Let’s get to the point instead of playing Buzzword Bingo
The field is huge, one buzzword chases the next: BERT, Voice, AI and Cloud, Digital Transformation, New Work, and Agility. I’m interested in something else, however: Which digital developments, technologies or new methods are now certain, and above all, which ones will really make a difference?
Certain trend no. 1: Digital is running – video is becoming mobile
- By 2025, 73 percent of all Internet users will only use their smartphones.
- 79 percent of mobile traffic will be video data.
A classic point, especially because we’re heading for 5G: If you offer a website, digital product, or digital service, make sure it also works on the go. Why is this so important? There are already nearly as many mobile phones in the world as there are humans. Now, people are almost always online, and as soon as they’re no longer sitting in front of a monitor, their smartphone is their window to the world. In short, everything that can be done with the smartphone will be done with the smartphone.
By the way, do you know which mobile format works best? Video. Because a good clip says more than a thousand words. In the next several years, around 80 percent of mobile traffic will consist of video data – moving times are ahead of us!
Certain trend no. 2: If you use data correctly, you win
Digitisation has many implications. The most important one is measurability: Every digital service used generates measurable data. Sensors used in many Internet of Things devices (fitness trackers, thermostats, motion detectors) add to the available data volume. That’s why data-based marketing is increasingly important.
But setting up key performance indicators (KPIs), analytics and dashboards with Tableau or Databox is not enough. Two points are more important – developing internal know-how and asking yourself the right questions. Only when I know what I want to know, what data I need, and what the measured values mean, can I turn something into a smart shoe.
So: First build the strategy, the expertise, and the processes. Only then should you select the right tool, adapt it, and use it in a targeted manner.
Certain trend no. 3: Digital is transforming businesses
What’s slowly becoming clear is that digital change is not about computers, mobile phones, and tablets, but about people. To see the possibilities that new technologies offer us, we can access and exchange just about all information, and connect with each other anytime, anywhere. This also affects companies and organisations, enabling completely new business models. Classical hierarchies offer order, security, and structure, but are struggling with innovation and speed. That’s why many companies are trying out new methods: from agile, self-organising teams to collaborative and independent work to the hierarchical holocracy as proposed by Brian Robertson, founder of www.holacracy.org. Employees are being given more responsibility and freedom of action – but they also need to learn how to deal with this new freedom and power.
These approaches all have the same thing in common: the willingness to change – and the resistance that is also stirring. To trigger the necessary changes, it helps to first introduce a method top-down. In this way, it is possible to learn from this and adapt the development to the company and its workforce.
It feels like you’re learning to ride a bike – or to draw. In the beginning, training wheels or clear specifications help. But to master it, it takes effort and the courage to ignore rules and finally ride without the training wheels. You might fall off and scrape your knee, but that’s the price of maturity.
Certain trend no. 4: Think in micro-moments instead of channels
Google has called this phenomenon “micro-moments”: Over the day, we have an average of 150 moments in which we respond spontaneously to requests and opportunities. And this on many channels and devices – mobile, tablet, social, e-mail, search, websites, bots, etc.
But we often think of the information and purchasing process in much too linear terms. People ponder things, compare offers, and juggle the alternatives. In short, customers are complex and interested in more than one item.
Let’s stop thinking in funnels and linear stories. Instead, let’s create worlds to get into, or “sandboxes” to explore. Network your product offerings, find out which products fit with which other ones. Don’t sell me a nail; sell me everything I need to build a shelf. And do this in a targeted and selective manner. Get to know your customers bit by bit. Give them freedom – but accompany and support them so that those who need help can trust what they’re getting.
Certain trend no. 5: Expand reality
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), Voice Assistance, Conversational Design or Chatbots – they have one thing in common: These technologies all supplement our reality with additional information. I get these extras on my display; my headphones listen to me; the right product is offered to me during a conversation, and I can buy it right away. Digitisation is expanding reality. There’s no getting around this “enriched reality”.
Here, you can start small. Organise and structure your data, remove them from their channels, and make them accessible via any channel. Make sure that Alexa and the Google Assistant have something to say about you. Supplement your location data. Help find out if your product is available in the shop around the corner. Help your customers become omniscient clairvoyants. The potential is there.
What are you waiting for? We’re ready.
Tim Struck has been digitally active since the last millennium – he started with a C64 and the attempt to implement “Lord of the Rings” as a text adventure. He has worked at Ray Sono since 2012 as a consultant for UX and digital strategy. He is interested in obscure knowledge, storytelling, and games of all kinds – and he likes to tell you why the brain is so fond of stories.