v2.0 - The era of collaborative engagement, and how its different - Part 1/6

A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of engaging UX guru and lean UX NYC co-chair, Will Evans, on the blog entry that I published outlining The Era of Consumer Engagement. While we agreed on most things, Will brought up some ideas for improvement that I simply could not ignore. Below are some of the key changes to that blog entry that came out of the conversation:

  • Era of Collaborative Engagement (changed from the Era of Consumer Engagement). Mobile and social have shifted the focus away from one-way communication, and towards collaboration. The impact of this shift is felt not just when engaging with consumers, but also when engaging with employees, business partners, suppliers and investors. 
  • Lotus Notes (added to the era of Organizational Productivity): Notes software truly was the first step in the direction of intra-enterprise collaboration, well before the era of collaborative engagement commenced. 

Without further adieu, here's the new and improved version of that previous post:

Over the past 3 decades business related information technology has experienced three key era's of growth. While the first two era's are somewhat related, in that they both focused on productivity gains, the third era is clearly a bit different. 


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Below are what we consider 5 key differentiators between the era of "collaborative engagement", vs. the eras of "personal productivity" and "organizational productivity:

  • Focus on B2C vs. B2BSocial and mobile have an impact on both B2B and B2C, however the greater impact is on how organizations engage with external constituents (i.e., customers or citizens) vs. internal constituents (i.e., partners or employees).
  • Lean startup in the enterprise: Build. Measure. Learn. When you are building a product for the consumer, its best to build lean and iterate vs. to build bulky and pray.
  • Centrality of UX: If you cannot impress a consumer in the first 30-60 seconds of interaction with a new mobile app, then you might have lost them forever. In this new world, UX is king.
  • Decentralized creativity: Ideas for new and interesting products and services, and suggestions for improvement, can come from internal or external constituents, not just top level management.   
  • Driving top line growthThe primary focus of enhancing personal or organization productivity is cost minimization. While effective customer engagement can no doubt reduce cost, its biggest pull lies in driving new revenue. 

Each of the above differences warrants a deeper look, and we will do so in future blog posts, but the bottom line is this - we are leaving the era of back office IT, and entering the era of front office IT.