year. (Millennials use . . . wait for it . . . 28 apps.) Consumers have enough apps — they don't want more. What's worse, they spend 60% of their total mobile time (web and app) in just three apps — usually owned by Facebook and Google. 
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R.I.P. BlackBerry Phones

Ted Schadler

An era has passed. BlackBerry will no longer make phones. RIM opened our eyes when it put the power of digital communications into our pockets. Email on the go was the beginning of the mobile mind shift.

I loved the passion of Mike Lazaridis and his team for building great devices that we'd drive home and get if we left on the counter. His devices were the first to inspire such passion, such intimacy, such a feeling of empowerment that we now all take for granted. He started it.

As a software guy, I was always saddened by the clunky interface for apps other than email and messaging, but I loved the power flowing into my palms from the BlackBerry devices I carried.

Then along came iPhone. As a software guy, it only took a few months of jailbroke phones and developer-built apps before I realized that the real mobile revolution had arrived -- a computer in your pocket. That's when the mobile mind shift really kicked in, as Julie Ask, Charlie Golvin, and Thomas Husson recognized very early.

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Video Helps Your Customers In Their Moment Of Need

Nick Barber

Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experience we found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.

The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.

UK footwear retailer Schuh expanded video chat by deploying it to mobile and increasing the number of video agents by 20% in two years. Video is now Schuh’s busiest customer service channel, eclipsing phone and text chat.

Video chat is useful across the customer journey. Agents can answer questions about a product, they can use co-browsing to help a customer navigate a site or find an item and they can answer questions about how to use a product once purchased.

Video chat endpoints diagram

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The Competitive Dynamics Of Workforce Optimization--A Critical Driver Of Customer Experience--Unpacked

Ian Jacobs

We’ve all heard the idea so much it is now approaching hackneyed cliché: technological-driven disruption can—or will—hit every industry. Uber and Lyft have monkeyed around with the fundamental order of the taxi and livery business. 3D printing threatens manufacturing. And so on and so on. The result of all this disruption: customer experience has become the one true differentiator left to most companies. At the same time, companies have begun to wake up to the idea that customer service is a critical component of overall customer experience. Dimension Data reports that 83% of companies view the contact center as a competitive differentiator, up 30% since 2012.

So, customer service has become a crucial competitive differentiator and in response companies have started to experiment with emerging technologies like cognitive computing, bots, augmented reality, and video chat. But shrewd companies have also recognized that the tools they use to manage and optimize the performance of their customer service organizations can also drive the competitive differentiation they need to thrive. Customer service application pros see workforce optimization (WFO) tools as the fuel that drives customer service organizations. Additionally, in particularly hot areas such as speech, text, and desktop analytics, customer service pros see the ability to not just improve their own team’s performance, but also drive broader business transformation. By deriving insights from actual customer interactions, these tools can help not just customer care, but also marketing, sales, operations, field service, accounts payable, and pretty much any other corner of the enterprise.

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Videoconferencing Is No Longer Boardroom Bound

Nick Barber

Throw open the boardroom doors. Videoconferencing is making a dash to to the huddle room, your desktop, and the cloud. In Forrester’s new Vendor Landscape: Videoconferencing Platforms we look at videoconferencing market trends and the 15 vendors that support the space.

 

Videoconferencing is a must have for employee experience. It drives hard cost savings with travel reductions and decreased time to market and soft savings with employees--particularly remote workers--who are more engaged. Global software decision makers aren’t in the dark about the benefits of videoconferencing as its implementation has been outpaced only by IP telephony.

 

There are three key reasons that have driven videoconferencing out of the boardroom including:

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Google Pitches In To Declutter The Mobile Web

Danielle Geoffroy

On their constant quest to enable users to quickly find the best answers to their questions, Google announced last week that starting in January 2017,  they will bury mobile websites where the content is blocked by intrusive interstitials. In other words, mobile websites that have pop-up ads won’t rank as high in Google’s search results.

 

We’ve all felt the pain of having to hover our finger over the  closeout sign of a large ad, before we can get to the content we set out to find. This frustrates us, and takes away from the immediacy we desire in mobile moments.

 

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Facebook Violates Rule #2 Of An Insights-Driven Business: Marry Algorithms And Expertise

Ted Schadler

Facebook can't buy a break with its newsfeeds. Every time it changes the model, somebody complains. But its latest snafu -- turning over the job to an algorithm without expert oversight is not the answer. Posting a fake story just isn't smart. It's not insights-driven; it's head-in-the-sand.

(The provenance of this image is opaque. If you own it, please let me know so I can attribute it properly.)

An insights-driven business is built differently and operates differently. As we say in our report

  • Rule #2: Marry algorithms and expertise to continuously improve outcomes. Algorithms are not a secret sauce; they are a model of the real world. If the algorithm says X and the expert says Y, then there's room to improve either the algorithm or human understanding. Innovators like Allstate Insurance (and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) accomplish this by putting product experts (or oncologists) and data scientists in a room to continually refine their cognitive assistants. (see endnote 9)
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Google Will Attack Popup Ads On Smartphones -- Hallelujah!

Ted Schadler
We've all experienced this garbage:
 
  1. You are on your smartphone.
  2. You find a link that you hope will help you in a mobile moment.
  3. You click with the great hope that it will be exactly what you need.
  4. Some irrelevant popup ad grabs you by the arm and blocks your path.
  5. You suffer through the ad or the countdown before getting to the site. (And feel angry or bad doing it.)
  6. Now you finally find out: Does the website help or have you clicked in vain?
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The Demand For Industry-Specific CRM Explodes

Kate Leggett

Horizontal CRM solutions — as mature as they are (and they have been around for 20+ years) — don't always do a good job at supporting industry-specific business processes. Consider these examples: CRM users in manufacturing need capabilities to track projects, schedules, time sheets, labor efficiencies, and equipment inventory in addition to core CRM attributes. Alternatively, a real estate professional would like to use CRM to track not only client contact information but also additional data elements such as properties, lease/sales comps, and stacking plans, which illustrate how healthy a property is in terms of tenants and leases.

So, over the years, CRM vendors have built vertical market software applications from the ground up for specific industries. Historic, heavyweight on-premises applications — like Oracle Siebel, with 21 built-on industry verticals — are giving way to newer, more agile software-as-a-service vertical offerings that offer scripted best practices. And other vendors have taken a different tactic and developed lighter-weight systems of engagement to consolidate and visualize data from disparate systems to drive better decision-making. This leaves a CRM buyer with three options to choose from:

CRM Type

Description

Pros

Cons

Horizontal CRM

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On-Premise Hadoop Just Got Easier With These 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems

Mike Gualtieri

Enterprises agree that speedy deployment of big data Hadoop platforms has been critical to their success, especially as use cases expand and proliferate. However, deploying Hadoop systems is often difficult, especially when supporting complex workloads and dealing with hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data. Architects need a considerable amount of time and effort to install, tune, and optimize Hadoop. Hadoop-optimized systems (aka appliances) make on-premises deployments virtually instant and blazing fast to boot. Unlike generic hardware infrastructure, Hadoop-optimized systems are preconfigured and integrated hardware and software components to deliver optimal performance and support various big data workloads. They also support one or many of the major distros such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM BigInsights, and MapR.  As a result, organizations spend less time installing, tuning, troubleshooting, patching, upgrading, and dealing with integration- and scale-related issues.

Choose From Among 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems Vendors

Noel Yuhanna and me published Forrester Wave: Big Data Hadoop-Optimized Systems, Q2 2016  where we evaluated 7 of the 8 options in the market. HP Enterprise's solution was not evaluated in this Wave, but Forrester also considers HPE a key player in the market for Hadoop-Optimized Systems along with the 7 vendors we did evaluate in the Wave. 

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