SMAC-ing shopping experience!

Gone are those days when I shopped with just one or two friends. Now, through Social media, I am able to shop with all my friends across the globe

Updated: Nov 11, 2013 11:17:33 AM UTC

When was the last time you stood in a queue to buy tickets for a movie or for travel? When was the last time you shopped for something without looking at the internet first? I have to confess that it has been a long time since I did it!

Now I can shop almost instantly with the touch of a finger through my mobile phone. The Mobile is revolutionizing the way we connect with an enterprise.

But is this enough? Although we enjoy all the luxury it provides, it still lacks the interaction. I miss how the shopkeeper used to engage with me and I miss the fun of shopping with my friends. And I also miss how the shopkeeper used to know my preferences and pull out one book from his rack just for me or get that coffee to my taste at every one of those branches of my favorite coffee place.


With the technology revolution, can I still continue to enjoy such levels of engagement in what I do now? Big Data and Analyticsare making personalized recommendations possible based on insights derived from the context of my shopping, my buying patterns and my interests.

Gone are those days when I shopped with just one or two friends. Now, through Social media, I am able to shop with all my friends across the globe. By allowing me to share in real time, instantly get feedback and comments on my choices, Social media is transforming the way I shop.

You can now see how Social, Mobile and Analytics are empowering me to be Pervasive, always Connected while helping out with my decision process through Insights. Isn't all this amazing?

But now the question is how enterprises can bring these together repeatedly at a low cost. They need to first realize that the value is not in just providing Systems of Record for transactions, but in building Systems of Engagement to provide a great experience. Enterprises have to be agile to build new business models around this. Often IT is seen as the long pole in the tent and a major inhibitor to business change. This would mean IT has to do away with traditional ways of building applications and systems and adopt new methods to support the business. Cloud is helping IT to precisely do this. Cloud enables to consume almost everything as a service across all IT delivery. It also eases management of services through automation & optimization, thereby allowing IT to be flexible and agile without any additional costs.

The emphasis is no longer on system to system integration, rather system to consumer interaction, thus driving 'consumerization of IT'. It is adding new dimensions to enterprise innovation and development agility. They also bring in challenges such as enabling access to enterprise resources across multiple devices and channels which was not a concern in the Web era. Not just the rate of change of technology but also the pace with which consumer preferences are changing are posing new challenges to enterprises. Companies have to realize that to succeed in these imperatives they have to tap in to the larger ecosystem, leverage the innovation of thousands of developers out in the market than just the resources within the organization.

For instance, studies have revealed that typical life span of a mobile application is quite short which stresses the need for enterprises to constantly innovate to create business value through Systems of Engagement. It is forcing developers to be on their toes who in turn are seeking quicker and easier access to infrastructure and enterprise resources.   To address these challenges, enterprises have to adopt an API-led approach that enables data, business logic to be accessed by applications built for different devices, multiple channels.

Most companies have engaged in one or more projects across these four key areas. The question to ask is, “have they identified the synergy between these projects.” For example, does your mobile application allow users to connect with their friends? Are you using analytics to provide recommendations to users and help them find what they want? It is necessary to align individual projects in these areas to realize maximum returns on the investment. I believe, very soon, gone will be those days of building traditional applications, standing it up on a dedicated infrastructure, delivering the project across six months with defined set of development resources. It will be an era of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) coming together. Is your enterprise thinking in these dimensions?  Are they ready for this Shift?

Thanks to the convergence of these technologies, right from my hand-phone I can find a seat next to my friend for a movie she is watching while enjoying my favorite popcorn.

By Sugandha Srikanteswaran, Program Director, Mobility and Emerging Technologies, PLM - Cloud/Shared Services, India Software Labs, IBM. (Follow her on @sugandhasrik)

Disclaimer: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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