SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud)

SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) is the concept that four technologies are currently driving innovation in business.

SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) is the concept that four technologies are currently driving business innovation.

SMAC creates an ecosystem that allows a business to improve its operations and get closer to the customer with minimal overhead and maximum reach. The proliferation of structured and unstructured data that is being created by mobile devices, sensors, social media, loyalty card programs and website browsing is creating new business models built upon customer-generated data. None of the four technologies can be an afterthought because it's the synergy created by social, mobile, analytics and cloud working together that creates a competitive advantage.

Social media has provided businesses with new ways to reach and interact with customers, while mobile technologies have changed the way people communicate, shop and work. Analytics allow businesses to understand how, when and where people consume certain goods and services and cloud computing provides a new way to access technology and the data a business needs to quickly respond to changing markets and solve business problems. While each of the four technologies can impact a business individually, their convergence is proving to be a disruptive force that is creating entirely new business models for service providers.

The integration of the technologies requires clear policies and guidelines as well as management tools that can automate business processes. The media company Netflix is often cited as an example of a business that has successfully harnessed the power of SMAC. For example, when a Netflix member streams a TV show from the Netflix cloud to their iPad, they are given the option of signing into Netflix with Facebook's social login. After viewing a show, members are given multiple ways to provide social feedback. They can rate content with stars, write reviews and/or share what they just watched with friends on Facebook or Twitter. Customer data is stored in the cloud and Netflix can break down its analysis to such a granular a level that its recommendation engine can personalize suggestions for individual family members who share the same account, a concept known as 1:1 marketing.

Proponents of this CRM strategy believe that 1:1 marketing (also called one-off marketing) should be the ultimate goal of every SMAC initiative. Critics worry that 1:1 marketing initiatives that aggregate customer data from disparate sources, especially data that is purchased from data brokers, may violate customer privacy and cause legal problems related to compliance and data sovereignty.

This was first published in July 2014

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