Plenty of organisations are looking at Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016 and thinking, “everything is new. How do I connect those trends with my business?”
Yet a lot of these trends are really macro, forecasting for five or 10 years down the track. On the one hand, that’s great, as you need to be fully aware of what’s coming, because significant shifts at the device-to-device layer will occur due to rapid advances in information exchange. However, we do need to lay some foundations to prepare for that, so 2016 represents the time to get your ducks in a row.
Not all of Gartner’s highlighted trends would apply to our customer set – 3D printing, for example- but quite a few relate directly with digital businesses that are struggling to catch up and need to know where to start.
Device mesh and ambient user experience
Take, for example, device mesh and ambient user experiences (trends 1 and 2 on Gartner’s list). 2016 will see an increase in interconnectedness of people, places, and things through internet-enabled devices, from the home office and transport to retail and personal wearables. Before, businesses thought they were getting ahead of the game by creating single-purpose apps. Look at banking, for instance. Commonwealth Bank developed an app really early on – Kaching – just to transfer money to a friend who’s another Commonwealth Bank user. It was all about trying to capture the young user – the millennial – who wanted to use their mobile devices rather than traditional in-branch banking or the online-banking model, and it was a very specific user case. But this creation of apps and the overuse of mobile devices has actually, in some circumstances for businesses wanting to go digital, made them less connected to their customers.
So in 2016, customers are going to expect and demand a smoother, more continuous flow of activity. Organisations must better think through and join up service and delivery between devices across any channel.
Out with the old
In 2015, customer insights looked mostly at web and marketing traffic data. Now, customer insights are really going to have to come from the full perspective of customer service, including such factors as complaints and feedback: how is that interaction with the customer once it leaves the ordering process and moves into fulfilment?
In with the new
So 2016 is really time to get analysing. If you haven’t thought about customer analytics to derive customer intelligence, you need to start preparing the organisation from the ground up. And though the marketing and traffic data are already there, to create a truly rich experience, you have to use the immense amount of collected data. Because digital businesses have to be not only efficient and easy to consume, but also still enjoyable. User- and customer- experience modelling and prototyping allow organisations to make reasonable assumptions before they try to implement a whole solution.
Gartner’s list addresses software-enabled business models, or algorithmic business models, that really help you identify new business value at massive scale and help businesses deal with the volume and combination of information. To derive customer insights from those components and to start even considering how to become a software-enabled business, you have to look at data collection. Most organisations are still struggling with what data they should collect and how they should classify that data. In 2016, if you’re starting to understand and connect with the ‘information of everything’, or the ‘Internet of Everything’, you still have to put in some foundations around data collection, classification, the sharing and exchange of data, and analysis and modelling, so you can actually communicate the insights you derive beyond your marketing group – to customer service and fulfilment.