What will the businesses of the future be like? And their customers? How will we buy, sell and understand the market? On 19 November 2014 IBM, a leading software solutions company, wrapped up the 5th edition of our country’s most important software, technology and innovation event, IBM BusinessConnect, #START015. More than 2,300 professionals from the business world gathered at the Community of Madrid’s Palacio de Deportes to outline what 21st-century productivity will be based on, in terms of Big Data and Analytics, Security, Social Collaboration, the Cloud, Mobility and Smart technologies.
In the words of Diego Segre, vice-president of software for IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel, “We find ourselves looking at a new social and business era, in which customers are more demanding and where the way they buy, sell and understand the market has changed. This means new challenges for companies, but also enormous opportunities.”
Mobile technology has brought about the advent of the superconsumer, a user who, equipped with his smartphone, is dynamic and flexible, but also impatient and demanding. One of the issues the forum addressed was, precisely, the paths that companies should take in this new era to tackle the market. Superconsumers, in addition to being demanding, have also become opinion leaders, social beings who, via channels like Twitter and Facebook, can bolster or destroy a company’s image. According to Sixto Arias, an expert in mobility and an IBM ambassador, “For companies, this consumer is either their worst nightmare or a real dream.”
And what is to be done with consumers like these? Many companies have already acknowledged them and are striving to adapt. #START015 also proposed solutions to apply the potential of mobile technologies in their favor.
In the case of physical stores, for example, the future lies in combining the immediacy of physical sales with the richness and personalization of online sales. Advances like augmented reality, cataloguing garments in the Cloud and geolocation are destined to provide customers with greatly enhanced experiences. As they share more personal information, they will watch stores transform into establishments exclusively customized just for them.
Keeping, attracting and maintaining customers, transforming finances, productivity and collaboration are the challenges businesses face today. It is vital to anticipate and adapt to what lies ahead, and in this regard, companies such as IBM are pointing the way for the whole industry.