Technology Partners 4 Life
It’s a given that as computing power increases and size decreases technology is becoming both more prevalent and more mobile resulting in applications transitioning from something we use to something which integrates into our lives. This fundamentally core change in the way we view technology has triggered a paradigm shift from products we purchase to partnerships with the companies who produce them.
The new world.
Social media most commonly refers to specific social-based applications like twitter and facebook but the new paradigm says different. The new paradigm says that all technology is by nature interactive and that interactivity has fundamentally changed the world in which we live. Slowly but surely the world is going digital — there’s an app for that. Combined with more portable, more powerful technology solutions and there is no longer a such thing as “offline” — we’re all connected, always.
In health care, for instance, patients are play more of a role in the direction of their care (like it or not). Some may argue its the lawyers, but I contend its the information. Yesterday we had one option, today we have many. It’s a health care buffet where patients chose the cure that’s right for them. HCPs provide the choices, the relevant data/information, and the procedures but today’s empowered consumer goes further — this is not your grandmother’s second opinion, this is WebMD, google, and IBM’s Smarter Planet. This is secure mobile integrated systems of HCPs, payers, pharmacies, care givers, studies, trials, and reviews/opinions — real access to real information in real time, where you are and when you are.
Recognition of the investment.
People invest time, money, and confidence/trust in technology. Take the health care industry who produce pharmaceutical compliance tools and applications. The Pharma industry as a whole leading the charge with the tablet takeover. One company, AliveCor, turned the iPhone 4 into a portable ECG machine for under $100. Patients rely on these technologies. They rely on the reminder to take their medication, analyze blood samples and take blood pressure. Technology facilitates record keeping and payer simplification, supply critical information like warnings and new treatments, enable secure communication to those who need it, and much more. In some cases these applications are the critical piece of information people use to make real life decisions. Decisions which affect their real life — not their Second Life, their real life. They are heavily invested in the product and thus the organization.
On the flip side, the organization also relies on the customer. Without customers they are nothing. Social media has added a new dimension of social listening — the responsibility. If I tweet about you, blog about you, or leave you feedback I assume you were listening. If you were not, you should be. This responsibility to listen gives new meaning to terms like prosumer as consumers expect a strong role in the shaping of the applications they use. In his 2005 whitepaper “what is web 2.0”, O’Rielly coined the term perpetual beta citing the frequent release cycle of applications as developers began to listen to users and accept their input as co-developers harnessing their collective intelligence.
Fail to partner with your users, fail to grow your product, create a hole for someone else. The survival and betterment of each depends on the other.
To the organization the customer pledges their support and that they will continue to use the application so long as it remains valuable. And in addition to their loyalty they pledge to voice opinions on what they like and what they don’t. They will demand upgrades and features and report bugs and poor user experiences. And when a better technology is delivered they pledge to use that better technology so be forewarned, and be the better technology. In some cases they pledge their money, in others their data. Whatever the arrangement they pledge to create value for the production organization.
Consumers of technology allow organizations into their lives. They keep their bank accounts on-line, they utilize adherence applications for medications which make their life livable. In short, they trust technology. In exchange for the value they provide and the trust they give the organization pledges to deliver on the promise of utility.
We directly affect their lives and they directly impact our survival. We’re partners, technology partners, for life.