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Social and Mobile

Social networking has become a prominent way by which people interact, share information, and collaborate. Because smartphones leverage GPS and the camera, they enable much more interaction and contextual engagement. As a result, social applications are among the most popular for mobile devices. Applying the social networking philosophy and capabilities to the enterprise can certainly add to the bottom line. McKinsey and Company report that the revenue growth of social businesses is 24 percent higher than businesses that do not apply social capabilities.8 Enabling the workforce to share information and collaborate can make the organization more effective. Applying social technologies such as blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, instant messaging, e-meetings, and document sharing can help a workforce to collaborate, uncover innovation, and improve competitive posture.

In the consumer space, mobile devices have become the main way that people interact with social networks. For example, 60 percent of Facebook updates are from mobile devices.9 In the enterprise, when combining social capabilities with mobile devices, you are now adding context (location through GPS, environment through sensors, orientation through compass, and so on) to an overall social strategy while enabling employees to collaborate anytime and anyplace. Mobile adds a new level of insight into enterprise information sharing and collaboration. This can tremendously increase the value of a social business strategy and improve the bottom line. Your enterprise social strategy, both internally and externally to the enterprise, should have a mobile component and be tightly aligned with your overall mobile strategy.

Mobile Social Discovery: Attracting and Retaining Customers

Social discovery is a way to use mobile phones and tablets to find nearby people, events, and places that are relevant at a particular moment. This information helps customers gain insight and information that can drive purchases, create loyalty, and create community. They may also be swept up in the activity of the crowd and make a transaction based on the activity of other people.

To drive social discovery, a system is needed that understands a user’s past buying habits, behavior, and activities. End users would opt in to get value from the interaction at the same time the system is learning about the customers’ behavior, matching tailored offerings that would have the greatest likelihood of closing. All this information must be collected, analyzed, and sorted for value.

A great example of this is the Foursquare app. When you start the Foursquare app it offers you the choice to ‘check-in’ to the establishment where you are currently. For example, if you are at a coffee shop, the Foursquare app would determine your location based on your GPS coordinates. You can then check-in to the coffee shop. You are then given the option to type a few words describing what you are doing, which can be shared through your Twitter or Facebook. Once you check-in, you may be presented with a badge that you earn based on certain achievements (first time check-in, most check-ins, and so on). You may also receive coupons or other offers from the coffee shop or tips from other visitors. This process helps the coffee shop get free advertising based on Twitter and Facebook posts. The customer can gain offers, the enjoyment of reaching various levels of achievement, and tips from others.

What Is Unique About Social and Mobile?

When mobile and social are brought together, there are some unique considerations:

  • Mobile devices can sense the world around you providing context and driving innovation and business value: Mobile devices have a rich set of new sensors such as compass, GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and NFC. This can enable many new business scenarios such as identifying colleagues based on GPS coordinates, e-meetings on the go, mobile device transcription of conference calls, and many other new innovations.
  • Mobile and social can increase information and data: As social tools and mobile apps take advantage of new devices sensors, they can provide more consumer data and more contextual insight. This massive amount of available data will create new opportunities to better serve your customers and employees. Data analytics and Big Data (likely related to cloud computing) can play a major role in understanding the data that can drive innovation. Organizations must become better at collecting, protecting, managing, interpreting, and acting on the data collected via social interaction through mobile devices.10

It is clear that mobile amplifies social networking, giving interaction a context. This context provides a much richer level of interaction and insight—in the moment. The contextual information, in the form of sensor and location data, generates a tremendous amount of data that must be sorted and analyzed in order to have any value to a business process. Social information can be combined with analytics to help users gain insight to perform the next best action. Consider how the GPS traffic app called Waze uses social information from app users along with analytics to determine traffic patterns, speed traps, and car crashes in real time. This is where big data and the cloud come in to the mobile story.

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