Initially only financial and product data were saved in databases; today, however, we can even record emotions and brain activity, thanks to advancing technology in wearables and the internet of things. A consumer’s intentions, perceptions, actions and reactions, facial expressions, heart rate – all these personal data are coming within arm’s reach of the information society. This provides a new potential in terms of competitiveness, as described in the report Strategic Information Management for Competitive Advantage, by Gartner analyst Mark Raskino. Fifty years of IT history have demonstrated this development: from payroll-related data, ERP systems and process automation, to “social” data including an individual’s state of mind, as represented below in the journey through history.
Towards smarter ecosystems
In this development, the Internet of Things is playing a crucial part. Clearly the products that enable people’s perception of their environment to be incorporated into IT-systems are developing. It is tricky to predict the exact impact on business, but the direction of the development is becoming apparent. The key idea here is context. If one is aware of the context in which a consumer uses a product, and the consumer’s emotional state of mind when entering a store, new avenues open up for making current IT-systems more efficient, effective and personal.
Systems have witnessed a shift from simple bookkeeping (the System of Records) to the front desk: the interaction between company and customer (the Systems of Engagement). Where these systems may not have been so very “engaging” at first, there is much more personalization, proactive support and room for the human dimension. The technology to enable this is part of a trend that is becoming more and more apparent: more social, closer to the individual, growing in terms of supply, and increasingly part of smart ecosystems.
Context is key for meaningful interactions
The opportunity to focus attention on individuals has long been an ardent wish of many organizations. For ages, the strategic plans of the majority of businesses have been all about the customer. That this obvious point is now back on the agenda, in light of technological advancements that are becoming increasingly human, may well illustrate how far organizations have drifted from their mission.
Context is the key concept: understanding and responding to the mindset of the customer (or employee). Understanding when a customer is most likely to be receptive to an interruption, and what kind of interruption will be experienced as the most valuable at that particular moment. For if there is one thing that enables all this personal and intelligent technology, it is better insight into the user and his intentions.
Find out more about this shift towards smarter ecosystems and tailored and adaptive services in our latest report on wearables, the internet of things and better and more engaging systems.