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Driving Business Process Innovation

Compelling and successful mobile apps create an experience that fully engages the end user. So-called “systems of interaction,” these apps anticipate the desires of the user and take full advantage of the rich collection of data that the new mobile devices offer. Plus, they motivate changes in the business processes used to support the applications. Systems of interaction encompass both the engagement with the end user and also the context that existing systems-of-record enable. In short, they open up huge new avenues for innovation in business and propel new ways for businesses to interact with their various stakeholders.

The avenue for innovative user engagement is not limited to mobile phones and tablet devices. The term “omni-channel” has been coined to refer to applications that offer end user engagement across a spectrum of devices, from phones to tablets to PCs to kiosks to automobiles, and many more forms of human-technology interaction. Each of these different application end points (“channels”) offers unique characteristics that enable valuable interaction with the user under circumstances best suited to that specific channel.

For example, consider the potential experience of an airline customer who checks in with the airline website two days before their flight and confirms their seat assignment and also requests an upgrade. Then less than one day before the flight, this customer uses the airline mobile app on their iPad Mini to check on their seat upgrade and “check-in” virtually for their flight (providing greater assurance to the airline that the customer will actually take the flight). Then, within a few hours of the flight, this same customer uses the airline app on their smart phone from the airport to check the gate assignment and double check the departure time for the flight (and check again the status of their upgrade request). The customer might also check if there is an airline lounge at the departure airport, and also check on their current frequent flyer mileage totals. The relationship established with this customer can continue.

During the flight, this customer may use one of their devices to buy WiFi access to the Internet. He might check the new estimated arrival time for the flight and email a colleague to confirm their plans once they arrive.

The interaction does not stop there. Once this customer arrives at the destination airport, he can use the airline system of interaction to track his luggage, check on ground transportation, and deal with navigation to a meeting. The connection with the customer can go on and on for days. He might need to confirm (or change) their return flight. He might want to confirm his frequent traveler mileage status or he might want to plan completely new trips. The customer might be using any variety of end user devices to connect to the airline IT systems and services at any time, day or night.

This is a system of interaction. It is ongoing, not a single transaction. It requires context to be effective. It is intelligent and learns from feedback from the user. It is an example of the “killer app” of the 21st century.

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