Context-Aware Computing Special Report Examines the Opportunities and Impact of Context on Organizational Strategies
As Web search, mobile advertising and social platforms become increasingly interwoven, businesses will have new opportunities to provide not just content and applications, but context-aware user experiences to end users, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2013, 40 percent of Global 2000 enterprises will have context-aware computing projects focused on the user experience under way. By 2015, context will be as influential to consumer mobile services and relationships as search is to the Web.
Enterprises need to investigate context-aware computing projects between 2010 and 2015. Gartner analysts said that CIOs and business strategists also need to understand the differences between these projects, and how they relate to other IT and business initiatives.
"Most enterprises will take three to seven years to formulate a mature context-aware strategy," said William Clark, research vice president at Gartner. "During this time, the CIO's role will evolve as the organization's use of context evolves from introducing the concept to the business, to finding early wins, to making the transition to large-scale deployments and, finally, to maturity."
Mr. Clark said that context-aware computing initiatives during 2010 to 2015 will mainly fall into three high-level categories of business opportunities:
1: Customer-facing context-enriched commerce focused on creating unique, compelling user experiences that drive new and repeat business.
2: Context-enhanced performance focused on improving specific business processes.
3: Context-enhanced performance to make knowledge workers more productive.
While these three types of projects do not constitute an exhaustive list, they will be the most commonly referenced.
Gartner has identified a six-point action plan for CIOs to follow during the next five years to deliver maximum benefit from context-aware-computing projects:
Perform market and technology monitoring. Context is very new to enterprises, so it's highly unlikely that the CIOs, business stakeholders and end users will get everything right the first time. New tools will emerge, competitors will innovate and new uses and ways of delivering context-aware user experiences will be discovered. Monitoring and circulating a context "weather report" will help set proper expectations and avoid falling behind competitors.
Plan to take a lead role as an advocate and find business sponsorships during the next two to three years. Depending on the vertical industry and factors such as workplace maturity, initiate one or two projects during 2010 to 2012. Enterprises in industries already strong in consumer-facing websites (such as financial services, telecommunications, retail, travel and hospitality) will lead the initial deployments of context-aware computing. Applications will find context-aware computing a natural progression to more-sophisticated content and applications to help these enterprises create better user experiences on smartphones, at automated teller machines (ATMs), at point-of-sale kiosks, and in automobiles, public venues and homes.
Recognize or increase emphasis on user experience design now as a core competency. During 2010, enterprises should staff or augment teams to explore the user experience in these areas. Ground investment with metrics in measuring an improved user experience. Context and the change to the user experience are very broad. Present the user experience as the core value proposition to the business.
Manage risk, especially in scale and in the business model. Maturation and scale will be uneven and will increase project risk through 2015. For a given context-aware project, enterprises need to manage the scale and investment, including the effects in other areas, so that they reach an adequate capability to consistently support user experiences.
Address sourcing and partners. It's likely that business-to-consumer (B2C) context will involve external context providers such as handset manufacturers, mobile operators, search engines, social platforms, etc. In the case of business-to-employee (B2E), CIOs must assess how vendors will leverage context to make communication and collaboration tools more useful. .
Cultivate cross-project coordination. Recognize synergy with other initiatives. Find areas that provide techniques and technologies that will be interchangeable, and where project outputs and business models need to be linked.
Additional information is available in the report "How CIOs Can Introduce and Set the Scope for Context-Aware Computing Initiatives." The report is available on the Context-Aware Computing Special Report at www.gartner.com/contextawarecomputing. The Special Report section links to nearly 40 reports covering various aspects of context-aware computing, as well as links to audio and video clips with Mr. Clark.
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