• IBM’s three design acquisitions in one week strengthen its marketing cloud clout
• IBM will glean knowledge through partnership with Adobe Marketing Cloud
Do you know how many calorie-counting apps are out there? A lot. But I’ve never cared for most of them until I came across MyFitnessPal, which is a quick set-up, helps me track daily calories, and includes slick graphics like pie charts to make sure I’m taking in the correct ratio of calories between carbs, fats, and proteins.
Enterprise companies are keenly aware that users toss numerous mobile apps if they don’t immediately deliver on our concept of ideal usability—and users aren’t inclined to give an app a second chance, they just move on to the next one. This user interface stuff (also referred to as UX) is tricky and a lot is riding on it, and it is now at the foundation of many companies’ marketing cloud efforts whether they support B2C, B2B or B2E apps.
Early on in its relationship with Apple, IBM was often sent back to the drawing board because the apps the two companies were collaborating on required too many steps (consider the simplicity of buying a 99 cent song from iTunes after hearing it on Pandora). But IBM teamed with the best, gleaned knowledge, and at the same time implemented a Design Thinking program which has been in place for a little over a year and is responsible for some major product UX reduxes, like Verse. The company’s taking things up a notch by acquiring three globally based design firms in the last week alone—Resource/Ammirati, Aperto, and ecx.io (adding to its 10,000 employees already working in its digital marketing groups worldwide). The move will also give IBM a leg up in a region, Western and Eastern Europe, which is behind Asia-Pacific and North America in the adoption curve on mobile, cloud, analytics, etc.
No, IBM’s not trying to be the next Apple, but it is trying to push its cognitive (Watson) analytics, commerce, big data and security portfolios, MADP and cloud services. What we’re seeing is a new type of professional services emerging—one whose designers and architects sit down with customers to determine how to become a digital company through successful, useable mobile apps—ones which people will use, and ones which require advanced technologies at the backend.
IBM partners with vendors that have had early success in this area, including mobile rival Adobe around the Adobe Marketing Cloud and Creative Cloud, initiatives which enable big data capabilities to support interactive marketing programs, leveraging its mobile technology and authoring tools with analytics. Adobe has become top of mind among companies for its early efforts in digital marketing and mobile app development platforms. Through that partnership, IBM will glean knowledge from Adobe’s successes while being on hand to supplement its product portfolio. Who cares if the two companies compete head to head in the MADP arena? Look how successful Apple’s become because it understood what people wanted.