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Staying afloat in the Age of the Customer
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Staying afloat in the Age of the Customer 

In a world where companies are always jockeying for position within various markets and sub-markets, the ways they make use of certain technology-based business services are often what dictates their success or failure. The benefits these services bring are twofold – they engage the customer base, while helping to boost productivity in the workplace.

But like with many new forms of technology, there are often caveats. While accelerated innovation can potentially bear fruit for companies, it also brings forth added complexity in managing technology environments and business services simultaneously. As a result, a new strategic approach to technology monitoring must be developed to ensure the success of both IT and the businesses as a whole.

In order to gain a better understanding of how enterprises were approaching technology monitoring, IBM collaborated with Forrester Consulting to carry out a survey of 138 businesses with at least 1,000 employees in four different countries.

Implementing digital strategies

According to the results of the study, remaining competitive through the use of businesses technologies in what is often a crowded market is the key to success in the “Age of the Customer.”

When asked what they were doing to improve their products or services, 44 per cent of respondents said that their company had created smartphone or tablet applications to extend the use or value of their offerings. An additional 44 per cent stated that their company focused on embedding software intelligence or connectivity into their products or services. Furthermore, 42 per cent said that their strategy involved faster and more frequent product launches.

The challenge of complexity

Integrating technology into the quest for customer value has paid dividends for many companies. But despite that, there are three elements that are causing businesses to get tangled in a web of complexities.

More than half of respondents indicated that they prefer to launch and operate businesses processes either on-site, or in the cloud, which sometimes results in the adoption of a hybrid cloud infrastructure. As useful as this might sound, it actually complicates the delivery of services because the public cloud is not owned by anyone, which gives IT less control over it.

The rise of mobility has empowered consumers and businesses alike. In fact, the study shows that both employees and customers are demanding for apps that can be accessed anywhere on any device. This has created a conundrum because this technology needs to have the ability to monitor availability, performance while balancing the development of good experiences through apps and mobile devices.

Several major players in the technology space are preaching the concept of agility, which is a “survival of the fittest” approach towards staying afloat in the marketplace. App development processes are being directly impacted by the demand for faster product releases.

According to the results of Forrester’s Forrsights Survey from 2013 Q4, more than half of IT managers are building, expanding, have already introduced, or were planning on implementing Agile or Lean software and maintenance practices in 2014. While this helps to get the products into the consumers’ hands faster, it also results in the discovery of service delivery issues after the fact.

Conclusion

Business technologies have helped to expedite many processes that were once cumbersome and required additional time and resources in order to function properly. However, as useful as they are, they are certainly not infallible. Steps must to be taken to ensure the functionality of these apps or devices, their ability to monitor results in real time, and most importantly, their ability to engage customers.

Click here to read the entire report.

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