Developers And Their Business Counterparts Are Caught In A Trap
They swim in game-changing new technologies that can access more than a billion hyperconnected customers, but they struggle to design and develop applications that delight customers and dazzle shareholders with annuity-like streams of revenue. The challenge isn’t application development; app developers can ingest and use new technologies as fast as they come. The challenge is that developers are stuck in a design paradigm that reduces app design to making functionality and content decisions based on a few defined customer personas or segments.
Personas Are Sorely Insufficient
How could there be anything wrong with this conventional design paradigm? Functionality? Check. Content? Check. Customer personas? Ah — herein lies the problem. These aggregate representations of your customers can prove valuable when designing apps and are supposedly the state of the art when it comes to customer experience and app design, but personas are blind to the needs of the individual user. Personas were fine in 1999 and maybe even in 2009 — but no longer, because we live in a world of 7 billion “me”s. Customers increasingly expect and deserve to a have a personal relationship with the hundreds of brands in their lives. Companies that increasingly ratchet up individual experience will succeed. Those that don’t will increasingly become strangers to their customers.
Messy, siloed data can lead to a muddled understanding of your customers and your business. The result: business goals suffer. Master data management (MDM) can help and Forrester Senior Analyst Michele Goetz is just the expert to explain it. Learn what MDM is in less than 3 minutes in this episode of Instant Insight.
About Forrester Instant Insight
Navigating the fast-changing world of business technology is a constant challenge. Forrester Instant Insight aims to provide simple, complete answers to some popular questions. Our goal: You will watch the video and be enlightened in 5 minutes or less.
This Forrester Instant Insight was produced by Mike Gualtieri, Rowan Curran, and Sarah Bookstein
Digital disruption brings new competitors, new products, new services, and new types of customer relationships into focus. As firms adapt their product market channel strategies to new threats and opportunities, they look to transform their operating models: centralizing, decentralizing, and federating treasury, procurement, finance, IT, and even product development and customer relationships. App development and delivery pros challenged with supporting new operating models often ask Forrester whether they can share the same enterprise apps between group business units, and if they can share, what the benefits might be.
This research looked at large firms that have a federated or centralized IT model to understand what they chose to standardize and what they allowed to vary in their ERP. Figures 2 and 3 of the report look at the models and the typical drivers in terms of common customers, suppliers, bills of materials, and routings. Typical drivers for such enterprise apps strategies include harvesting the economies of standardized terms with suppliers and customers. In practice, the big prize is not actually “cost” — such as bulk purchase terms with group suppliers — but squeezing out excess working capital by applying common credit and settlement terms with group-level customers and suppliers, common comparable cycle times to drive out inventory and work in progress, and common cash forecasting and treasury to make cash and credit work more effectively at the group level.
During the summer, it seems that I spend almost every Saturday mowing the yard. I’m using a self-propelled walk-behind these days, so it takes a good 2 hours to get the whole thing done. The best part is always that feeling when you cut the last swatch of long grass and know it’s time for a nice glass of iced tea or a hefeweizen on the deck. But the good feeling is more than just about being done; it’s as much about completing a good job and being able to look back and survey the results of your labors.
That feeling of satisfaction is the same one I get when a complex and comprehensive research report I’ve written goes web live on our site. In this case, it’s a document that was more than three years in the planning and six months in the execution. If you’re a Forrester client, I hope you’ll find the Developer Landscape 2013 that Vivian Brown and I co-authored illuminating. It’s my first report that extracts some of the more interesting trends we found in our 2013 Forrsights Developer Survey (although James Staten has also tapped the data already here). While I’ve fielded developer surveys before, this one is different — it represents an organic comittment from Forrester Research to a deeper quantitative examination of who developers are; what tools, processes, and technologies they are adopting and using; and what their attitudes and aspirations are. Here’s why you should care:
I’m often asked how to enable corporate mobile innovation. While important, equally important are knowing what roadblocks you’ll hit when implementing a mobile strategy that highlights your innovation. From an application development and delivery perspective, the three that I focus on are:
Time-to-market requirements. Rarely do I talk to a client and hear “We need a mobile app in the next 12 to 18 months.” Instead, most want them yesterday. Successful mobile projects now take roughly four months to complete; many come in shorter than that. Fitting into this schedule requires your development cycle teams (requirements, design, dev, and test) to all work together on the same schedule. Reducing the traditional friction between these teams is a combination of better cross-discipline tooling (think Adobe Photoshop working directly with Edge Reflow and Edge Inspect) and better communication. The tooling is coming — start working on the communication now.
You may be delivering web or mobile apps, delivering data or services through an API, or looking to monetize your data through the data economy, or even all of the above, but if your firm has realized that it needs to go beyond just using and/or providing APIs to enter the business of APIs, you need to join the API economy!
The API economy is:
All commerce generated by the business of providing, consuming, integrating, and adding value to data (and thus often to products and services) via application programming interfaces (APIs) that create economic value.
Click. That’s the sound of me taking a picture of a check with my smartphone to make a bank deposit. Mobile banking is getting very interesting and innovative, which is why one in four US adults are active mobile bankers. It’s only going to get bigger and better, says Forrester senior analyst and mobile banking expert Peter Wannemacher. He says, “Mobile banking will become the hub of many customers’ banking relationships.” And he has some strong advice for banking executives who too often have a haphazard mobile strategy. In this episode, TechnoPolitics asks Peter:
How is mobile banking adoption progressing?
How is innovation in mobile banking (such as mobile deposit) is driving consumers to mobile-first banking?
What should banking executives do to dominate the future of mobile banking?
For decades, firms have deployed applications and BI on independent databases and warehouses, supporting custom data models, scalability, and performance while speeding delivery. It’s become a nightmare to try to integrate the proliferation of data across these sources in order to deliver the unified view of business data required to support new business applications, analytics, and real-time insights. The explosion of new sources, driven by the triple-threat trends of mobile, social, and the cloud, amplified by partner data, market feeds, and machine-generated data, further aggravates the problem. Poorly integrated business data often leads to poor business decisions, reduces customer satisfaction and competitive advantage, and slows product innovation — ultimately limiting revenue.
Forrester’s latest research reveals how leading firms are coping with this explosion using data virtualization, leading us to release a major new version of our reference architecture, Information Fabric 3.0. Since Forrester invented the category of data virtualization eight years ago with the first version of information fabric, these solutions have continued to evolve. In this update, we reflect new business requirements and new technology options including big data, cloud, mobile, distributed in-memory caching, and dynamic services. Use information fabric 3.0 to inform and guide your data virtualization and integration strategy, especially where you require real-time data sharing, complex business transactions, more self-service access to data, integration of all types of data, and increased support for analytics and predictive analytics.
Information fabric 3.0 reflects significant innovation in data virtualization solutions, including:
As organizations continue their journey in the Age of the Customer, business technology leaders have a challenge ahead of them. As my colleague Harley Manning wrote in his blog earlier this week, "The quality of customer interactions with your brand results from a complex system of interdependent people, processes, policies, and technology that we call the ‘customer experience ecosystem.’"
Technology leaders have the responsibility to work with marketing and business colleagues to ensure that technology enables the business, and to align technology priorities with customer experience-related business goals. They need to understand the right organizational structures, the right blend of technologies (forget about a single “customer Experience Management” suite – it just doesn’t exist), and when to bring in outside help.
I sat down with Harley, a Vice President and Research Director on our Customer Experience team, to discuss the role of business technology professionals in a company’s customer experience strategy. You can hear our podcast in its entirety below (Episode 1), or choose a topic-sized cuts (Episodes 2, 3, and 4).
To succeed in the Age of the Customer, IT leaders that that support “front-office” business processes cannot afford failed technology initiatives. Traditionally, IT organizations have existed to support internal operations but in today’s world, the technology leaders must play a key role when it comes to delivering solutions that support better external customer experiences.
With business partners in need of help, it’s up to technology leaders to help identify and deliver solutions that will give their companies a competitive edge. This fall, Forrester will host a Forum for Application Development & Delivery Professionals that will focus specifically on the top technologies, skills and practices you will need to take a leadership role in the development of world-class customer experiences at your company. At the Forum, I will sharing findings from new research about the types and prevalence of the CRM pitfalls that you need to navigate,
Working in partnership with CustomerThink, Forrester collected opinions from over 600 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, or IT. Last week, I reported in this blog that our data show that CRM technology deployments require a balanced and multi-faceted approach which addresses four critical fundamentals: process, people, strategy, and technology.