Mobility 101

Crucial Points to consider when “Mobilizing Your Business”

My view is simple; organisations that don’t embrace the Mobility revolution will not survive let alone compete!  This fact is reinforced by the following prediction by Gartner that “Mobile app development projects will out number PC development projects 4:1 in the next 3 years”. This clearly illustrates that organisations have understood that today’s consumers are on the move; needing information at their fingertips and that Mobile App’s are the way quench this thirst for information. Consumers are looking for service providers that are able to provide information over multiple channels including traditional web, smartphones and tablets devices in a consistent manner. Furthermore it’s not only consumers who are on the go, employees are also no longer solely office bound and companies have to be able to engage with their staff via the various Mobile Channels.

Before making any technology investments start with your Mobility Strategy. It’s a mistake to jump into mobile development, first ensure that you have a well thought out strategy of where you would like to take your business from a mobility point of view. Mobility focused organisations like Software Arkitex can help you develop this Mobility roadmap and save you from the pitfalls of diving head first into the fast paced world of mobile app development.

The next question is then which Operating Systems should I target? Organisations cannot take a gamble on which OS will lead the market, today it might be iOS and tomorrow it might be Android, Windows or some new OS from China! The safest bet is to ensure that your App is Multi Channel ready! This means that your App should be able to run on all channels (smart phones, tablets, feature phones, kiosk’s and even desktop web) as well as on all Operating Systems within each channel. This might seem impossible but if one takes a Platform approach to Mobile Application Development then this is achievable.

In the Mobility space agility is key and the ability to adapt and introduce new features/functionality is vital to the continued success of a Mobile App. The question is therefore how does one gear ones self for this

This question largely depends on how one has architected/designed your Mobile App. If one ensures your app is “loosely coupled” and that you take the platform approach as suggested earlier then changes to App’s could be achieved with relative ease. The biggest hurdle when it comes to Mobile Application development is the fact that OS upgrades from the device manufacturers are so frequent (every 6 to 9 months) that if one takes a non platform approach you will be spending 95% of time and effort in keeping up to date with OS upgrades.

Can you be competitive if you are not first to market with your Mobile App? The answer to this question is a resounding YES! It’s not so much a question about “copying” your competitor’s apps. The way to compete is rather a function of the quality of the mobile experience you offer to you consumers. For example a business can successfully compete with its competitors even the mobile app has the same functionality as your competitor but you can provide a ubiquitous user experience in a multichannel environment across smart phones, tablets and desktop web. When it comes to Mobile App’s, convenience is the smart business strategy and providing the same functionality across multi channel environment is the key to this convenience.

In conclusion the most crucial element to consider before entering the fast paced world of Mobility is the development of your Mobility Strategy. Companies often make the mistake of jumping into building a Mobile App without considering developing their Mobility Strategy first.  This is a recipe for disaster and will lead to failed projects with both financial and reputational damage. The smart move is to first develop a Mobility Strategy, validate it against your business plans and then execute.

To successfully craft a mobility strategy one has to consider the following

  • Align business goals and objectives around mobility.
  • Identify multi-channel opportunities based on an understanding of your business and competitive landscape.
  • Prioritize a set of Use Cases/Applications that become the foundation of your multi-channel strategy.
  • Confirm “usability” and user adoption of the Applications/Use Cases.
  • Create a technology investment strategy roadmap.

Ensure you understand how to reduce the risk of your multi-channel investment decisions.