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The customer is within arm's reach

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Mobile technology is becoming the primary way in which people interact, according to Mike Riegel, VP of mobile at IBM.

Riegel spoke to ITWeb at IBM's recent PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, in Las Vegas. One of the major themes of the conference was the three big growth areas for IT: social business, cloud computing, mobile and big data analytics.

Riegel says most people with smartphones keep them within arm's reach, and this dramatically changes the way companies should be looking at customer interaction.

"If you're a marketer, or a company that sells things, and you realise you could be on this phone, be this close to the consumer 24/7, that's a dramatically different way to think about selling," he said.

We are currently experiencing a "mobile revolution", believes Riegel. Companies need to realise how to get returns on their mobile spend, and how to maximise the consumer experience for mobile devices, he added.

According to Riegel, to capitalise on this wave of the business of mobile, IBM recently unveiled its MobileFirst suite of software and services to help companies improve their mobile customer experience.

The software has three major focuses: mobile applications, mobile management, security and analytics.

One recent acquisition that falls into the "applications" category is Worklight.

Worklight is a platform that enables users to write an application once, which can then be deployed over various operating systems, rather than having to rewrite an application several times.

The "coolest" part of the portfolio is analytics, said Riegel. With the company's analytics capabilities, customer can track usage data, allowing them to see which part of the app is the most popular, when users buy products, what sequence they navigate through the app, et cetera.

"Getting that type of user insight through our MobileFirst analytics is a real differentiator for our customers that nobody else has. It helps them embrace mobile in the business, and mobile commerce," he said.

Although MobileFirst was officially unveiled earlier this month, Riegel said IBM has been "quietly assembling" the capabilities through acquisitions, building the team, and obtaining patents.

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