Mobile, Hyperpersonalized Experiences and Big Data

Intersecting mobile hyperpersonalization and big data can forever change the dynamics of interaction

Solution CTO, IBM

The ubiquity of powerful, context-aware, always-on, very personal devices points to a changing set of design and fundamental principles for how to approach interactions with customers that many enterprises simply cannot ignore. Recently, I came across a statistic that indicates by the end of 2013 mobile and tablet devices together are, for the first time ever, likely to account for more revenue than the rest of the consumer space combined. While certainly a milestone from a consumer electronics point of view, the more foundational takeaway from this stat is that it will forever alter customer expectations of their service providers and the people they choose to do business with. I wrote about this topic more than a year ago—forever in big data dog years—in a blog titled, “Why Static Stinks.”1 But since that writing, I see few firms that have made adequate progress, especially with mobile app advances accelerating to raise the bar.  

Expectations of mobile device interaction

To help make the dynamic here clear, consider this question: Would you use a mapping service on your cell phone that didn’t know how to locate where you were when you asked for directions? Probably not for long, because the extra steps required to tell the phone where you are simply extends the time to resolution of the task—such as find coffee, now. In other words, having to tell the device where you are when the device should already know it is unnecessary and worse, a pain in the neck. We expect devices to complete this step for us because they know us, and if the service doesn't complete this step for us, then there are existing options that will. Now take this same dynamic and think about the retail banking customer experience; does the bank know where you are? The question is not whether the bank knows your specific location, but whether the bank knows where you are as a consumer of their services. To be more specific, if the bank only interacts as a retail consumer, why does it present a landing page that requires you to consume and navigate away from commercial banking, trust services, brokerage services, and other services you never indicated any interest in using? Cross-marketing approaches are fine and all, but why force you to look at those unwanted and unused services that are not a fit for you every single time you log on? Think about that point for a second. By providing all your interactions and prior log-on histories, does the bank not knowing where you are as a customer make any sense? How exactly does that save time and make you feel like the bank knows you? That scenario is akin to a music service ignoring a subscriber’s stated tastes and behaviors, or a movie service provider ignoring what a subscriber has watched. Will the consumer have a satisfying experience, a rewarding experience, or a sticky—in a good way—experience with that kind of approach? Absolutely not.  

Hyperpersonal experiences aligned with big data

And the dissonance of experiences is only going to become less acceptable over time as the trend toward mobile, hyperpersonal services continues to accelerate. Hyperpersonal, which I encourage you to think of as a segment-of-one approach toward customers, should be the normal experience. Delivering hyperpersonal end-user experiences requires new ways of handling the data and compute required to deliver those experiences. What is the solution? First, we need to understand that static approaches to customers that ignore most of what we know about them are simply not viable going forward. This statement really should not need to be said at this point, but take a look around—are your consumer interactions with nonmobile service providers remotely contextual and hyperpersonal? Second, an explicit strategy of touching much of consumers’ data in customer time is required.2 The idea of customer time, combined with hyperpersonal engagement, requires forcing an approach to computing that is natively aligned to big data. The capability to combine deep analytics with broad consumption of data is required—and that capability generally breaks many current computing infrastructures that traditional organizations rely on to deliver their existing, largely static experiences. Look for more details on this topic in an upcoming column that will provide several specific examples of hyperpersonal engagement experiences and how they are accomplished using big data technologies. On another note, seeing so many of you in person at Information On Demand 2013 was fantastic. Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments. 1 Why Static Stinks,” by Tom Deutsch, podcast, The Big Data and Analytics Hub, IBM, September 2012. 2 Real Time Versus Customer Time,” by Tom Deutsch, IBM Data magazine, August 2013.   [followbutton username='thomasdeutsch' count='false' lang='en' theme='light']

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