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Ray Wang: The transactional age is making way for the era of engagement

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30th Aug 2012
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“Convergence of the five forces of consumerisation (social, mobile, Cloud, Big Data and unified communications and video) drives the next shifts in technology. The move from transaction to engagement and from engagement to experience is happening now. The era of transactional apps rapidly makes way for the era of engagement.

So says Consellation Research analyst Ray Want in a new blog post exploring how consumerisation of technology is driving the arrival of engagement platforms. However, he adds that this in no way signals the end of transactional systems.

“The engagement layer exposes transactions and allow for deeper interaction and richer sources of information.  However, the transactional systems lack the ability to support engagement,” he says.

“In fact, organisations around the world struggle with building the right engagement strategy for their customers and employees. While crafting the right strategy should be designed prior to any technology selection, once completed, the technology to support the strategy does not exist out of the box from ANY solution provider.  Unfortunately, the technologies to achieve engagement remain disparate and hodge podge.”

Wang explains that many solution providers seek to achieve the engagement layer from different heritages:

  • Pure play social solutions morph to engagement apps: Vendors such as Broadvision, Jive, Moxie, Lithium, Tibco, and Yammer have delivered many elements of the engagement layer, providing an opportunity to assimilate disparate offerings across multiple processes and roles. Gamification vendors such as Badgeville, Bunchball, BigDoor, Crowdtwist, and Gigya play a key role in delivering outcomes and influencing behavior through engagement whilst platforms such as Atlasian, Box, GoodData, and Tidemark open the door to a new era of engagement apps.
  • Legacy transactional systems in transition to engagement: Major ERP and CRM vendors seek to address engagement with “social” and “mobile” features. While many of the vendors have the components for engagement, the struggle will be to embed a sense and respond design point into both the interaction layer and process flows. 
  • Consumer offerings could enter the enterprise: With consumerization of IT increasing, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter provide a rich engagement platform that could be adopted in the enterprise. Meanwhile, solutions providers such as Adobe blend consumer with enterprise as they provide the tools for engagement on the web and in mobile. 
  • Vertically integrated prosumer platforms already deliver engagement: Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have the unique capability of delivering an end to end solution from hardware, consumer device, operating system, database, applications, and partner ecosystem. Engagement platforms form the basis of future business models as consumer and enterprise blend into prosumers. 
  • Marketing and advertising networks provide rich profiles and targeting: The ad networks are moving fast to shift engagement and offers. While daily deal sites play one role, companies like Glam Networks also now deliver key components for ad targeting and optimization that compete with Google, Apple, Yahoo, and other media properties. Marketing automation platforms such as Eloqua, Hubspot, InfusionSoft, Marketo, NeoLane, Pardot, and Parature already have may key components. 

Wang continues by outlining nine key technology components that should be standardized across apps to support this engagement layer and allow for an engagement platform to emerge.

The components include multi-channel bi-directional sensors; listening and sentiment engines; decision management and analytics; context engines; complex event processing; P2P architectures; interaction histories; business process management; and master data management.

Wang concludes: “The move to engagement platforms is not about a technology shift but a business value shift to achieving outcomes. Sophisticated organisations now buy business value through SLA’s. The solution provider who can deliver outcomes will win in the shift to engagement platforms regardless of whether its software, services, or delivery models.”

To view the full blog post, click here.

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