Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) are the four pillars which are driving business innovation worldwide. How? Here’s how:
Social Applications and Media allow businesses to reach their customers anywhere anytime, as most of these customers now use Mobile technologies to interact, communicate, search and buy products and services. Behind this social one-to-one interaction by organizations is a careful strategy that uses Data Analytics using Cloud Computing software to understand users’ experience and preferences and personalize the content to their needs.
Have you ever wondered why after you search for a particular product, say ‘Men’s watches’ on an e-commerce website, related searches and products keep appearing even on different websites? That is in fact the e-commerce website using SMAC to track your experience and provide personalized content as you browse the web.
So far, we have seen how businesses are using SMAC to boost sales. However, the scope of this concept extends way beyond just getting customers onboard; SMAC enabled decisions can be used to improve the experience of any set of people who are exposed to social and mobile platforms. Social and Cloud-based learning environments powered byAnalytics and Mobile First design are also characterizing and influencing the waylearners learn today:
Today’s generation, the Millenials; is a social generation. There always have been doubts regarding whether the usage of social media should be allowed and/or encouraged at the workplace or not – primarily because these platforms are typically seen as ‘waste of time’. However, organizations must acknowledge the fact that social media now serves as a powerful medium of self-development and learning, especially because it is social in nature. Organizations that encourage online discussions to happen, not only are able to engage their learners as active participants, but are also seen in a more positive light by employees for not curbing something that is now an essential part of their lifestyle.
The ease with which technology has found its way into our lives has transformed the way we want information. No more do we have the patience for reading excessively long texts or watching long videos (for most people, if not all). The demand for bite-sized data is high and mobile devices can effectively cater to such a demand. Just-in-time information for on-the-job support that is based on the kind of information that a learner searches for on the device that he/she is most comfortable with, is skewing the market in favor of mobile learning. And the growing acceptance of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies is only making it more cost-effective and easier for both employees as well organizations.
Vast streams of data are generated as learners interact with Learning Management Systems and the integrated social and mobile applications. For each learner, these set of data are fed into Data Analytics applications and they come out as useful information about aggregated learning characteristics. The amount of time a learner spends on each page, the series of mouse clicks or screen touches, the order in which he accesses the pages – all these can be captured and converted into valuable inferences to improve learning experience and make it more personalized for each employee. Analytics thus makes it possible for learners to chart their own flexible learning course, instead of following a linear learning path created by the organization.
The cloud is what connects people to these learning systems – when a learner starts a particular course on his mobile and accesses it on his tablet later on, it is the cloud which makes it possible for the data to be available whenever and wherever it is needed. Online applications like the Dropbox, Google Docs and Drive, and their likes form a part of the everyday routine of Millenials, who like to have access to their data anywhere they want. Organizations need to benefit from the various benefits brought on by the cloud – be it price flexibility, IT efficiency or the ability to rapidly launch new learning campaigns and initiatives.
To sum it up, the individual drivers of SMAC are already in motion- social and mobile learning platforms are being encouraged, data is being stored and accessed from the cloud and some form of analytics is being used to mine educational data (though this is still in its nascent stage for organizational learning). The key to leveraging SMAC to create highly efficient and personalized learning experiences lies in deriving insights from the complex interplay of these four elements.
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