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Contextual Services: Removing the Boundaries of Enterprise Mobility, Cloud Computing and Social Collaboration

Ben Farrell
August 31, 2011

"I don't think of cloud, mobile and social as really having boundaries now. I think of them as coming together and reinforcing each other."

These are the words of Maribel Lopez, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc. and founder of market research and strategy consulting firm Lopez Research LLC. In an interview with, Ms. Lopez talked about the convergence of these three trends, why enterprise mobility strategies should focus on improving business processes, and how all of that together opens the door for a new world of "contextual services."

Ms. Lopez contends that enterprise mobility strategies centered on mobile device management or operating system support are missing the bigger picture. The place to start is to understand that mobility presents a host of new capabilities. A mobility strategy should focus on using those capabilities to improve business processes to "improve customer service, close deals faster, get quicker time to revenue -- basically, try to create competitive differentiation by using mobile technologies." This is spot-on with our approach to Mobile BPM.

She goes on to explain that enterprise mobility will create an enormous volume of new data - about customers, field operations and more. Analyzing that data in real time will create a better understanding of the customer (and the employee), enabling companies to enhance their experience by delivering contextual services. In a nutshell, this means providing the right service at the right time based on the context of the customer/employee experience. This moves beyond today's conception of "customer engagement" by bringing together a host of disconnected data and processes.

Cloud computing plays a role here, because it allows a mobile device to do more by off-loading processing and data storage to a cloud infrastructure. She further contends that social technologies as we know them today would not exist without the cloud, because cloud computing is what allows millions of people to work on a single application without breaking it.

Ms. Lopez' vision of the convergence of mobile, cloud and social (plus Big Data/Master Data Management) is very much in line with Appian's vision for the future of work and what it will mean for the customer and employee experience. Also in keeping with our view is her assertion that there is no simple 'one-size-fits-all' approach to leveraging these major IT trends. In her words, "It can be applied to almost any industry, and the most critical factor is figuring out where it applies for you."

Contact Appian so we can help you figure out how to make "contextual services" drive your business success.

-Ben Farrell, Director, Corporate Communications