Today, leading companies are adopting mobile in a “Mobile 1.0″ mindset – by improving operations like order processing or improving data entry accuracy. However, mobilizing existing processes is not enough to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Customers and employees expect companies to respond to issues and opportunities in real-time. This “Mobile 2.0″ mentality is where we will see businesses transform. I always like to draw on personal examples, and in this case we’re talking a new concept known as “Right Time Experiences”. While traveling recently, I had to make two separate customer service complaints from my mobile phone – one to an airline and the other to a car rental company. I was shocked when the airline took 5 weeks to even reply to my message, and the car rental company took over 6 weeks. This quite simply is the polar opposite of a “Right Time Experience”. As a consumer in today’s mobile world, I simply expect better than that. I expect a response with a reasonable amout of time in a customer service scenario, but also in any business scenario.

I have been working with analyst Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research on a new mobility thought leadership topic as part of the Mobile Sense series. In her work, Maribel tells us that businesses need to look to combine mobile data with big data processing and analytics to store, analyze and convert numerous data sources into context that is related to the customer, the market or a situation. Hence, the 6 weeks it took to reply to a customer need or a business opportunity should happen in a much more acceptable timeline with inputs from various data sources. Imagine how you can harness the valuable data you already collect to deliver an experience – in whatever amount of time is the right time for your business.

Let’s touch of the meat of the topic. According to Maribel, companies will transform business processes by using contextual data from various sources, including internal corporate apps, Web-accessible data, and connected device data (i.e. The Internet of Things) to build what Lopez Research calls Right Time Experiences (RTE). She defines RTEs as “enhanced business processes or services that deliver an employee or customer the proper information at the moment of need”.

Right now, SAP and Lopez Research are working on a whitepaper and a series of events that will dive into much more detail, however, for now we’ll touch on some hilights to whet your appetite. Right Time Experiences are:

  • Adaptable. Today’s applications and services were built for mass consumption and designed to work on a specific device. RTEs will adapt as a person moves between devices such as a laptop to a smartphone to a tablet. While RTEs benefit from real-time data, they do not have to be a real-time experience but merely an experience that happens at the point of need. RTEs will analyze a person’s transaction history, analyze data from your current condition, and respond with data that is relevant to the individual user or to a specific occurrence.
  • Semantic and predictive. An RTE learns and adjusts to a user’s behaviors over time. If the user’s context changes, the RTE should self-adapt. A predictive RTE prevents issues and/or presents opportunities to the user. For example, if an employee schedules a business trip abroad with the company’s travel agent, the company’s mobile management software could automatically check to see if the user has an international roaming plan. If the employee does not have the needed plan, the software could launch a purchase order for the plan and set a reminder to cancel it once the trip has ended.
  • Connected across internal and external data sources. Most applications operate in information silos while RTEs are integrated across internal corporate data sources. RTEs also connect to data that resides outside of the company. RTEs will link applications to application programming interface (API) accessible data and services, such as reviews, product comparisons, transaction clearinghouses, authentication services and click-to-call services. Businesses are also providing API-accessible data to their partners and IT will use this data to create RTEs that optimize work-flow. For example, a beverage manufacturer could make its inventory data accessible to its bottle distributors dispatch systems with APIs.

My personal example above is a simple one. There was a vast amount of data available in both comapnies internal systems and other public data sources that gave each company the information they could have used to deliver an experience to me in the right time. I can only think of the hundreds of ways this can apply to other businesses for both their internal employees and customers.

The good news is that leading firms are already delivering RTEs today. However, the market is young and ripe for opportunity! This topic will be explored with Maribel Lopez on SAP Radio on Wednesday September 5th. On the same day, SAP is also hosting a Right Time Experiences workshop (moderated by Lopez) in Palo Alto, CA. Check out the events to learn how you can drive Right Time Experiences for your business.