We’ve heard the predictions of a mobile revolution but like many hype cycles, the changes come more slowly or catch up to the hype quietly. The use of mobile technology is at the point now where the hype is receding and the effects are here and strongly felt. A very good article in the Wall Street Journal outlines the sea change that mobility brings for consumers and employers as paid work is being replaced by mobile apps:
As a result, Americans increasingly are becoming their own bank tellers, loan officers, insurance adjusters, checkout clerks, restaurant order takers, citrus-crop inspectors and mall concierges. In the case of mall owner Westfield Group, apps are giving the company a way to give directions and answer questions without paying for concierge staff, which it had begun trimming anyway.
Owning the accuracy
Crowdsourcing so much of the work not only trims the cost of staff positions but it also makes the consumer responsible for their own data, correct or not. Passing responsibility for data errors to the end customer saves enormously in rework and risk. This trend plays out at every level of consumption, including how we eat:
Other companies are explicitly pushing mobile technology in hopes of paring back or redeploying workers. Domino’s Pizza Inc. Chief Executive Patrick Doyle, speaking to analysts in a conference call last week, said such savings are showing up now that mobile and online orders combined have reached a “critical mass” of more than a third of total sales.
Try to say it wasn’t what you ordered when you ordered it online…
What affect on BPM?
But what does that say for business process? Can apps simply be substituted into the mix, replace people, and have the same outcomes?
Even with this disruption, we’re still in the early days of mobile technology. The WSJ article points out that we’re also performing self-checkout at stores, taking us one step closer to mobile shopping where we’re automatically charged for what goes into our physical cart, no differently than an online shopping cart today.
The biggest change is still warming up on the sidelines. Marketing, once the consumer ‘touches’ systems through mobile apps, the system touches back with automated sense and respond technology as consumers use mobile apps. That suddenly propels 1:1 marketing capability into the spotlight like never before. Consumers can be engaged in everything they do for themselves on their smartphones, tablets and (less and less), their computers.
This brings up the point that decisions are more and more influenced and made before a consumer actually shows up at the store. Those marketing at the point of purchase are very, very late in the game.
Mobile technology is very quickly changing the game for how we market, sell and buy. And it’s only the beginning.