The age of the customer is a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful companies will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. Re-engineering your company to become customer-obsessed will be hard work, but savvy C-level executives I’ve been speaking with about this tectonic shift immediately grasp the opportunity.

I spoke about the age of the customer today at LeWeb Paris (you can see the video here) where I focused on one early element of customer empowerment – the mobile mind shift. Your customers expect any information or service they desire be available to them on any device, in context, at their moment of need. Forrester’s global Mobile Mind Shift Index measures how far along a group of consumers are in this change in attitude and behavior.

To serve these customers, you will have to move from systems of record to systems of engagement. Apps are just a small part of that equation. Instead, we’re talking about re-engineering your entire company to deliver great digital experiences. Your brands will compete against Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon for setting the bar for great customer experiences. What It Means: In the future, every company will be a software company. Software is the new business currency more important than financial capital.

CIOs have control over one of the most critical strategic levers in your company as they shift their time, attention, and budget from IT to BT (Business Technology) – technology, systems and processes to win, retain, and serve customers.  I spoke about technology management in the age of the customer at the recent CIO Day conference in Amsterdam (view video).

The age of the customer will change everything at the intersection of business and technology.

I had a great time in Paris. Congratulations to Loic and Geraldine Le Meur on the 10th year anniversary of LeWeb!