Transaction to engagement: a new model for applications
We live in a very exciting time: we are witnessing the birth of a new nervous system for our planet. The convergence of information, mobile devices, social media and gamification is rewiring us into an infinitely personal and permanantly connected ecosystem. It is effectively humanising the web and shifting us from a network of transactions, to a new network of people. This is unprecedented shift offers new ways of building and nurturing relationships, with deeper levels of engagement. It also creates transformational business models with incredible opportunities for a dispersed and disruptive audience.
AGE OF THE RECORD
Transactional systems have been around since the birth of computing, starting out as punchcard databases. They are highly structured, focusing on core business processes with a hard coded set of business rules. These are the systems of the record that pioneered the way for economic expansion for the last 60 years. We know them as ERP, Finance, Payroll, and the first generation HRIS. As systems, they are very reliable and stable, but come with the cost of being rigid, dictatorial and very resistant to change. Although they serve the command and control nature of the enterprise, merely capturing and reporting on information is no longer a source of competitive advantage.
The new way of doing business calls for a variable, dynamic, and an increasingly faster business process with a focus on communication and collaboration. As such, the business needs to be adaptive, agile and always on the ready, in order to seize the shrinking window of opportunity. These systems are no longer just rules driven and real time, but rather intuitive and right time. They also represent the most strategic activities in the organisation.
THE AGE OF ENGAGEMENT
Perhaps the biggest driver of this shift is the rise of social media. Social media offers rich usability, and an intuitive design element, which is the primary model for daily engagement. As a result, users are expecting the same paradigms and design elements in the corporate world. The next generation systems will effectively be designed with the social networks in mind, offering constant communication, collaboration and sharing with networks of people and other systems. They will embrace the complete spectrum of multi-media channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Filterable information and knowledge will be delivered in real time as actions and activity streams with notifications, alerts and reminders. They will offer a home for the not-so-structured flow of information, such as the conversation. In terms of reach, they will work on a ratio of one to many, mimicking neural and computational models. Elements of game design theory will also be embedded, offering an engaging environment where users navigate a system that recognises and rewards, with an element of fun.
These systems will be much smarter, powered by intelligent and predictive business rules with pattern based processing. Highly visual in nature, they will have an innate ability to sense context, place, purpose and possibly sentiment. They will effectively empower the user to make the best decisions at the right time.
Transactional-based systems are not going away. They’re a critical element of our business infrastructure and have their rightful place there. What is happening is an evolution; a shift in focus that recognises the benefit of communication, collaboration and sharing. For the business, it means an opportunity to capitalise emerging opportunities early in the business cycle. For the user, it means unprecedented levels of engagement. For the planet, it signals the birth of the collective human intelligence.