Mobile is no longer just a consumer or Gen-Y platform, but a pervasive force in business today. In fact 77% of IT executives think mobility is very important/important as an enabler of business innovation, and 45% of enterprise organizations’ IT departments support 3 or more mobile platforms.1 To harness this platform for business advantage you need a plan, using a mindset that expects change to allow the flexibility to experiment and adapt, with new technologies and best practices, as this area continues its rapid evolution.
#1 Who is in charge?
Creating and executing on a mobile strategy will take resources from many internal departments – technology, design, sales, and content – and perhaps external partners. As with any business initiative, to be successful you need one individual anointed as the product champion to have the oversight of your mobile strategy and drive its success. This person will need executive support and the ability to pull the collective resources together to drive everyone in the same direction. Your mobile champion will need to start with a strong technology basis of understanding, and also be willing to keep up with the rapid pace of change in technologies and mobile user habits.
#2 What are your goals?
Mobile is a rapidly emerging business trend that customers are adopting, but creating a mobile app for the sake of being on the cutting edge is not a strategy for success. Is the goal to expand your reach and engage an audience through multiple channels or is there a revenue target? A clearly articulated business strategy utilizing mobile tactics will make sure you are all moving in the same direction. Creating apps can have a large upfront expense, and be a resource drain to keep updated. But if you have a sound business reasons behind your development it will be easier to measure your success.
#3 What do your customers want?
Mobile is all about ‘right now.’ What is it that your customers are seeking at that very moment? What is the information they want, that you can serve up with the immediacy they expect on a mobile device? And you can’t underestimate the user experience required–customers want the content or services they are looking for fast. In our business, IT professionals rely on white papers as a key source of information. By providing a way for them to search, store and share white papers with Tech Briefcase (www.technologybriefcase.com), an easy to access and use app and web portal, we serve the immediacy of their targeted search needs.
#4 What is your approach?
A critical question when it comes to your strategy – how are you delivering mobile content? Table stakes these days is to optimize your web site for mobile devices, but in some cases it makes sense to create an app. It is critical to understand what you want to accomplish, who you are serving, and what devices they are using when making this decision. Are you targeting an audience using multiple devices? If so it might make sense to use a browser solution that can be accessed by multiple devices rather than create and keep versions current. Or, is there something unique you can deliver in a native app, by capitalizing on a device feature that you can’t if just optimizing for the mobile web? Also, if your strategy requires you to use a combination of apps and web, think through how your dynamic content will be delivered since your workflow will be affected by the market fragmentation of Flash on the web and HTML5 for mobile devices.
#5 How are you going to measure success?
If success is the number of apps downloaded from the iTunes store, or how many subscriptions you have sold, these are easy metrics to understand in relation to your investment. If results are less tangible, like increased engagement or customer satisfaction, or extended reach to new customers, those may be harder to measure but no less valuable to your organization. Know what you want to achieve, and how you are going to measure success so that you can justify increased development and investment in this growing area.
Depending on your specific business, there will be other factors to consider, but understanding the answers to these five questions will get your mobile strategy planning in high gear.
Sources: (1) IDG Enterprise Mobility Solutions Study, October 2010