Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Enterprises Must Anticipate How Societal Trends Will Impact Their Business and Customers

As IT-based devices and technologies become more personal in scope and application, social issues will become increasingly important to product success, according to Gartner, Inc. In order to identify and react to major societal shifts and trends, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2010, 15 percent of U.S. and European businesses will have formalized societal trend watching as a corporate discipline.

Adding technology to the natural human desire to communicate enables individuals to participate in more, richer, faster and denser social networks. Some are enabled by basic Internet infrastructure, such as e-mail and instant messaging, while others by more specialist tools or sites, such as FriendFeed, Twitter, Ryze or Orkut. Such networks form an increasing proportion of the trusted information sources that individuals use to make decisions.

The danger that many organizations run into is trying to determine which trends to watch. Gartner recommends giving responsibility to a group to watch societal trends and to focus on the following points to maximize short-term and strategic decisions while positioning the business for the future. Other recommendations include:

--Social factors will become increasingly important in business and commercial systems. Adopt a human-centric design perspective. Watch these factors on an ongoing basis.

--Appoint staff to review systems and working practices to identify legal, ethical and social risks.

--Conduct an opportunity/threat analysis to identify product and service opportunities enabled by the connected society.

--Understand and exploit network effects in products and services.

--Explore the opportunities to use network effects and the connected society to solve business and government problems in new ways.

--Privacy is a way of life and a business strategy decision, not a technical issue. Appoint a privacy officer.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

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