Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

Part 2 – Collaborative Economy – Customer Appreciation Day

This is part 2 of a 2-part post on disruptive technologies and the collaborative economy. Click To Read Part 1

Customer Appreciation Day

Customer Appreciation Day. Signs bearing this message have appeared regularly in store windows and print ads throughout the decades past – a well-intentioned effort to reinvigorate customer loyalty by demonstrating that for one day per year at least, the customer is truly appreciated; which begs the question, how do retailers feel about their customers the rest of the year? In truth, of course, the customer has always been portrayed as “king,” but power was measured in macro-vision, with stores and suppliers responding to requests or complaints over weeks, months or years, and always in line with their own projections of trends and fashions. The customer was king in name only.

customer-appreciation

Customers, retailers and suppliers exist now in an age of disruptive technology, where real-time access to cloud-based communication and big data has shifted the power balance by 180 degrees and has truly put him/her in charge; and more specifically each individual customer is now king, rather than the collective customer base. This increased level of access and interaction has led to major changes to the speed by which reaction to a customer and innovation happen; and it also challenges the silo mentality of the traditional Business-to-Consumer model, resulting in some innovative collaborations.

Take car manufacturers, for example. They are just one of many big-ticket item suppliers who have recognized that many consumers in the younger demographic are just not buying cars like their elders did. A combination of a shaky economy, bleak job prospects and a heightened sense of mobility and independence have moved younger customers away from long-term commitments such as car payments into shorter, just-in-time relationships with car-sharing services such as Car2Go, AutoShare and ZipCar, where cloud-based reservation and payment systems give greater choice and flexibility. In a fascinating demonstration of the collaborative economy at work, traditional car manufacturers such as Toyota are starting to offer rentals from their dealerships, while Dodge is calling upon family and friends to pitch in towards the cost of a new Dart through crowdsourcing.

Banks such as ING are providing networking and small business virtual offices for their customers and prospects, and airlines are teaming up with taxicab companies to become group carpooling matchmakers.

Retailers and organizations are recognizing that the future of customer relationships is based on individual data gathering and collaboration, especially data that can be gathered through techniques such as gamification, in which customers are invited to log on to a retailer’s website through their FaceBook account, which opens up a whole collection of likes and habits that can be used to create a customized experience. Imagine, for example, a business traveler, landing at JFK airport, receiving a custom text from her favorite running shoe company stating, “Hey, welcome to New York! Since you enjoy open-air running so much, we have sent you a map of an excellent running route through the Upper East Side, close to Central Park. By the way, click here to download some excellent running tunes that match your existing musical likes, and a scannable barcode for a free post-run coffee.” This approach requires dynamic, real-time intelligence on individual tastes and buying habits, and simultaneously demands seamless crossover between vendors of different, yet complementary consumables.

This direct and collaborative relationship between the customer and the supplier is now being referred to as ZeroDistance, and it has implications well beyond traditional retail. Employers, too, are starting to recognize that customer demand has equivalence within the workforce, as more and more employees seek a more flexible and personalized approach to work that includes flex-time, telecommuting and using their own computers and apps (BYOD) rather than company-issued tools. Those who do not see progress in these areas are likely to turn to an unprecedented collection of job-finding and freelancing resources, where yet another layer of the collaborative economy exists, with freelancers providing their skills to employers anywhere in the world.

Simply put, this is all about the consumer bypassing traditional inefficiencies to become the company, which has to be of great interest and concern to any CIO who now sees him/herself like the captain of a schooner, caught in a wild storm on the Niagara River: wind and rain in all directions, masts and booms flailing left and right, while the Falls themselves draw ever closer. The security and reliability of IT must co-exist in careful balance with the need for extreme market agility and reactiveness to customers inside and outside the organization. IT must now start to represent more than just the nuts and bolts of a network, while the marketing department itself must become more real-time data driven; IT faces the grim reality that users are opting for uncontrolled SaaS applications to solve immediate problems (e.g. cloud-based apps), while the various Lines of Business within an organization demand explanations as to why market formation is not coming in fast enough.

ZeroDistance provides an opportunity for a CIO to eliminate the gap between him/herself and the rest of the organization. By mirroring the results of ZeroDistance between customer and supplier, the CIO stands to take on a role as a central architect of a company’s future: a navigator rather than a mechanic. As the C-Suite observes the profound changes occurring in the a wholly customer-driver big data economy, it must recognize that now, more than ever, the silos that defines each officer’s role are as dated as that “Customer Appreciation Day” sign in the window.

By Steve Prentice

Sponsored by T-Systems and the Zero Distance community

About Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.

Find out more
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Cost with Managed Printing Services

Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Cost with Managed Printing Services

Managed Printing Services This is a sponsored post written on behalf of HP MPS.  Today’s business leaders recognize the value of shared services, significantly providing a wide range of enterprises with the sophisticated tools they need to compete with big business, while additionally driving costs down. But an area often overlooked in our tech-savvy world…

Curing Cancer With Big Data

Curing Cancer With Big Data

Cancer & Big Data The fight against cancer has been going on for centuries. Many leaders have tried and failed to bring about change to cancer treatment. Richard Nixon famously declared a War on Cancer with the National Cancer Act of 1971, and while the Nixon administration certainly increased research funding, they ultimately fell short…

IoT & Predictive Analytics In Healthcare

IoT & Predictive Analytics In Healthcare

IoT & Predictive Analytics In a report by Grand View Research Inc., it’s predicted that the global Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market will reach nearly $410 billion by 2022, with mobile penetration, software automation, and innovation medical devices promising rapid testing, greater accuracy, portability, and user-friendliness. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart failure,…

What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Look To The Cloud

What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? Look To The Cloud

Saferide App Petty officer Michael Daigle of the US Navy has rolled out an app to curb drunken driving in the Navy ranks. His Saferide ride-sharing service runs on Voxox’s Cloud Phone service which costs just $15 a month and is popular among US Service members abroad, where mobile phones are not permitted for use…

Red Hat Offers Container Native Persistent Storage for Linux Containers

Red Hat Offers Container Native Persistent Storage for Linux Containers

Red Hat Offers Container Storage Latest Red Hat Gluster Storage release enables greater agility and efficiency for OpenShift developers deploying application containers in production SAN FRANCISCO – RED HAT SUMMIT – June 28, 2016 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced new storage innovations designed to enable developers to…

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

Understanding the “Insider Threat”  The revelations that last month’s Sony hack was likely caused by a disgruntled former employee have put a renewed spotlight on the insider threat. The insider threat first received attention after Edward Snowden began to release all sorts of confidential information regarding national security. While many called him a hero, what…

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus For Both Cloud Vendors And CIOs

Shadow IT To Remain A Focus Shadow IT, a phenomenon defined as building internal IT systems without the official organizational approval has been a growing concern for CIOs over the last few years. In 2015, it climbed to the top of the list of the emerging IT threats, with as much as 83% CIOs reporting…

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups Traditionally actors headed for Hollywood while techies made a beeline for Silicon Valley. But times are changing, and with technological job opportunities expanding (Infographic), new hotspots are emerging that offer fantastic opportunities for tech jobs and startup companies in the industry. ZipRecruiter, an online recruitment and job…

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud With the results of Cisco Global Could Index: 2013-2018 and Hosting and Cloud Study 2014, predictions for the future of cloud computing are notable. Forbes reported that spending on infrastructure-related services has increased as public cloud computing uptake spreads, and reflected on Gartner’s Public Cloud Services Forecast. The public cloud service…

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing Innovation Sao Paulo, Brazil has had trouble with both energy and water supplies as of late. Despite it is the rainy period. Unfortunately Sao Paulo is very dependent on its rain as a majority of its power is generated from large dams. No water, no energy. Difficult situation for a city of some…

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things. The Internet of Things is a…

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies (Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring…