Mobile is undoubtedly sending shock waves through all areas of business. However, its most significant impact is arguably on how companies interact with their customers.

Today, more than 50 percent of companies are using mobile to improve customer service, with a particular focus on responding more rapidly to customers, according to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, "The Upwardly Mobile Enterprise: Setting the Strategic Agenda."

For instance, mobile devices enable companies to quickly deliver information and insight to customers regardless of where they are. Whether it involves allowing a customer to check the status of a service issue via an app, interacting with customers on social networks or allowing a salesperson to view the latest product inventory in real-time, mobile capabilities can reduce the time and effort it takes to resolve a customer need. And no doubt, many of those apps are stored safely in a cloud.

So why aren't these practices the norm every time we're seeking customer service from our favorite brands? It’s difficult to provide customers with an exceptional mobile experience if you don’t know how they’re using their device. Fifty percent of companies indicate that understanding how customers interact with their mobile applications and solutions is a significant challenge.

Fortunately, analytics can be applied to data gathered from mobile transactions and interactions to not only understand how and when customers are using their mobile devices, but also to respond to clients with a better, more personalized experience. By applying analytics to data in real-time, companies can interpret customer preferences and use that information to influence the next step in the customer’s experience.

When mobile and analytics combine, organizations have the ability to gain and apply deeper insights to replace generalized offers with services that specifically target a customer based on his or her unique preferences and circumstances in real-time.

The Rugby Football Union, for example, is using an analytics system developed by IBM Interactive to better understand information on rugby fans -- including their needs and preferences -- to communicate with supporters and participants in a more personalized way.

Similarly, Jaguar Land Rover developed the Jaguar Land Rover Virtual Experience, a mobile 3D application that allows customers to examine and change components of a 3D rendering of a car, using motion-detection technology. The technology generates volumes of data that can be analyzed by the auto manufacturer to better understand customer preferences, such as which car features are viewed most often during the buying process and therefore most important to customers.

That’s not to say that using analytic tools on mobile data is easy. In fact, 48 percent of companies in our study say it’s a challenge. But the payoff for those who can is clear. The mobile strategy leaders who say they are reaping measurable results from their mobile initiatives were nearly just as likely to describe themselves as effective at analyzing and using mobile data to take action.

Point being, if you want your mobile strategy to be successful in driving a better customer experience, you need to pair it with analytics.