Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mobile Apps, Analytics, Code Halos and Mass Personalization

Kevin Benedict, moderates this panel of digital experience and mobility experts including Benjamin Pring, Ted Shelton and Jack C. Crawford as they review and discuss the findings of Ben Pring's recent study Putting the Experience in Digital Customer Experience.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/xsPDWReccF4?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

IoT, Software Robots, Mobile Apps and Network Centric Operations

Articles about the IoT (Internet of Things) have moved from technical journals to our daily newspapers.  In this article we will go beyond the simplistic applications talked about in the local paper and discuss how IoT and complementary technologies, including software robots, can add real business value to the rugged outdoor work found in many industries.

In the rugged blue collar environment, vehicles, high valued equipment and other assets can be connected to the IoT to wirelessly report on their status, hours of operation, location, environment, maintenance and repair needs. This data can alert management when there is a problem, event or automatically create service tickets or send alerts when an action or decision is required. The IoT has the ability to provide "situational awareness" across large geographic areas and thousands of assets all at the same time.  This capability helps both decision-makers and automated systems (software robots) better understand how to optimize the use of experts, equipment and schedules across different geographic areas.

Today, sensors can be connected to many different pieces of equipment and are capable of bidirectional data exchanges.  That means they can both send data and receive data.  Data sent to them can include commands to perform a task.  These tasks may be to unlock a door, open a gate, increase or decrease the temperature, reposition a video camera, or to remotely operate equipment, think drones!  This capability is powerful and we are just scratching the surface of possibilities.

The IoT delivers on a vision of connecting physical and digital items to each other wirelessly through a network. These connections, and the data exchanged, can provide real-time access to information about the physical world in distant and remote locations.  This information can be analyzed by humans or software robots and turned into actionable intelligence that can be utilized by automated systems or human decision-makers. Connected IoT devices integrated into business systems can lead to many innovation and gains in efficiency and productivity that were never before possible.

A few of the key markets for IoT are:
  • Utilities/Smart grids
  • Defense
  • Fleet management/Automotive systems
  • Field services management
  • Rental equipment
  • Heavy equipment monitoring (think tractors, bulldozers, cranes, etc.)
  • Plant maintenance
  • Facility management
  • Connected homes/Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS)
  • Healthcare - fitness, remote patient and health monitoring
  • Medical equipment monitoring
  • Vending machines
  • ATMs
  • POS systems
  • Remote asset management monitoring
  • Security systems
  • Consumer electronics (eReaders, Wireless Printers, Appliances, etc.) 
  • etc.
In a world filled with data from mobile users, databases, websites and the IoT, the big question is what can be done with all of this data? This is where real-time analytics are required - analytic solutions that have the capacity and capability to analyze large amounts of incoming data in real-time.  The results of their analysis can be utilized by humans and/or software robots to optimize productivity and efficiencies.  Many of today's most advanced workforce optimization and scheduling solutions use software robots that can instantly react to the real-time data and optimize thousands of schedules and assignments in seconds (see ClickSoftware).

What are software robots?  According to a new study by my colleague, Rob Brown, at the Center for the Future of Work, titled The Robot and I, humans are working smarter with sophisticated software (robots) to automate business tasks that help humans attain new levels of process efficiency, such as improved operational costs, speed, accuracy and throughput volume.  In short, software robots are digital assistants and force-multipliers for humans.

Data and Real-Time Decision Making

Enterprise mobility apps offer significant value on their own, but when integrated into a network with many other applications, objects with sensors, software robots and other data collection technologies, the value of this "network of applications" is multiplied.   The challenge, as identified earlier, is to understand how to use this plethora of real-time data for the purpose of real-time decision-making and operational improvements.  Innovations within many modern military organizations offer lessons for us in the commercial space.

USAF Colonel John Boyd
USAF Colonel John Boyd is credited with the concept of the OODA loop. The OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) is a concept originally applied to combat operations and processes that involves analyzing real-time data and rapidly making decisions that enable you to out-maneuver an opponent.

According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe, orient, decide and act.  An entity (whether an individual, organization or software robot) that can complete a decision-making cycle quicker - observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby "get inside" the opponent's decision cycle and gain the advantage.

In the business world, OODA loop is an emerging concept for making better decisions, faster, and managing more effectively.  The ability to observe and react to unfolding events more rapidly than competition requires data collection, communication, analytics and solutions that can use the data to optimize operations. Some of the different enterprise solutions that can exploit IoT data are:
  • Field services solutions
  • Fleet management systems
  • Supply chain management systems
  • Optimized workforce scheduling solutions
  • Solutions using predictive analytics and machine learning
  • Enterprise asset management solutions
  • Plant maintenance systems
  • Facility management solutions
  • CRM solutions
  • Healthcare management systems
  • etc.
Many of these solutions are already utilizing software robots to quickly accomplish complex tasks and to analyze and act on incoming data.

Let us walk through a field service scenario together.  Mobile apps and sensors (human and machine) supply the data that enables a field services manager or software robot to observe.  Business analytic systems can be used to help managers or software robots to be oriented as to what the data means, and how it impacts the mission/project/task.  Next the manager or software robot needs to decide what actions to take, and then act.

OODA Loop
The “loop” in OODA Loop refers to the fact that this is a continual process. Each time you complete a cycle in the OODA loop you again observe, orient, decide and act based upon the results you see from the prior cycle.  The speed at which you cycle through the loop can be greatly enhanced by the use of supporting software robots.

Those involved in agile development projects will recognize these cycles.  If the results are positive, you can continue down that path and improve it. If the results are negative, you quickly adjust. It is a fast moving process of trial, error and adjustment until you get the results you want.

The OODA loop is particularly useful in environments that are unpredictable.  In these working environments, decision-making is often very difficult and without the appropriate training, or automated systems (software robots) - indecision, inaction, inefficiency or even chaos may occurs.  The OODA Loop is a decision-making process that is well suited to helping people or software robots make decisions and act in situations where there is no identified plan or obvious right answer.  

The military has effectively implemented the OODA Loop decision making process for use in many different areas including air combat, tank warfare, maneuver warfare strategies and daily in Special Forces operations.  Today, predictive analytics and software robots are utilizing OODA Loops with machine learning to cycle through analysis, decision-making and action even quicker.  In fact, many of today's most advanced jet fighters require the use of ultra-fast software robots in order to maneuver and stay airborne.

In a world where nearly 40 percent of the workforce is mobile, companies must learn and implement these concepts in order to successfully manage mobile and remote operations and services.  To be successful implementing and integrating the OODA loop, software robots and Network Centric Operational concepts into field services operations it requires the following:
  1. Data collection systems, sensors (IoT)
  2. Mobile apps 
  3. Real-time mobile communications
  4. GPS tracking - real time knowledge of the location of your mobile workforce, assets and inventories
  5. Real time knowledge of the capabilities and expertise of your mobile workforce
  6. Real time status and progress updates of the tasks, work assignments, projects and the schedules of the mobile workforce
  7. Real time knowledge of the location of all materials, equipment, tools and other assets required to complete specific tasks
  8. Field service management system that assigns, schedules and dispatches specific assignments to specific members of your mobile workforce (often utilizing software robots)
  9. Real-time business analytics 
  10. OODA Loop or similar rapid decision-making processes
All of the items listed above help provide the real time visibility into your field operations that is required in a networked field services organization practicing OODA Loop strategies and processes.

One of the remaining challenges, however, with the systems listed above is that humans quickly become overwhelmed by large volumes of data.  Complexity can become an inhibitor to the practice of OODA.  It is not enough to have real time visibility into massive volumes of data, one must be able to orient, or understand what the data means and how it will impact the mission.  That is where automated systems/software robots solve a real problem.  Let's consider the following scenario in a Networked Field Service environment:
  1. A high value bulldozer with an engine sensor wirelessly notifies a service provider that maintenance is needed.
  2. The information is instantly integrated into the work order management system of the service provider.
  3. The business intelligence feature analyzes the scheduling requirements related to the maintenance code that was received.
  4. Automated processes (software robots) quickly search for maintenance updates or alerts from the tractor’s manufacturer that might be related to the received code.
  5. Automated processes (software robots) search for the location of the nearest available and qualified diesel mechanic
  6. Automated processes (software robots) review all qualified mechanics' schedules and compares them for the purpose of optimizing all schedules.
  7. Automated processes (software robots) search for the nearest location where there is an inventory of parts for that particular make and model of tractor.
  8. Automated processes (software robots) looks for the nearest inventory of tools and repair equipment that may be necessary to complete the job.
  9. Automated processes (software robots) search for and reports on the current account status for the customer and any relevant warranty or service contract details.
  10. All of this data is unified and wirelessly sent to the service technician’s smartphone.
All of the above steps can be performed in seconds, with the right data, analytics, processes, solutions, software robots and strategies, but only when accurate and real-time data is available.

In summary, the Network Centric Operations concept seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by mobile, IoT, analytics, management solutions and software robotics into a competitive advantage through the robust networking of well informed geographically dispersed people and assets.   This networked organization, using the OODA loop decision making cycle, has the tools necessary to make good and quick decisions in chaotic and unpredictable environments.



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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Enterprise Mobility - Adventures and Lessons from the Mobile World Congress with Jon Reed

Diginomica's Jon Reed interviews Cognizant's Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation and Mobility, Kevin Benedict on what he learned this year at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.  This year 93,000 people came together to learn and review the newest mobile, wireless and connected smart technologies at this event.  Much has changed in the past 12 months and this interview covers many of these trends.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/8jwkhZgck1U

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Networked Field Services and Real-Time Decision Making

Investment in space travel has provided many direct and indirect benefits to society.  For example, weather forecasting technology, solar energy, scratch resistant lenses, water purification systems, enriched baby food and air quality monitoring have all made advancements because of investments in space travel research.  Likewise, the military has made huge investments related to the implementation of Network-Centric Warfare technologies and mobile data collection strategies that are now providing benefit and revolutionizing the way commercial field services organizations operate.

One of the most important capabilities that mobile solutions offer organizations today is the ability to provide better visibility, in near real time, into the activities and events taking place in the field – let’s call it situational awareness.  Historically, it has been difficult to ensure that quality and service standards and processes are followed on remote jobsites and in mobile environments.  The lack of real time visibility often means critical operational decisions and optimized scheduling choices are delayed which results in the inefficient utilization of resources and assets.

Better communication and visibility about the work completed or not completed on remote jobsites can ensure that proper policies and operational and safety processes are followed and assistance is provided when needed.  Receiving, processing and sharing sensor (M2M) data from equipment, digital images, streaming video and real time mobile app updates with management and other process experts can often resolve challenging issues quickly and efficiently.

Today mobile applications support mobile data collection, real time database queries, alerts, mobile business processes, work order dispatch, location tracking, optimized scheduling, customer updates and alerts in most areas of the world.  Situational awareness is a new capability for most organizations.  It virtually enables managers and experts from anywhere in the world to be “digitally present” on remote jobsites.  Being “digitally present” is accomplished today using a variety of tools available on most smartphones. These tools include:
  • Phone
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Voice/Audio
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Augmented reality
  • Bluetooth add-on equipment
  • GPS/Maps/Tracking
  • Custom mobile apps
Most organizations have yet to understand and exploit these capabilities to maximize efficiency and optimize returns. Each of these tools can and do play an important role in a networked field services operation.

The New Networked Organization

The most advanced militaries are developing and implementing strategies based on the concept of Network-Centric Warfare.  These strategies, methodologies and concepts have direct relevance to commercial enterprises and field services organizations today under the name Network-Centric Operations or Networked Field Services.

The military uses rugged handhelds, radios, laptop computers, satellites, radio scanners, drones (UAVs), human resources, video surveillance, aerial surveillance, infrared cameras, remote sensors of all kinds and many other embedded mobile devices to create a web or grid of data collection points that are all wirelessly networked together.

Collected data is securely and wirelessly sent to a central server where it forms a real time and unified view of operations that can be used for analysis, forecasting, resource allocation, planning and real time decision making.  This networked approach enables users to see where their assets are located, where they are needed and how best to manage them at all times to successfully and efficiently accomplish the mission.

Network-Centric Warfare, goes by the name Network-Centric Operations in commercial environments and is a relatively new military doctrine.  It seeks to translate an information advantage (real-time data collected in the field) into a competitive advantage by using it for real-time decision-making.   This networking, combined with real-time data, analytics, AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, enable organizations to behave and respond in ways never before possible.  This strategy is based on the following four beliefs:
  1. A robustly networked workforce improves data sharing.
  2. Data sharing enhances the quality of information and supports situational awareness.
  3. Shared situational awareness enables collaboration, and management and resource agility.
  4. Points 1-3 support an optimized and efficient workforce
In order to optimize the performance of a military operation or a field services organization, it is critical to know, in real time, the location of all resources, the status of each job, the assets and equipment needed, and the time each job will require. When effectively coordinated and managed, human resources, equipment, assets and mobile inventories can be shared between multiple projects, and the right experts with the right levels of experience can be used on the right projects at the right time.  The bottom line is that a leaner, more efficient organization can be put in the field that can accomplish more work with fewer resources and generate a higher return on investment.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure and Digital Transformation Discussion with Expert Ved Sen

In this Google+ Hangout OnAir, I have the privilege of discussing the findings of my recent report, Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, with UK based mobile and digital transformation expert Ved Sen. We discuss the challenges identified and possible solutions.  Enjoy!

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Introduction
Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 1
Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 2
Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 3

Video Link: https://youtu.be/IMYHORGxMYY?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 3

In this new report titled Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, I ask 80 IT and business professionals involved in enterprise and consumer mobility to answer a series of questions.  The results will be shared here in the following article series.  This is Part 3 in the series.

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, An Introduction
Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 1
Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 2

Question: Do you (or your clients’) have IT systems that are too slow or incapable of supporting real-time mobile application requirements?
Click to Enlarge

Eighty-four percent report IT systems in their inventory that are completely incapable of supporting real-time mobility.   It is important for enterprises to take inventory of their IT systems and to thoroughly understand which systems can support real-time mobility, and which cannot, and then analyze the cost of non-support.  This inventory must be reviewed alongside forecasted technology and market trends and the actions of competitors.  The pace of change, in many cases, is faster than current planning and budget cycles, and without bold action the ability to successfully compete in the future diminishes.

Click to Enlarge
Question: Will your (or your clients’) IT environment and back office systems prevent you from delivering an optimized mobile application experience?

Optimized mobile applications are viewed as key to the future success of businesses, yet 43% report IT environments and systems that will prevent them from delivering an optimized user experience. This data should be viewed with the seriousness it deserves and should serve as a call to action.

Recent studies find that mobile application users are impatient and only willing to wait for 3-5 seconds for a mobile application to load before abandoning it.  Many never to return.  This is significant as a higher percentage of commerce is moving to mobile applications.

Question: How important is the speed of a mobile application to the overall user experience?

Click to Enlarge
All survey participants identified mobile app speed as being “Important.”  80% said it was “Very Important.”  Mobile applications by their very nature are often in the hands of a moving user.  Location and time are key data points used to establish context in many mobile apps (e.g. this morning’s weather in Boston).  No matter how great a mobile application design - delays in retrieving or interacting with back-office business or IT systems equate to negative user experiences and must be resolved.

Benchmarks for acceptable mobile application responses and speeds should be established and used to detect troublesome systems early.  Some speed issues may be related to app design or Internet connectivity, but often the problems are in the back-office IT environment and require extensive efforts to alleviate.


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 2

In my new report titled Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, I ask 80 IT and business professionals involved in enterprise and consumer mobility to answer a series of questions.  The results will be shared here in the following article series.  This is Part 2 in the series.
Question: Are your (or your clients’) mobile strategies and plans inhibited or limited because of the current IT environment, infrastructure and/or design?
Click to Enlarge

Current IT environments, legacy systems and IT architectures are inhibiting mobile strategies and plans according to 78% of survey participants.  This represents a major competitive obstacle as data points to increasing use of mobile devices and applications.  Both the business and the IT organizations must quickly reach a consensus on how to invest and upgrade mobile infrastructures and supporting IT environments in order to remain competitive.

Question: Will the demand for mobile applications force enterprises to make major investments in their IT environment to better support real-time interactions with mobile apps?

Click to Enlarge
The strong consensus (83%) is that major IT investment is needed to optimize IT environments in order to support real-time mobile applications.  In our analysis, many businesses have yet to understand and accept the size and scope of the investments required.

Consumers are increasingly adopting mobile applications, and using apps as their primary interaction point with their preferred vendors. This transfer to mobile applications increases the importance of optimizing the user experience and the dependent IT systems, integration points and associated business processes.

Click to Enlarge
Question: What percentage of your (or your clients’) back-office systems are NOT optimized to support mobile applications?

Over half of respondents believe that 60% or more of their IT systems are not optimized to support real-time mobility.   If that is not a problem today for an enterprise, it soon will be.  As the use of mobile applications and their importance in commerce increases, so also will the negative impact of not optimizing an IT environment.

Read Part 3 in the article series here.





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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 1

In my new report titled Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure, I ask 80 IT and business professionals involved in enterprise mobility to answer a series of questions.  The results will be shared here in the following article series.  You can read the introduction to this report here.

Question #1: How important will having optimized mobile applications and user experiences be to the future success of your business?
Click to Enlarge

Thirty-percent answered that optimized mobile applications and user experiences are “Critical” to the future success of their business, while seventy-percent of survey participants answered “Important” to “Very Important.”  These definitive responses suggest that businesses understand the key role mobile applications play today and will play in the future.

What is left to be determined, however, is whether businesses fully understand how much effort and investment optimizing mobile applications and user experiences will require.  The quality of the user experience, and the performances of mobile applications directly impact the user’s brand perception, and influence whether users will continue to use them.

Businesses that fail to grasp the importance of optimization, will find customers are unwilling to engage with them via mobile applications and will lose out in this quickly expanding sales channel.

Question #2: Is the demand for mobile apps forcing IT departments to rethink and change how they design and architect their IT infrastructure, processes and systems?

Click to Enlarge
The data reveals that the demand for mobile application development and support is forcing the majority (80%) of IT departments to rethink and alter the way they design and architect IT infrastructures, processes and systems. The data suggests IT environments are not optimized for mobility and this is influencing change.  

Companies must transform in order to support a mobile first and data driven world that is utilizing Code Halos strategies, and that thrives on the real-time hyper-personalization of mobile user experiences. 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 marketplaces.

Read the next article in this series here - Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 2.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report - Introduction

Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure
Fortune 500 firms recognize the ubiquitous use of mobile devices, integrated sensors and broadband access to the Internet are profoundly impacting user expectations and the demand for real-time wireless information exchanges.  This can be witnessed in the fast changing expectations and shopping behaviors of mobile device empowered consumers all around us today.

Demands for real-time wireless information exchanges, business analytics, media and transactional data are challenging traditional IT infrastructures, business processes and business strategies that were never designed to support a mobile and real-time world.  It is our belief that these demands and the challenges with supporting them will change the competitive landscape in most industries.

Data has a shelf life.  It has a greater economic and competitive value the quicker it can be consumed and utilized. If mobile shoppers can open a mobile app and instantly be presented with a hyper-personalized shopping experience that considers their real-time location, buying history, preferences and other relevant physical and “Code Halos” data (all data available for analysis about a person, object or organization), then there is a greater competitive value represented by increased mobile app use, loyalty, positive brand experience, customer service and sales (see Starbuck's Code Halos and Mobile App Strategies).  If on the other hand, companies have IT architectures, systems and infrastructures unable to support the speed requirements of real-time mobile interactions, then they will find themselves to be at a significant competitive disadvantage.

I surveyed 80 high tech industry and IT professionals involved in enterprise mobility, analyzed numerous industry reports, interviewed many mobile experts and reviewed current and forecasted technology trends to identify challenges and opportunities related to supporting real-time mobile infrastructure.  The following article series titled Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure will detail the survey results and my analysis of the findings.

Business and IT decision makers will be interested in this article series due to the increasingly strategic impact mobile applications are having on businesses.  Customers, prospects, partners and employees’ all are using mobile applications to interact, collaborate, research, shop, transact and engage in innovative new ways with companies, their products and services.  It is our analysis this trend will continue to accelerate and be the key driver for on-going digital transformation in many industries and markets.

As a result of our analysis we believe the quality and performance of mobile applications and the associated user experiences directly impact and influence brand perception, social sentiment, loyalty and sales volumes.

In the new book titled Code Halos the authors, 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, analyze and react in real-time to data in a manner that drives improved customer interactions and engagements.  Today these engagements are often via mobile applications.

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 on mobile devices.  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 and engaging their markets in a wide range of 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 ability to effectively support omni-channel requires a lot of thinking, planning and purposeful design.  An effective design is not always present in today’s enterprise IT environments.  How much of a problem this is will be revealed in the following report.

Businesses today are responding by developing comprehensive data-driven strategies connected to e-commerce portals and mobile applications.  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.

In a recent report by CIO Strategic Marketing Services (a survey of 414 executives at midsize and large enterprise organizations from around the world) they reveal enterprise IT and back-office systems typically have on average between 3.6 and 4.8 mobile applications integrated with each of them.  The systems surveyed were: CRM, E-Commerce, ERP, SMS, DMS, Financial and HR.

These findings highlight how critically important back-end business and IT systems are to mobile applications.  Mobile applications, in most cases, are required to query and interact with back-end systems as a core component of their functionality.  The speed at which back-end systems can respond to queries and interact with mobile applications is a critical component in determining how successful the user experience will be.

If further evidence to the importance of real-time mobile infrastructure is required, let’s consider that Forrester Research predicts that US online sales will top $400 billion by 2018, and nearly $1 trillion worldwide.  No company wants to miss out on this size of market (Mulpuru, Sucharita “The New Paradigm of Retail? Forrester – July 24, 2014).

Today the trend is quickly moving beyond traditional online e-commerce to mobile commerce.  That makes mobile application performance even more important.  In a recent study of 1,000 mobile shoppers (Contact Solutions, - Mobile Shopping Cliffhanger), 1 of 6 consumers report they struggle with mobile shopping apps more than half of the time.   More than half (55%) of shoppers struggle with mobile shopping apps at least 20% of the time.  When consumers struggle, 71% will abandon their cart or leave the app entirely.  These numbers clearly demonstrate the necessity for an optimized mobile application and user experience.

Our analysis has determined that IT infrastructures for supporting real-time mobile applications are lacking in many companies, and correcting this must be a priority.  Without mobile optimized back-end system, designs, processes and IT infrastructures in place that can support a "real-time" environment, an enterprise’s ability to remain competitive is in jeopardy.

Read Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 1
Read Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 2
Read Real-Time Mobile Infrastructure Report, Part 3




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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Starbuck's Code Halos and Mobile App Strategies

Starbuck's
Starbuck's is expanding the roll-out of their mobile ordering, loyalty and payment app.   This is one of the most interesting mobile apps from a major retailer that I have seen.  Before I summarize the key features and benefits, let me share the purpose of Starbuck's latest roll-out according to The Seattle Times' Angel Gonzauez,"...to draw more customers into a digital ecosystem that is closely entwined with its rewards program, whose users tend to buy more, and more often."  This is part of their plan to double revenue to $30 billion by 2019.

Key points:

  • Users of the app will be able to order and pay remotely - without being in the store.  No lines to stand in.
  • The mobile app user can see, in real-time, how busy each store is (based on real-time POS data and mobile order volumes), and an estimate as to how long each store would take to deliver the order, and how long it would take you to walk or drive there.  The user can then select a store to fulfill their order based on all this real-time data.
  • Your order will be waiting for you and labeled correctly (matching mobile app order and your name as spelled in your loyalty program account) when you arrive.
  • The mobile app is integrated with the loyalty program and free drinks are accumulated.
  • Orders will be waiting for the user when they arrive and packaged for travel.
  • Starbuck's has found that consumers order more products when they have more time to review menus and research the offers (and look at the delicious pictures).
  • Starbucks anticipates this will benefit their expanding menus and lunch offerings.

Starbuck's Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman said the results from early pilots of this program in Portland, Oregon surpassed all expectations for efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Embedded Sensors and Real Time POS
I love their use and analysis of real-time POS and online ordering levels, time, location and distance to deliver the optimal value to the mobile user.  They combine the use of sensors (IoT) embedded in the iPhone, plus the real-time ordering and system data, and loyalty program data to deliver the very best user experience personalized for each individual customer.  At Cognizant we call this kind of implementation Code Halos strategies.  This is where I am spending most of my research time in 2015.

This is an example of the future.  We must ask ourselves if our current IT environment can support this level of real-time customer interaction and hyper-personalization of the user experience.  If not, then we had better start working because this is where the competitive landscape of the future will be located.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Library of Kevin Benedict's MWC15 and Chennai Videos

Kevin Benedict & Mani Bahl
Chennai, India
If you missed, ignored or somehow avoided watching the video series I filmed circumnavigating the globe these past two weeks talking about mobile technologies and digital transformation, then you have one more chance for redemption.  Here is the complete library for your enjoyment.  This series is also very good for healing insomniacs, and for ending a bad date.  Enjoy them or not!
  1. Digital Transformation, Future Job Opportunities and Chennai India
  2. Merchants of Ideas and Innovations
  3. Managing and Cultivating Mobile and Digital Transformation
  4. The State of Digital Transformation and Mobility in Asia - An Interview with Manish Bahl
  5. Barcelona the Smart City
  6. What's New in Mobility in 2015 - Reporting from MWC 2015
  7. Mobile Expert Interviews: Microsoft's Rob Tiffany at MWC15
  8. Mobile Expert Interviews: Xamarin's Steve Hall
  9. Kevin Benedict Interviews Micron's Mike Bokan at Mobile World Congress 2015
  10. IoT and Sensors from AMS at MWC15
  11. Mobile Expert Interviews from MWC15: Cimarron Buser
  12. Top Trends in Mobility 2015 - From the Mobile World Congress 2015
  13. Circumnavigating the Globe and Learning about Mobility, IoT and Digital Transformation
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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Barcelona the Smart City

In this short video I review the recent Smart City award that Juniper Research recently gave to Barcelona and what it takes to be a smart city these days.  Enjoy!

Video Link: https://youtu.be/ticVDU8V2fY


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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Circumnavigating the Globe and Learning about Mobility, IoT and Digital Transformation

I just circumnavigated the globe over a two week period.  I have never done that before.  I learned about mobile solutions, digital transformation, IoT, big data, Indian culture, the British Empire, English East Indies Company, Barcelona history and many other interesting subjects on this trip.  In this short video I summarized what I have learned about technologies and the latest trends over the past few weeks.  Enjoy!

Video Link: https://youtu.be/-pISDSvz9aY?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

IoT and Sensors from AMS at MWC15

Last week, at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to learn some very interesting details about IoT sensors.  In this short video interview I ask AMS to demonstrate and explain how their IoT sensors work.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/JWY7UGOjWMU?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw



************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Kevin Benedict Interviews Micron's Mike Bokan at Mobile World Congress 2015

In Boise, Idaho, Micron is a very big deal.  They employ thousands of engineers and technicians in Boise to design, develop and manufacture memory for smartphones, sensors, computers and any other type of system requiring memory.  They are also a major donor to Boise State University and many other organizations in the region.  They are also a big deal in the rest of the world as their memory is found in most mobile and wireless devices at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona this year.  In this interview with Micron's Mike Bokan, VP of Worldwide OEM Sales, we discuss the different kinds of mobile and IoT devices that require memory.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/xyr4r2TKhgU


************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mobile Expert Interviews: Xamarin's Steve Hall

This week I am reporting and working at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Between meetings, I hunt down mobile experts to interview and share with you here.  Today, we are privileged to have Xamarin's Steve Hall as our victim/guest.  In this interview we review Xamarin's latest press releases, partnerships and software development strategies.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/Ob01Io7IOLY




************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Mobile Expert Interviews: Microsoft's Rob Tiffany at MWC15

This week I am working in Barcelona, Spain and attending the Mobile World Congress 2015. Yesterday, I met with my friend Rob Tiffany from Microsoft and recorded this interview on the latest developments in Microsoft Mobility.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/IBhnucLh60g


************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

What's New in Mobility in 2015 - Reporting from MWC 2015

In this segment, filmed in Barcelona, Spain at the Mobile World Congress 2015, I share my observations of the latest trends and developments in mobile technologies and solutions in 2015.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/bqIZqdx4DDs




************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Following Two Videos on Mobile Technologies are too Controversial to Show Here

Sometimes I record video commentaries about the mobile industry that are just too controversial to publish.  They may identify trends, or identify select technologies and perhaps even vendors that you should avoid or embrace, while at other times the information is just too scary.  These two short videos, filmed in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, are examples of videos I cannot publish.

Video Link: http://youtu.be/BdI5TV3bTw0



Video Link: http://youtu.be/i5fwH2lUn-k?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw


************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Selfie Sticks - 2015's #2 Mobile Innovation Product of the Year and #9 World Wonder

Step aside Thomas Edison, there is a new invention in town - the Selfie Stick.  It is changing the world of lonely travel, perception and image.  Don't leave home without it.

Video Link: http://youtu.be/MtiFgm4P3eM?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.

The State of Digital Transformation and Mobility in Asia - An Interview with Manish Bahl

I had the privilege last week, while working in India, to interview Cognizant's Head of the Center for the Future of Work in Asia, Manish Bahl.  In this interview we discuss the current state of mobility and digital transformation across Asia.  Enjoy!

Video Link: http://youtu.be/MtiFgm4P3eM?list=UUGizQCw2Zbs3eTLwp7icoqw

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
View my profile on LinkedIn
Learn about mobile strategies at MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin'sYouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Mobility
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***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.