Social? Cloud? What About Mobile?

In IT service management “circles” there’s a lot of talk about Social Media (with new terms like “Social ITSM”) and Cloud (with debates such as “Is Cloud the death knoll for ITSM and ITIL?”), but what about another aspect of the changing business and IT landscape that doesn’t get enough attention – Mobile?

We all have mobile devices (and I am deliberately stressing “devices” here), I don’t know whether I am a good or bad example having travelled recently with a work laptop and BlackBerry along with personal Android and iPhone devices, and an iPad.  I know, how sad. But mobile devices, and their use and management, pose a serious challenge to I&O organizations.

My Forrester colleague Matt Brown recently blogged about “Enterprise Mobility, Competitiveness and The Future Workplace Experience”, including an interesting statistic and “WIM” (what it means):

“Enterprise Mobile Technologies: Individual employees are able to put the latest mobile devices and apps to productive business use faster than their employers can. Our data suggests the most highly mobile (and highly paid) employee segments (33% of the information workforce) already embrace these tools to make themselves more productive from work, from home, and from the road. What it means: Companies have little control over who uses these.”

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Tesco’s Homeplus Innovates With Agile Commerce

When I first saw the video below of how Tesco’s Korean subsidiary Homeplus had tested a "virtual supermarket" in Seoul’s Hangangjin subway station I was impressed with the customer-centric use of mobile technology to innovate the shopping experience. The test included using basic posters with QR codes to enable the customer to create an order for delivery while on their way home.

Now we have learned that Homeplus is extending the trial to other Seoul subway stations next month with a view to rolling the format out across South Korea within two years.

What makes this possible? First and foremost an investment in a services-oriented architecture that Tesco began years ago, along with a consumer market well adapted to using mobile technology in their day-to-day life, and an operational capability to pick the items and faciliate delivery. It is intriguing to see how this test paints a future where physical displays – be they printed or digital – can be used to enhance the cross-touchpoint research, purchase, and service. Ideally these need to be highly integrated to the commerce platform to support real-time price, inventory availability, promotion, and content updates that enable full cross touch-point commerce, with this yet another interface to support shopping.

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Why Apps Aren’t The Killer App For Mobile Marketing

It was more than 10 years ago that I listened to my first sermon about the growing importance of mobile as a marketing channel. It was late 2000 or early 2001; I was working at DoubleClick at the time, and my boss left the company to join a mobile startup, claiming we should’ve already had a mobile ad offering in place because it wouldn’t be long before smartphones replaced PCs entirely.

Suffice it to say I’m still waiting anxiously for a chance to throw away my computer -- and likewise, marketers are still waiting for mobile to become a genuinely important marketing channel. It’s not that they’re pessimistic: In fact, the marketers in our surveys rank mobile just a hair behind social media in terms of channels they think will grow in effectiveness over the coming years. But anticipation has never quite equaled reality -- and so most interactive marketers across the US and Europe continue to bide their time, waiting for a mobile marketing opportunity that’ll match the hype.

And that’s where mobile apps appear to come in. Few interactive marketing opportunities are more hyped than mobile apps, but in our search for a mobile marketing channel that really works we’ve lost sight of one crucial point: Marketers’ target audiences don’t care nearly as much about branded applications as the marketers themselves do. In fact:

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