Tuesday, September 30, 2014

10 Steps to Implementing Big Data and Code Halo Strategies

Tactics without strategy are dangerous. ~ Robert Leonhard

In the new book titled Code Halos the authors and Cognizant thought leaders, Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Benjamin Pring, propose that data is the new competitive arena for businesses.  Winners in this competition are those that can collect, aggregate, analyze and react in real-time to data in a manner that drives improved customer interactions and engagements.

In another recent book titled, Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation, author James McQuivey's writes that competition in business is rapidly moving to a “focus on knowledge of and engagement with customers.” Data is being used to shape and personalize real-time interactions and engagements.  Companies are beginning to understand this.  They understand that "code halos" (people’s digital footprint, the online data about preferences, history, activities, etc.) has great value.  This data is the key to personalizing user experiences across all formats.

Businesses are interacting with their markets in a wide range of new and different formats today including traditional media, websites, mobile apps, call centers and in brick and mortar establishments.  The concept of omni-channel is widely used to mean the ability to interact and engage in real-time with customers and prospects across all of these formats.  The capability to effectively support omni-channel requires a lot of thinking, planning and purposeful design.

Businesses today are responding by developing comprehensive data-driven strategies.  These strategies acknowledge the requirement to better understand the needs, preferences and histories of their prospects and customers, so they can provide personalized and optimized user experiences that lead to more sales and happier and more loyal customers.

How do you implement a Code Halos strategy?  The following are some of the key questions that need to be considered when developing a strategy:
  1. What data, if we had it, would help us understand and offer our prospects and customers an enhanced user experience on their smartphones or tablets that would lead to more sales, better customer service and an improved user experience?
  2. What are the best and least intrusive ways to collect the data?
  3. How do we ensure that data is collected in a manner that is acceptable to our market?
  4. How can the data be used to trigger an improved user experience?
  5. How do we find business meaning in the collected data?
  6. How can aggregating seemingly unrelated data sources lead to useful new discoveries? 
  7. How can data from sensors (Internet of Things) add value to our analysis and other data sources?
  8. How can public and private databases be aggregated with "patterns of life" analysis and demographic data to discover new consumer insights?
  9. How can we collect data in real-time, analyze it and respond quickly enough to be useful in a mobile first world?
  10. How can these newly discovered business-meanings impact real-time interactions with prospects, customers, partners and employees?

Finding, collecting, integrating and analyzing a person's "code halo" represent a lot of work for an IT organization.  It takes strategy, budgets, resources and planning.   This is the kind of effort that deserves the full attention of the C suite

The following questions and survey answers (Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, July 2014) from over eighty participants exposes some of the weak areas that hinder or limit Code Halos implementations:
  1. Do you (or your clients') have IT systems that are too slow or incapable of supporting real-time mobile app requirements?  83.9% answered YES.
  2. Will your (or your clients') IT environment and back-end systems prevent you from delivering an optimized mobile application experience?  43.2% answered YES.
  3. Are your (or your clients') mobile strategies and plans inhibited or limited because of the current IT environment, infrastructure and/or design?  77.7% answered YES.
  4. Which components of an end-to-end mobile solution cause the most performance problems (involving mobile apps)?  Here are the top three answers in order of how problematic they are: Back-end systems, Internet connectivity, APIs and integration design and performance.
  5. How important will having optimized mobile applications and user experiences be to the future success of your business? 72% answered "very important" to "critical."
Legacy IT infrastructure, architecture and design are preventing companies from optimizing Code Halos strategies today.

Mobile and Code Halos’ strategies are pushing companies to review their IT environments and to analyze how they must change in order to support a mobile first and data driven world that thrives on real-time hyper-personalization of mobile experiences.  The competition is fierce.  Legacy and problematic systems must be updated, upgraded or replaced in order to support the real-time requirements of today’s mobile and always connected world.


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.