In the moment. That's what mobile apps address -- a quick and targeted search in the moment. Mobile apps have become the consumer-facing front end of companies on small devices that sit in the pockets and purses of millions of people. And if integrated correctly with search, they become the first step to a prosperous relationship between brands and consumers.
These mobile apps, or "systems of engagement," as Forrester Research calls them, are different from the traditional systems of record that log transactions and keep the financial accounting in order, because they "focus on people, not processes."
After diving into a Forrester report written by John McCarthy, I realized the importance and possibilities of integrating mobile apps into a company's IT infrastructure. Think of the data this would produce. He tells us that with these systems, or apps, you can tell when a guest enters the lobby of a hotel for the first time. "And by using GPS or location context directly from the device, the 'system' will know that, when she enters her room, the app should default to the concierge and room service tabs, providing immediate access to the most appropriate hospitality services for that time and place," he writes.
The apps focus on in-the-moment tasks and decisions, according to McCarthy. He writes about the need to restructure IT services within the company to support apps and services, suggesting the need to tie them into the back-end infrastructure like enterprise resource planning packages and large databases to share data. It's also important to record transactions and accounting data as part of basic business processes.
While the report highlights success stories, McCarthy serves up five top consequences and insights that brands need to consider.
1. Coordinate data, access and applications across multiple channels, because it becomes more complicated when adding mobile.
2. Learn how to provide an abbreviated experience on mobile because people use apps to get things done quickly.
3. Mobile apps provide an increase in activity and data, so be sure to prepare the company's infrastructure for larger volumes.
4. It's an IT thing, but companies must think about reconstructing middleware, the piece of software or code connecting the mobile app with the company's infrastructure.
5. Be aware of design, development, and governance processes with mobile requirements.