It’s now ‘Consumerisation of business’

Digital disruption is forcing businesses to become more agile and respond to customer needs faster. Customers are expecting consumer-like experiences with business products and services.

Photo Credit : CA Technologies,

Sunil Manglore, Managing Director, CA Technologies, India

A few years ago, we heard about the ‘consumerisation of IT’ and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Well, that paradigm has been taken to a higher level now. According to Sunil Manglore, Managing Director, CA Technologies, India, consumers are expecting the same ‘look and feel’ in business products and services as they would get in a consumer product. Call it the ‘Consumerisation of Business’ if you like.

“Customers are expecting levels of service and performance that are on par with what they get for consumer devices and apps. This is putting a lot of pressure on CIOs of most organisations. As a result of this (consumerisation) IT and software are becoming an integral part of the business. There was a time when software was a support function in the organization and people sought productivity tools,” he said.

Manglore is alluding to the ease of use of business services, through intuitive interfaces, near-immediate/immediate response times and of course, no training manuals.

He says organisations are beginning to use software almost as a product or service for customers. A prominent example is banking services. Using technology, a wealth manager is being replaced with a Robo-advisor. Most of what we did at a bank branch can now be done online, on the mobile phone through an app.

“Software is no longer an enabling or supporting function. It is at the heart of business and organizations are using software almost as a product or service,” asserted Manglore.

Software and sensors will increasingly be embedded in products. This is possible due to miniaturisation of compute resources, better connectivity, the proliferation of sensors and falling prices.

According to Gartner, 8.4 Billion connected "things" will be in use in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016. The consumer segment is the largest user of connected things, with 5.2 billion units in 2017, which represents 63 percent of the overall number of applications in use. But businesses are on pace to employ 3.1 billion connected things in 2017.

This will also give rise to new business models and generate new sources of revenue. Instead of just selling a product, and then reconnecting with the consumer when the product needs servicing, the engagement will be more frequent and over a longer period.

“What was earlier a one-off transaction, in terms of a manufacturer selling a product to the customer, in many cases through the dealer, is being replaced by a continuous engagement between the manufacturer and the consumer,” said Manglore. “This is also enabling companies to get to know their customers better, because there is real-time information and a lot of data available on the usage of the products.”


Changing customer expectations are also driving businesses to become more agile. Businesses need to respond faster, make changes and introduce new products and services more frequently.

“The days when you talked about sustainable competitive advantage are long gone. That’s been replaced with concepts like adaptable tactics, customer-centric design and business agility. Organizations are re-architecting workflows to be able to sense and respond to their customer requirements and needs much faster,” said Manglore. “The ubiquity and miniaturization of computing resources, the availability of sensors, connectivity between sensors and the cloud, is forcing organizations to become more agile.”

This is also having an impact on the way software applications are being developed. Traditionally, a company would develop a piece of software and test it. It would then go back to the drawing board and make changes. The testing was done serially with different user groups and was called ‘Alpha’ and ‘Beta’ testing. Consumers would test the software later in the cycle. This led to successive releases, but the time between releases was in months or years. Today, that cycle is down to weeks or days. A new set of practices called DevOps is enabling that.
DevOps involves all stakeholders at every stage of the development cycle. Users and information technology professionals test the software at the same time as the developers. In a sense, everyone involved is co-developing the product. The development and operations team work closely. That means the developer can make changes faster, and businesses can respond to customer demands more quickly (agility). The errors in the software can also be detected earlier -- coders use a term for this called ‘shift-left’.

“We are seeing the adoption of DevOps and agile management, which helps improve the agility,” said Manglore.

The sensors that are embedded in products will yield a huge amount of data that needs to be processed. The analysis will enable companies to view how customers are using their products and services – which features are used most and which ones are not used much, for instance. It will also offer insights into the path the customer takes to use those specific features. Armed with this data organisations will not only be able to address unmet needs, but also create new features and new services.


CA Technologies also talks about the Modern Software Factory, which is a new way that businesses should think about software development.
“Organisations will need to set up software factories if they are to be agile and respond to customers today,” said Manglore.
The modern software factory is all about delivering experiences. It enables businesses to focus on outcomes, not processes; to have a better understand about customers and to create differentiation. It practices agile development and lean investment principles.

“The modern software factory incorporates the concepts of agile and secure DevOps. The organization should be ready to deploy tens of thousands of releases within a day. It’s about faster, error-free roll-outs,” informed Manglore.

Secure DevOps means security has been built at the code level and not added as a plug in later.

Agile development and DevOps make extreme sense for the industries that have been impacted the most by digital disruption: banking and financial services, IT/ITES, telecom and government.

 Being agile also means faster time to market; software must also be deployed quickly across the organization, and this is enabled through cloud services.

“Along with DevOps we are seeing huge adoption of cloud, not just for peripheral applications – just about every part of the business is moving to cloud,” informed Manglore.


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