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The Mobile Mind Shift

Ted Schadler | June 17, 2014
The technology platforms for mobile moments are different from the traditional systems of record that companies use to run their businesses.

Mobile has increasingly become the go to device to fulfill a consumer need. What's tomorrow's weather? Is the flight on time? Where's the nearest store, and is this product cheaper there? Whatever the question, consumers increasingly expect the answer to be on the phone. This is the mobile mind shift: the expectation to be able to get what you want, in immediate context and moment of need.


The new battleground for customers is in this mobile moment -- the instant in which the customer is seeking an answer. If you're there for them, you'll gain their loyalty; if you're not, you'll lose their business. But while both entrepreneurial companies like Uber and huge corporations like American Airlines are winning in this mobile moment, the majority of firms still think 'we'll build an app' is the solution to serving customers in their mobile moments. 


This approach, quite simply, will lead to lost business. Why? Because firms can't win the battle for a mobile moment with a technology platform built for the Web era. Mobile is not small Web. It's an entirely different experience based on simple steps and deep engagement, not self-service catalogs of transactions. Bolting a new interface on an old technology stack won't close the engagement gap that separates a company from its customer in that mobile moment of need. Rather, firms must completely 
re-architect their business technology platform to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments.


The technology platforms for mobile moments are different from the traditional systems of record that companies use to run their businesses. Systems of record, the transaction systems that companies use to manage their back office and core operations - like Nordstrom's inventory system or American Airlines' reservation system - were designed to be rock-solid indicators of truth in a business. But these systems-and the business processes they support-are not optimized for the speedy, frequent, 
and granular tasks that people with mobile devices demand.


In contrast, mobile apps focus on people, not internal processes. They draw on mobile, social, cloud, and analytics technology to deliver service directly into a customer's context. Google Now can warn that you will miss the train unless you walk a little faster down Park Avenue. That takes technology that can deliver on what a customer expects on his mobile device in his immediate context. To win in the mobile moment with its unique requirements, business executives and technology managers must fund, create, and manage a next-generation technology platform with four planks:


1. Master a slew of new engagement technologies. Mobile, social, cloud, notifications, analytics, in-app feedback, content management. These are the technologies of engagement. They must be absorbed and aggregated to deliver engaging experiences.

2. Build a cloud-based integration and delivery platform. The three-tier Web can't handle the diverse and complex needs of mobile moments. Enterprises must embrace the cloud and a new four-tier "engagement platform" that separates the Aggregation Tier, carrying API management and business logic, from the Delivery Tier, running at Internet scale and living close to the responsive edge when a customer taps an action button. The cloud is an essential component of this new architecture.

 

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