Social networking, mobile communications, cloud computing and information have been recognized by Gartner as “the Nexus of Forces”.
These forces are evolving together in many ways.
- Mobile provides a real-time sensing and inter-action. So Mobile impacts social and information in many ways, too
- Social is about intent and management and is connected with mobile and information
- Information is nothing new but they reach social and mobile
- Finally Cloud that represents a rapid scale and access
These four converging and mutually reinforcing social, cultural and technological factors continue to have a transformative impact across all the industries. The nexus is opening up new competitive opportunities and, in many cases, changing business models, improving traditional business processes and delivering new revenue sources.
Industries’ adaptation to the nexus and their adoption of nexus technologies vary widely. Most industries are not yet using all four elements of the nexus within a single initiative, but real-world nexus-based use cases are appearing that deploy various combinations of them for competitive advantage. Many of the opportunities that are enabled by the nexus are fundamentally customer-centric, and are making it possible for enterprises to deliver significantly improved experiences for their customers, clients and other constituencies.
Insurance is one example of an industry that has many deployments for the individual elements of the Nexus of Forces, but few “live” examples that leverage all four elements.
Insurers are using mobile communications (data from sensors embedded in vehicles), information (the collection and analysis of data from vehicles) and the cloud (for uses including data storage) to offer insurance based on factors such as driving distance.
We are also beginning to see insurers leveraging the fourth element — social — in some markets, using social platforms to market and sell their products and, in the long term, seeking to leverage social platforms to allow customers to share driving data with their peers. To date, only a small number of auto insurers have offered usage-based insurance, but the concept is having a significant impact on the market worldwide. Insurers that offer usage-based products — and can overcome the complexity and cost barriers involved in doing so — will likely be able to attract new customers and new revenue.
IT services providers need new capabilities, assets and engagement models to compete effectively for mobile opportunities. While providing mobile solutions requires many of the same competencies as other IT solutions, there are important differences that call for IT services providers to adapt.
First and foremost is design. User experience (UX) is a key factor affecting the adoption of mobile apps. Design principles for mobile devices are different from traditional enterprise applications. Mobile apps must be designed as user-centric and intuitive, with an emphasis on usability and interface attractiveness.
Besides a visually engaging UX, mobile apps call for IT services providers to understand how to exploit mobile devices’ specialized attributes, such as the ability to pinpoint location, presence and context, as well as new functionalities, such as camera, voice recognition and augmented reality.
The ability to exploit such device-centric attributes to create business value is an important differentiator. Clients look to IT services providers to help them envision the art of the possible, prioritize mobility initiatives and implement the solutions.