During the times when I'm attending an event that is non-IT related people ask me what I do for a living. Most often then not when I tell them that I build RIAs for companies they tend to get a glazed look over their face. It's similar to the look of an original flavoured Krispy Kreme glazed donut, and where the eyes loose focus and start filtering out to the background. Worst case scenario is when I need to snap my fingers three time and tell them to return back to the conversation.
Most of the time I can prevent the "Krispy Kreme Look" by explaining to them the concept behind the RIA or Rich Internet Application. Once I do that the penny normally drops and they can name a couple of examples, most commonly TweetDeck and Twirl. These are two of the most downloaded Flex and AIR applications, and have done well in exposing the RIA to the broader community.
I think it's important for us in the RIA space to be pushing the concept and benefits of RIA to the general public. From acceptance breeds growth, and in the digital realm RIA acceptance still has a little way to go.
In Australia recent studies have shown the amount of money spent in the digital arena is ever increasing. When compared to annual profit, the amount of money spent in digital is still rather small, even though online customer growth is increasing. It's this statistic which had me thinking about the acceptance of RIAs in companies and them willing to invest in technology to help with their revenue stream. As the more a company spends in the digital environment the higher the margin of profit, it makes sense to invest in RIAs.
As customers migrate towards and expect more from companies in terms of digital services and experience. A companies customer service is no longer not only judged by the smile of the shop assistant or the friendliness of the wait staff but also by it's online service. This is where well planned and executed RIAs excel, engaging the user, holding their hand through a complex task, giving them the information when they want it without hassle. The RIA doesn't call in sick, steal money from the till or wake up on the wrong side of the bed, things that we have to deal with day to day with traditional customer service.
The technology is not important but the idea behind it is and it's something that us working in the RIA world need to push, not only towards business managers but to the general public, the end user or customer.
As they say the customer is always right and by raising their awareness to RIAs it can not only benefit everyone involved but also the overall growth of the digital space.