You only have a few seconds to connect with customers in a meaningful way. So how do you lower the barrier so it’s easy for them to interact with your content? By employing the interface on the device the user is on. But, how do you do it across many platforms?
You build a digital ecosystem for sharing assets and data.
Technology is finally catching up to digital ecosystems, an idea that been around for more than 10 years. According to Wikipedia, a digital ecosystem is a distributed, adaptive, open socio-technical system with properties of self-organization, scalability and sustainability inspired from natural ecosystems. You can use these ecosystems to interact with customers, partners and competitors.
Your data and business processes are the core of the digital ecosystem that is driven by collaboration and connection among diverse entities.
Your data and business plan should drive your technology — not your platforms. That means your data and content must be accessible across platforms and flexible enough to move from one system to the next. Let the device’s user interface (UI) present the data in the best way your user can interact with it.
So Many Platforms
You’re using more digital platforms than ever to compete. You have digital signage. You have a responsive website. You have a tablet app. You’re working on building your #Slack Bot. To interact with you, your customers are crossing from one platform to another. Desktop for this. Tablet for that. Not to mention Alexia and IoT devices.
As content has moved from something you read on a website to interactive data accessible by touch, voice or an IoT device, your data has become fragmented from the context.
In the past, you just needed a responsive website that worked across different browsers of varying sizes. You enter content in your CMS and it looks good on your website and users’ mobiles.
But, what happens when you go to a tradeshow? You call up your website on a giant screen. It still works but it lacks the rich experience your customer expects. What if I want to call you? How does a SlackBot interact with your html content? It doesn’t.
That’s why you need an architecture designed with multiple platforms in mind, one that uses native UI to deliver a far better user experience.
APIs Can Help
Modern APIs, which let applications and devices talk to each other, allow easy integration with any device: your mobile phone, the touch infotainment system in your car, your company’s showroom, even your website. Companies like Netflix use APIs to stream video across more than 200 devices. Slack has built a business model around its API ease of use.
You can benefit from APIs as well. Since they’re part of your digital ecosystem, you can build APIs to bring your content to the device your audience is using. Plus, opening your APIs to others can create new business opportunities.
Meet Users Where They Are
In the past, businesses created custom experiences for each specific device. This is no longer possible. There are far too many devices — and users’ attention is fractured. So how can you capture their attention?
By lowering the barrier to consuming your content. Deliver an exceptional experience on your users’ platform of choice. Don’t force them to interact the way you want, but rather in a way that makes sense to them. In other words, meet them where they are.
Sharing assets and data in a way that your users can appreciate will help keep your team focused on the aspects of the solution that add value. Invest your resources on those things that have higher impact and extend your reach. Building a digital ecosystem will give your team the tools to make it happen.
In upcoming blogs I’ll cover a variety of elements of a digital ecosystem, including digital asset management through APIs and how to integrate analytics so you can build fewer administrative interfaces. Want to be notified of new posts? Subscribe here.