The mobile (r)evolution has already begun and really everybody wants to take part in it. History seems to be repeating itself. Today the most bizarre solutions can be found on the mobile market, just like alrady 15 years ago in the web surroundings.
Instead of adding a real value to the mobile version, enterprises often simply copy their appearance on the web – and this rather badly. This is how to do it right and you can even acquire new customers at a time…
„Help, we need an app!“
This is the year 2014. More and more enterprises feel the need to extend their online activities to the obviously profitable mobile channel. Quite good so far. The following way to do so is often hasty and provokes some kind of déjà vu. This was the case about 15 years ago during the goldrush-fever of The Bubble when many enterprises spent a lot of time and energy – and a lot of money – on transforming web appearances to mobile versions without thinking about adding a new value to it for the customers. „We need an app!“ insted of „We offer a new mobile value“ seems to be the tenor in most of the cases but they are doomed to failure.
Android vs. iOS or Windows Mobile? Native vs. Mobile Web or even Hybrid? These are the questions you normally have without thinking about the target group or the mobile context of usage or the available development resources. Most of these decisions are made intuitionally and not based on experiences and discussions. „Intuitionally“ often means in this case that the decision was made for iPad and iPhone since it is the prefered device of the managers (or their family members).
The result of the mobile effort of a company is most of the time a bad copy of the companies web site, which in no way satisfies mobile users. The best case would be the customers switching from web to mobile – or not. The worst case would be the company losing the customers in result to the bad mobile solution, because they don’t trust any more in expertise and sustainability of the company. Companies must avoid this in any case. They need a mobile enterprise strategy.
What is meant by „mobile enterprise strategy“? It is more than choosing the right technology. How could the right technology be chosen, when you don’t know what it is needed for? In their consultings the mobile strategy experts get together with company representatives in an early stage of the planning of a mobile strategy to first develop a mobile vision and then follow with a matching strategy.
The first step is to develop clear and realistic goals. This is missed by most companies.
Is the goal to target new customers or satisfy existing customers? Is it a strengthening of the brand image or a demonstration of sustainability? These are only two aspects that should be taken into account. The second step in such consulting is the definition of a mobile target group which can differ from web target group or amend it.
The next step is the definition of the mobile usage context. Which user with which device uses the app when and at what location? Is it on the couch or on their way to work? Does he or she use a tablet or smart phone? Is he or she online or offline? These are only some of the questions to be answered to get a clear picture of user behavior which is essential for the next steps. To interpret the results the seven mobile modes by yahoo (2013) can help as well as statistics about a normal mobile day (where is which device when used and in which context?).
Only after answering these questions we take a look in detail at the real problem of the mobile user in the context of the already defined mobile vision to find a really matching solution. „Really matching“ in this context is meant as the added value by mobile. Our first goal is to add value to the user with our mobile strategy and/or to get new customers with this added value.
The right technology in most cases is already clear after answering the above questions. And often it is not the IPhone or IPad which may be surprising, even if these are the prefered devices of the management, as the management normally does not match the target group.
After the decision for a technology we take a look at the resources of the customer. Can they manage such project on their own and if so, are further trainings or workshops necessary? Or are external resources needed? In many cases both make sense. Our developers often help at the beginning of a project, develop clearly defined subparts or support the customers team until the end of the project. Of course a complete outsourcing is possible, too. This is possible even if the final solution is not completely clear at the beginning, as we work with agile methods. In such cases constant feedback is mandatory.
If you strictly walk on the path that is described here and trust in mobile experts the way to the mobile world is a real enrichment for your company and your customers. Having a close eye on the defined goals and the added value the mobile enterprise strategy is a key to establish the new channel mobile for your company.
open knowledge GmbH has a fifteen-year-experience in enterprise and mobile computing and has references of many success stories for considerable customers in and out of Germany. We know both parts – enterprise and mobile – and are able to combine it in a value adding way. „Enterprise meets mobile“ is our business.