Today’s IT Solutions Need to Address Multi-channel Delivery

0 Posted by - June 23, 2016 - Blog

by Zibis Group, Inc.

Organizations and business leaders are constantly bombarded with new statistics regarding the rise of mobile use and interaction; so much so, they run the risk of becoming platitudes. For example:

  • “Mobile banking users to exceed 1.75 billion by 2019, representing 32% of the global adult population.”
  • “Mobile digital media time in the US is now higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).”
  • “30 million more people in North America are projected to become mobile payment users between 2014 and 2016.”
  • “Nearly 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions exist worldwide, which is approaching the number of people on earth.”

But not all these mobile users are converting from traditional desktop channels. These mobile numbers also include new users not yet accessing services through traditional digital channels. While nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, 19% of Americans rely on a smartphone for accessing online services and for staying connected. More specifically, 10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home [Pew Research Center].

Not only does this movement towards mobile provide new ways for organizations to interact with existing customers and employees, but it also introduces new sources of differentiation and competitive advantage that can be used to attract net new customers or those defecting from competitors.

While mobile access was initially addressed with “responsive” and “adaptive” web-based interfaces and the delivery of mobile applications, the movement to mobile also plays a significant role with respect to the back end. In many cases, mobile applications are significantly increasing transaction numbers. More than a way of interacting with end users, mobile apps are providing a richer experience, meaning that a single touch on a mobile app can trigger a cascade of transactions back into the system of record. For example, each time a person hits the “buy” button on a smartphone app, it triggers transactions involving credit card approvals, inventory, and billing systems. Or banking apps can include updating information like account balances, mortgage balances, or line of credit balances.

Even if the same number of transactions is initiated through a web-based interface, access to a mobile app on a smartphone is much faster and more readily accessible, allowing users to initiate these processes much more quickly and more often.

Today, more than 70% of enterprise data still resides on a mainframe, and a good 70% of Fortune 500 companies use the mainframe for their core business (e.g., 92 of the top 100 banks, 23 of the top 25 retailers, etc.). Similarly, according to industry research, 55% of enterprise apps still touch the mainframe and 80% of mobile transactions touch the mainframe at some point.

Today’s mainframes play exceptionally well in a cloud environment and provide an opportunity to eliminate extraneous layers of IT abstraction reducing integration complexity. For example, to meet the response time demands and expectations of its customers, Citigroup purchased the latest IBM z13 mainframe noting it would help the company better deal with the explosive growth in mobile and online transactions.

In addition to some of the better-touted attributes of the latest IBM mainframe, the z13 also provides an application programming interface that lets developers quickly create apps for the system. The new API, called z/OS Connect, is designed to let application development teams easily access services running on the mainframe. It provides a set of RESTful APIs that developers can use to discover services, check service status, start or stop services, get statistics, and other operations.

While mainframe software such as CICS Transaction Server have provided connectivity through Web Services for some time now, z/OS Connect  is about providing a common and consistent REST and JSON interface into the mainframe environment in a way that enables developers to best take advantage of the assets that exist there.

z/OS Connect provides developers with the tools to develop and support mobile (or cloud) apps in a mainframe environment, making it easier and more cost effective to develop, manage, and secure mobile interfaces. Businesses can release mobile app updates on a monthly basis, see how customers react and then make modifications as necessary.

Now that smartphones account for nearly two-thirds of the mobile phone market, enterprises are investing heavily in mobility. Mobility investments have rewarded companies that have pursued them, and new business models have developed exclusively around apps (e.g., Uber and Lyft ride-share services). More than a mobile channel, digital devices and platforms are becoming the tools of choice for building next generation products and services, and entire ecosystems.

The convergence of the digital and physical worlds is creating hundreds of potential channels that reach deep into every aspect of people’s lives. Companies are exploring a variety of emerging channels to engage customers including wearables, connected TVs, connected cars, and other “smart” objects. The IBM z13 mainframe is tuned for mobile transactions providing organizations with all the necessary tools in a single package to meet these new demands while remaining flexible and adaptable.

Read more about the IBM z13 mainframe.

Read more posts in this series:
Driving Digital Business: Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC)
Strategic IT: New Mainframe Technology Supports the Newest Mindsets
Scaling Up Data Centers in an Environmentally Responsible Way

Despite Increasing IT and Analytical Complexity, Customers Want Even Shorter Response Times

About the Author: Zibis Group Inc. (“Zibis Group”) is a leading source for market research and advisory services on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and related sectors. We assist vendors, government institutions, academia, non-profits, and other key industry stakeholders by providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions. Zibis Group is a niche player in the marketplace for customized ICT sector research. We understand that all companies have distinct interests and unique business challenges. We thrive on rising to the occasion and in seeing our clients succeed. Technology is changing and we’re here to help.