Enterprise mobility in 2016: A broad perspective

S. Sundararajan, director, i-exceed Technology SolutionsS. Sundararajan, director,i-exceed Technology Solutions, discusses the latest trends that will shape enterprise mobility in 2016.

In the past, a successful business was essentially one that was either unique in its offering or its modus operandi. When venturing into a new market, the recipe would be modified to suit the local palette. All that has changed now;increasing globalization and improved internet connectivity have diversified or rather, unified people’s tastes and requirements. Today, particularly in the start-up world, the most successful business models are being replicated in different countries, with a similar success story to share in most cases (Uber, and Airbnb to name a few).

Another irony that we have been observing is how businesses are being threatened by new players who were never even operating in the same domain – like how the point and shoot cameras are being made obsolete by the smart phone. For some businesses it’s as crazy as imagining food processors giving a competition to refrigerators.

The increased adoption of smart phones and widespread penetration of mobile internet has turned every mobile moment into a new business opportunity. Unlike in the past, a customer is truly the king now and new digital strategies must be focussed entirely around customers and their user experience.

Come 2016,the corporate landscape would evolve in how enterprisesdigitally address their customers. Digital initiatives would make a transition from being a purely marketing function to include customer service, IT infrastructure, business analytics, and big data processing amongst others. The role of the CIOis expected to evolve in order to encompass digital strategies or a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) would be required to create omni channel initiatives for an organization.

However, these rosy trends do come with their thorny challenges. Digital initiatives must be backed up with IT infrastructure that is capable of handling the dynamically evolving change in requirements. Systems must be agile, lean, and optimized. A recent study byGartner showed an increase in IT spending worldwide. While large enterprises have chosen to maintain and host their digital initiatives; smaller ones have opted for SaaS hosted by large players such as Microsoft and Amazon.This keeps operations agile and scalable while reducing overhead costs considerably.

In retail, healthcare, and banking domains, customer location will be an important chip to bet on. Increasing interest in wearables and beacons enable businessesto deliver highlypersonalised information that play a significant role in creating a lasting impression on a customer. In healthcare, wearables could lead the race in life saving technology. For example, inputs from biometric sensors on a smart phone can be used to track cardiac activity of a user to alert kin in the unfortunate case of a cardiac arrest. With the evolution of the Internet of Things (IOT), we can see garment manufacturer Levi Strauss teaming up with internet giant Google in project Jaquard to create smart fabrics; the kind that you’d tap to silence your phone or gesture to start the voice recorder.

While many argue that retail is dying, a trend that has been picking up is the web driving offline sales. There will always be things that people want to look and feel before they buy. This particularly holds good in the real estate, jewellery, and automotive markets. One must also remember that not all experiences can be digitised. For example, your newspaper can be replaced with an epaper, but the same cannot be applied to all walks of life.

In the banking space, banks are in for a tough year. Banks plan on reducing headcount, downsize real estate sizes, and ramp up IT spending. New trends like app only/branch free banks and crowd sourcing from P2P networks with their lean and agile models have been able to enjoy considerable levels of acceptance by delivering more for a fraction of the fees traditional banks charge. The only hurdle they face is in making the public aware of their presence and instilling a level of faith in a new name.

Increasing digital adoption also results in an increase in digital threats. With enterprises adopting the BYOD culture, there would be a need for tighter regulations with regard to how intricately data is protected. With the evolution of the IOT, we can also expect new regulations to come into the picture to prevent misuse due to the over integration of technology and our lives.

But at the heart of everything, customer experience must be the core aspect any enterprise must plan to address. The correlation between satisfied customers and profits reaped is proportional and self-explanatory. It’s simple logic – People always consider value for money over lower costs. And lastly, while we digitize every aspect of our lives, we still remain human. Our innermost desire is the ability to connect emotively with the world around us. Enterprises should focus on being the facilitator of emotive experiences.

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