A Happy Company-Customer Marriage Begins With Engagement

I just bought an Apple MacBook Air. As a Windows power user, I worried some about transitioning from my Windows environment to this newfangled, alien-looking device. Happily, it has been a no-brainer. Although I haven't figured out everything, I've embraced the Mac environment relatively easily, despite the fact that Microsoft has entwined itself in my DNA over the past two decades. I'm very happy with my new friend.

Finding the right MacBook case, however, is a different story. I don't know if I want a neoprene zipper bag or an over-the-shoulder messenger bag or the case that disguises your MacBook as a hardback book to confuse potential thieves. It must be light, and it must be fabulous. After hitting more than ten sites with many options but no way to filter for my needs, I think I'll make my own.

Every day, we interact with companies through their products. We browse their web sites, use their apps, and make use of the products we buy from them. Our experiences with these products determine whether we like those companies or not. Will we buy from them again or choose a competitor? Have they compelled us to choose them as our go-to resources for the products or services they provide? To turn people into loyal customers, companies must engage them quickly through multiple touchpoints and keep them engaged through continuously positive customer experiences. Companies need the help of their application development teams to make that happen.

What does this mean to you as an app dev pro? You must take your delivery capability to the next level by:

  • Putting the strongest people in the right places. You need to find and develop top talent, assemble empowered, high-performing teams, and make the most effective use of sourcing alternatives. Delivering applications is a human-centric activity, and you need the strongest people on your teams.
  • Transforming your practices to focus on your customers. Positive customer experiences drive engagement. Your people must get to know your customers intimately by using techniques like persona creation and customer value stream analysis. They should embrace responsibility for user experience design across multiple touchpoints and on multiple platforms, like web and mobile. And they must speed their delivery by using Lean and Agile practices.
  • Modernizing technology for speed and innovation. Emerging technologies like mobile and cloud, new concepts like the "open web," and new approaches to managing high-volume, high-velocity data must be on your team's radar, as should a plan for modernizing legacy platforms with a focus on maximizing customer value.

Are you up for this large, but exciting, challenge? If so, come join us at Forrester's inaugural Application Development & Delivery Forum in Boston on September 22 and 23. You can speak directly with Forrester's app dev analysts, including Jeffrey Hammond (Mr. Mobile), Dave West (our development process guru), and Margo Visitacion (the queen of quality). I'll be there to talk about one of my favorite topics: How can business analysts really get into the heads of their applications' end users?

I hope to see you there!