Organizations in Asia Pacific (AP) have become cognizant of the fact that they have entered the age of the customer — an era in which they must systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. In the past two years, most AP firms have primarily focused on using mobile apps to connect their organizations with internal employees. However, in the age of the customer, this trend will reverse. Results from Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2013 show that 44% of AP technology decision-makers will prioritize building a mobile strategy for customers or partners, while only 39% will prioritize it for employees. Firms in Australia, Indonesia, India, and China will lead the region.

In order to compete and win in the age of the customer, organizations cannot be simply “customer-centric” anymore — they must become “customer-obsessed.” To do so, firms must embrace the mobile mindshift and build mobile systems of engagement. This can be done by leveraging social, cloud, and predictive analytics to deliver context-rich mobile applications and smart products that help users decide and act immediately in their moments of need. Such systems will focus on people and their immediate needs in context rather than processes, as is the case with traditional systems of record.

Building mobile systems of engagements is even more critical for firms in AP, because:

  • The number of personally owned smart devices connecting to the enterprise is growing. The adoption barriers for Internet-connected smart devices are lowering as the average selling price of smartphones and tablets pushes below US$250 and wireless data becomes more affordable. In both cases, hypercompetition is the primary reason for driving down prices. This means that more people can now connect to businesses as their customers, partners, and employees.
  • A vast young online population is driving demand for consumer and enterprise apps. The region’s young population is extremely mobile-savvy, with heavy exposure to smartphones, tablets, and applications. 75% of India’s online population is between the ages of 15 and 34 — the most in AP followed by China, Singapore, and Australia. This young, empowered population will push firms to provide them with apps so that they can interact with the organization anytime, anywhere.

My latest research report, The Enterprise Mobility Outlook For Asia Pacific In 2014, provides actionable advice to I&O professionals for supporting their CIOs’ enterprise mobility plans for 2014. It answers key questions like how to achieve the expected business outcomes from your mobility strategy, what mobile technology skills you need to drive business innovation, and what tools and technologies you need to fully support mobility.