I was fortunate this week to attend a presentation by James Whittaker in which he delivered his view on the next era of computing. This was one of the best presentations I’ve seen, because the content was presented in a compelling manner that created an outstanding overall experience. I point this out because it parallels James’ message: The future of computing isn’t apps or a collection of websites, but experiences delivered across an ecosystem of devices. I absolutely agree with his vision and am excited about the possibilities ahead. The pertinent question is then: How can enterprises adjust today’s behaviors to best prepare for this future? Let’s take a look at some of the key points of Whittaker’s talk and how we can take action on them today:

  • Search was king of the last era. As of September 2012, overall search volume on the web has started to decrease. This means that your customers are now using app-driven mechanisms to find your content as these provide context around their requests ensuring they get more accurate responses. Don’t immediately jettison your SEO strategy but prepare for how tomorrow’s customers will access your data: through well-designed and easily consumable APIs. This API layer will be the core around which every successful enterprise digital strategy is based.
  • Experiences will begin to replace apps. IT leads tell me daily that they need a set of mobile apps or a mobile app strategy, yet their customers simply want a great experience, regardless of the channel in which they consume it. If you’re developing mobile apps in-house, now is the time to focus on establishing a great organizational design ethos. Tomorrow’s mobile experiences will rely on design more than the underlying functionality, and these experiences will be delivered outside of the boundaries of today’s apps (Google Now is early evidence of this). If you outsource your mobile work, there are a number of outstanding digital agencies that are ahead of the curve on this — reach out to me for advice on the best fit for your business needs or take a look at my most recent report, Putting a Price on your Mobile Strategy, for guidance.
  • Data is the new currency. Design will drive these great experiences — but the data behind them is still critical. Access to the data that drives your company will be critical in the promotion, expansion, and consumption of your brand in the next era. If data is the new currency, APIs are the new banks and API management will be the financial advisors of the next era. Analytics then become the ultimate choreographer of your clients’ experience. A solid API management strategy that includes security, analytics, and business intelligence will be the hallmark of the successful enterprise in the next era.

This is a pivotal time in our industry that is not without challenge, but these challenges offer incredible opportunity for both brands and client engagement with those brands. These are challenges that I can’t wait to help solve, so if you want to discuss or have thoughts on this, please reach out to me on Twitter (@ASocialFace) or by email.