What attributes spring to mind when we think of a good mobile app? Simple with an awesome layout and icons, cool colour schemes and interactive gestures like swipe left and swipe right. There are a whole host of elements which contribute to creating a successful app, but only a handful things which can become potential app killers: slow response time, messy navigation and leaky security are just a few examples.
A good app – and by extension a good digital solution – needs to be resilient to survive in a competitive market, which is being driven by a consumer that has expectations that are higher than ever before.
Apple is a prime example of a business which fully recognises the importance of digital resilience. It understands what its customers demand, how they behave and what they expect from Apple products and services. Using these insights, Apple have designed and built products and digital ecosystems where customers can easy use apps and download and share content. By delivering on their expectations, Apple has ensured that its customers keep coming back to purchase their latest products like the iPhone or regularly use services like iTunes to download content
At the other end of the spectrum, under-delivering can degrade the customer experience and can drastically impact your business. Research in Motion (RIM), the company that manufacture the Blackberry, dominated the smartphone market by 2009, but famously did not respond to what consumers wanted in smart phones - cheaper phones with apps and more powerful operating systems. In addition, the Blackberry outage in 2011 and the failure of the Playbook tablet led to BlackBerry’s share of the smartphone operating platform market dropping from 21.7 per cent in July 2011 to 9.5 per cent a year later. It is estimated that RIM's revenue dropped 25 per cent in that year and by 2015, Blackberry had almost no presence in the smartphone market.
It’s clear that businesses need to get it right. But what are the processes for achieving success?... Below are three tips to help your business to become digitally resilient.
Tip 1: Understanding how your users behave. Knowing your customer’s behaviour is key to designing a good application that works for them. This can potentially require a lot of ground research and the capacity to be flexible as your business may need to adapt quickly to fit the changing behaviours of your customers. Getting this right though can have massive upsides for your business and here’s why. Let’s use the travel industry as an example. Mr & Mrs Smith want to book a trip to Paris, but how do they prefer booking their travel arrangements? Are they the type of customer that books the flights, hotel, tickets for the Louvre and a romantic dinner on the top of the Eiffel Tower separately, or do they prefer a package that they can purchase with just one click? Having these unique insights about customers will allow your business to provide them with personalised experiences that will help retention and drive repeat sales in the future.
Tip 2: Get the back-end right. Businesses will continue to use back-end systems, but unfortunately these systems were not designed for the real-time digital world we live in today. If we continue with our Mr & Mrs Smith example and our couple were to use an app to book their holiday, it will need to connect with the back-end systems of the airline, the hotel company and maybe even the restaurant. Pulling all of these elements together and making sure that your service works seamlessly without causing any delays to the customer can be a daunting task, but this is why it’s important to work with an experienced digital partner, and one with deep domain expertise in the given market. Picking the right partner will help your business implement smart architecture that will scale as more and more users begin to use the digital solution.
Tip 3: Monitor, Monitor, Monitor. My final tip for making your business digitally resilient is continuous monitoring of your architecture. Monitoring isn’t just about being reactive to situations, its also about being proactive and anticipating potential problems before they arise. Making sure all aspects of your system are working together and functioning smoothly doesn’t require someone sitting next to a screen watching code all day, it involves sophisticated tools that review and evaluates the entire journey of your customers. These kinds of insights allow businesses to identify potential issues early on, enabling them to undertake predictive maintenance on their architecture.
Digital resilience can be the Achilles’ heel for many companies, because too often, businesses focus on delivering a unique product or service to the market but overlook the customer experience. Delivering these experiences to the customer will help bring customers back time and time again, and will drive repeat sales, ensuring the long-term growth of the business.
Kishore Krishnan, Senior Vice President at NIIT Technologies Inc
Image Credit: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock