Creating Effective Mobile Strategies for Enterprises in 2017
While mobility is growing leaps and bounds, not everyone who jumps into the mobile bandwagon experience success. Enterprises embracing the mobility wave cannot expect to reap the rewards by merely establishing their presence. They need a coherent and workable strategy as well.
Creating a successful mobile strategy is, however, easier said than done. Consider these pointers towards chalking out a mobile strategy that works and delivers rich rewards for the enterprise.
Consider the Overall Enterprise Strategy
A mobile strategy cannot succeed in isolation. A successful mobile strategy is invariably interlinked to the overall business strategy, deeply aligned with the business plan, the various dependencies in existence, and all other facets of the business. The best strategy seeks to ease existing processes, and unlock new possibilities that further the business plan. Hoping for the business to make adjustments to align with something mobility demands is a sure recipe for disaster.
A case in point pertains to data silos. While it is a universal and accepted best practice to eradicate data silos, the corporate strategy may be to keep some sensitive data isolated, either to protect intellectual property or for statutory compliance. A mobility strategy that seeks to demolish all silos that come across would, in this case, be counter-productive.
Engage with the Stakeholders
The best approach with mobility is top-down, by understanding the overall company-wide or corporate strategy up front, defining the enterprise mobile app strategy keeping the corporate strategy in mind, and finally chalking the individual app strategy.
However, imposing something from the top and expecting the rank-and-file to lap it up, with full enthusiasm, rarely works. A successful mobile strategy requires engaging with the stakeholders, understanding their requirements, incorporating their suggestions to the extent possible, and finally securing their support for the initiative. Mobility is in essence change, and just as in driving change, stakeholder buy-in is critical. Intuitive companies go a step further and give ownership of the mobility initiative to the key stakeholders themselves.
Forge a Synthesis
Mobility is not merely an extension of the online strategy into the mobile space. The mobile strategy needs to retain the company’s competitive advantage while making things easier and seamless for the user. At the same time, it needs to ensure the company gain the advantages of implementing mobility.
Success lies in aligning expectations. For instance, the enterprise may look at mobile as another channel, whereas the end user may regard the mobile as one among the several touch points on offer. A successful mobile strategy in this context would make the user prefer mobile as the most convenient and natural touch point.
Focus on the customer’s journey to identify where mobile can make things easy, or unlock possibilities for them. Identify how the enterprise can gain by facilitating the customer in such a way and define clear cut calls-to-action for the customer, based on the overall strategy. Make sure to identify all personas, or representative of a characteristic user, and cater to each persona.
The best mobile strategy forges an effective synthesis between the corporate strategy, stakeholder interests, and what mobility seeks to achieve.
Define the Functionality
Technology has advanced to the extent it is now within the realms of possibilities to roll out highly sophisticated mobile apps, co-opting the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and much more. Another big possibility is big data analytics. However, simply loading the app with functionality is no guarantee to success, and it may actually become counterproductive, with users shunning app bloated with unnecessary features. The best apps leverage the power of simplicity and minimalism, offering the features and functionality users require for the specific task, and nothing else.
Even when the app is full of complex features, make sure the User Interface, and the overall User Experience, is smooth.
Define the Technology Stack
An often underestimated dimension to the mobile strategy is the technology stack. Align the underlying technology with the business goals. For instance, when most of the targeted customers have Android phones, it is foolhardy to push out only an iPhone app. Likewise, considering the data access points or secure user authentication, the state of network readiness, the type of data encryption in use, bandwidth management, and more, are equally critical to deliver a seamless experience and ensure the mobile implementations work well.
Another key tradeoff is between native applications and hybrid apps. Native apps offer certain inherent advantages such as delivering better performance and user experience, ability to run in offline mode and more. Hybrid apps are more versatile, easier to deploy, and up in double quick time.
A mobile strategy is not one-off, but dynamic. Even after the necessary apps, websites, and other resources are in place, it is imperative to deploy the required performance management and monitoring tools to ensure the apps are actually up and running, page load times and response times are satisfactory, concurrent users are managed in a satisfactory way, and more. Make tweaks as required.
On the face of it, the method of development may have no impact on the end product. For instance, it matters little to an end user if the app was development under agile development or waterfall development, as long as the required functionality and UX are in place. However, in today’s highly dynamic environment, it pays to opt for an agile development methodology in most cases.
A waterfall development method is simpler but largely inflexible. The developer determines what to build up front, and goes ahead, with the understanding any changes after the original design phase will be cost-prohibitive and avoided as far as possible. The agile methodology makes it easier to factor in the changing business needs, very important in today’s highly fluid environment. It adopts an iterative approach, of developing iteration as soon as possible, and with the option to deliver as much iteration as required. Moreover, this approach harps on team collaboration, customer feedback, and other forms of insights, all core ingredients of a successful mobile strategy.
Take Professional Help
As the adage goes, “when you do a thing, do it well.” It pays to rope in experts to partner with you for the development of a mobile strategy, and implement it well. The task would be a needless drag on an already overburdened in-house team, but a priority for a strategic partner, who would come with tons of experience in different scenarios as well.