Luciano Cunha Luciano Cunha
Oct 7, 2014 6:00:00 AM

ow that we’ve all gone mobile and social, and rely on the cloud to access data and software capabilities, what’s next for how we do business? It’s the data- and preference-driven, digital experience made possible by systems of engagement. Let’s take a look at what that means and how systems of engagement can benefit your customers and business.

Recently, we talked about how the internet of things makes it possible to turn static equipment assets into equipment-as-a-service (EaaS). The momentum for the internet of things and the potential of connected devices is accelerating fast. Analysts at Ericsson and Cisco estimate that worldwide there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020, up from 15 billion in 2015.

With this tidal wave of connected devices, combining with the already powerful social and mobile streams, supported by the cloud, companies and their employees find new ways to access business information, engage with customers and trading partners, and make use of business systems like ERP and PLM. Gartner calls this coming together of social, mobility, data, and the cloud the nexus of forces, and it is disrupting how companies envision and run their business. As restrictions on communication, collaboration, and information availability fall away, the nature of work changes, and so does the experience customers have with a company and its products. The quality and immediacy of the digital experience customers enjoy becomes a key factor in customer retention and revenue generation.

Direct consequences of the nexus of forces impact ERP, where highly customized, costly, and relatively inflexible systems are about to become legacy ERP, according to Gartner. Technology providers and the companies they serve are moving more and more capabilities and data into the cloud and make them accessible to mobile and social environments. Traditional ERP may be helpful in managing and safeguarding the wealth of information that comes from the internet of things and that is generated in social and mobile platforms, but, for many companies, the benefit opportunity of the nexus of forces lies in creating systems of engagement.

A couple of years ago, analysts discussed systems of engagement in terms of special business disciplines such as HR. In the sort time since then, they have evolved extremely quickly to become more practically feasible and transform customer experiences. Systems of engagement, made possible by mobile, social, cloud-supported, information-rich technology, directly touch people in ways that are contextual to the moment, personalized to their needs and preferences, and timely to their “moments of need.”

How would a customer experience a moment of engagement? Consider checking into a hotel. Your mobile devices not only tells you it’s time to check in, it also lets you take that step, shows you to your room, and provides the credentials that let you access the elevator, get into the room, and take advantage of the gym, restaurant, and other facilities. Once you are in the room, it can adjust the lighting, music, temperature, and mattress setting to your preferences. Such services as scheduling wake-up calls, ordering and receiving delivery from room service, or having your dry-cleaning done become satisfying, easy activities. Cloud delivery and blended data from devices, social feeds, and systems of records combine with your personal preferences to enable a positive, nurturing hotel experience.

Systems of engagement probably will first become the norm in the traditional, consumer-focused service industries such as hospitality or travel. But it won’t take long before you see them in the kinds of equipment-as-as-service scenarios we talked about earlier and in other service- and solution-delivery environments, especially as we become more and more accustomed to using mobile devices to help us handle tasks in our lives at work and outside of it.

Companies will have to find ways to rebuild their business technologies so they can become effective systems of engagement that can deliver the digital experiences customers look for. That requires a few basic, essential steps. They need to—

  • Identify the mobile moments and context that apply to their customers and business.

  • Design effective mobile engagements.

  • Engineer their platforms and processes, and position their people, to deliver the best possible experiences.

  • Review and analyze the results to create improvements and become more competitive.

We’ll talk more about how systems of engagement will affect the manufacturing and industrial environments where companies are deploying ERP systems to manage their operations. Please share your ideas and feedback. Send me a note using the form below.

Luciano Cunha Luciano Cunha
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