The challenges of consumer convergence

2012-02-09 00:00

KPMG is aware that convergence is not a new concept. But it believes that the extent to which convergence enables consumers to live connected lifestyles has astonished many organisations.

Consumers have the power to access a multitude of devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets and ultra books, with the trend in the design of all these devices promoting convenience and flexibility.

Users want to be empowered to get what they want, when they want it.

Consumer demand has significantly shifted from having the desire to possess the fastest processors or the best graphics card to demanding devices that enable them to interact digitally with one another while generating and consuming content.

In many ways consumer convergence has leapfrogged the business environment. Organisations are now forced to re-evaluate their business models to adapt to the challenges of pervasive technologies in an ever-connected world.

The converged lifestyle

KPMG recently published The Converged Lifestyle: Consumers and Convergence 5. In the report it examined consumer preferences and biases to identify the most critical trends for organisations that want to understand what the converged lifestyle is all about.

The converged lifestyle observes two key trends.

First, it is a common consumer perception that suppliers should be flexible enough to keep up with and adapt to consumer needs.

The second pertains to the business and personal split. KPMG feels that the split between the work and personal lives of people is becoming more clinical than in the past.

The rise of social media has facilitated this split by allowing people to use different platforms to meet specific needs: LinkedIn is perceived as a professional environment, thereby facilitating networking and business interaction, whereas Facebook users interact on a personal level.

Organisations that succeed in this space will be the ones that consumers trust. Traditional businesses have not quite made the leap, but there are certain industries that are moving fast to embrace this new world.

Data challenges

Industry is faced with effectively managing the sheer volume of data. In addition, this means that the data could be used in such a way as to support almost every possible scenario.

Due to their open nature, social media can easily be corrupted. Outside data could be fed in to social media channels from competitors that could not only impact brand reputation, but can also lead organisations to distrust the data in the first place.

A critical question for many industries deals with the ownership of social media data. Given that the data reside in the public domain, organisations may wonder whether they need to own the data to properly conduct and use their analysis.

In conclusion, the converged lifestyle has empowered consumers who are increasingly vocal about their preferences and demands. It is believed that in order to build stronger relationships and gain the critical trust of customers, businesses must be able to gauge and respond to this evolving consumer relationship.

For more insights into the challenges facing the converged lifestyle, visit The Converged Lifestyle: Consumers and Convergence 5.

Shamit Govind IT Advisory Associate Director

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