Summary: As businesses scramble to create mobile strategies, they’re entering uncharted waters. While they understand the growing importance of mobile, they don’t know where to start. As a result, they make key mistakes which can harm the effectiveness of their mobile strategy. Learn about 7 common mistakes, and why you should avoid them.
You’ve seen all the statistics. Mobile is already the fastest growing trend in history, and it shows no signs of stopping.
But, you don’t need to look at stats to understand mobile’s growth. Just look around. Everywhere you look, people are staring at their phones. We’re in the middle of a mobile revolution, and it’s only just begun.
The big question: What is your business doing about it? Are you prepared for a mobile world?
The problem: Mobile is uncharted territory for business. As they recognize its importance, organizations scramble to assemble an enterprise mobile strategy.
The bigger problem: Everyone wants mobile, but they don’t know where to start. In their rush to capitalize on mobile, many make key mistakes with their mobile strategy. Today, let’s explore a few of these mistakes, and explain why they should be avoided. Here are a few of the most common mobile strategy mistakes:
1. Treating mobile as a “second class citizen”
The problem with many mobile strategies: Mobile is treated like a feature. It’s thought of as something that gets bolted on at the end of the project.
If that’s your opinion of mobile, here’s a fact to consider: Mobile usage has recently surpassed desktop usage. In fact, mobile adoption is still growing, while desktop usage is on the decline.
To compete in this mobile-driven world, organizations must take a mobile-first approach. Mobile cannot be treated as a bolt-on feature.
“When designing your overall application, “mobile” should be factored in at the very beginning. It should not be thought of something that is “tacked on” at the end,” says Elbert Bautista, Software Architect at Broadleaf Commerce. “Define what you will support in the beginning and outline the business cases that will allow you to optimize the application for each device. Know the audience of each device so that you may cater or target specific content to provide a personalized experience.”
2. Creating customer-facing mobile apps just to keep up
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding mobile: The assumption that you need to create a mobile app just to keep up. For many businesses, their mobile strategy revolves around delivering mobile apps to their customers.
The problem: Their customers may not even need (or want) a mobile app.
The reality: Not all businesses need customer-facing apps. For some, internal applications hold far more value. Take a step back and figure out how mobile fits into your overall company strategy.
“Think very hard about who you are making the app for,” says Logan Hall, CEO and co-founder of Rebel Hack Studios. “Businesses will often make useless and seldom used mobile applications simply because the senior management mistakenly think they need an app to keep up. If your customers engage with your business via desktop, during work hours, you might not need a customer facing mobile app. However, your sales team might greatly benefit from a mobile app helping them become more productive, close more deals and drive a far higher ROI.”
Companies don’t have to make customer facing mobile experiences, sometimes a business can create far more ROI from creating an app for it’s employees, driving productivity and ROI.”
3. Doing more than you need
Am I saying that you don’t need mobile apps? Of course not. Mobile apps help all types of businesses in all sorts of ways.
If creating a mobile app (either internal or external) can help your business, you must answer a big question: Which approach do you take?
Many businesses mistakenly equate mobile apps to native apps. However, the native approach is just one of three different mobile app options. It’s also the most expensive and time consuming approach.
The reality is, most businesses don’t need native mobile applications to accomplish their goals.
Now, am I saying native apps are always bad for business? Not at all. If you need full integration with the device’s hardware, the native approach is best. If you need wide consumer distribution, or need to create highly graphical apps (like games), you’ll need the native approach.
But does every business application need this? Of course not.
For many, they simply want to give users access to data while on the road. Or, they need to give their sales team a way to check inventory and create orders from their phones. For these types of tasks, creating native mobile apps is not only the most time-consuming and expensive approach, it’s completely unnecessary.
For many, creating mobile web versions of their business apps will meet their needs just fine–at a fraction of the time and expense of native apps.
4. Moving all your applications to mobile
For many organizations, mobile is an overwhelming job. They look at all of their existing business applications, and assume they must somehow mobilize everything. It’s no wonder they get overwhelmed.
Do you really need to mobilize every business application? Not necessarily. Maybe some applications are only used internally. Maybe others are used by one or two people. While you may eventually mobilize everything, you certainly don’t need to do it all at the same time.
To start your mobile strategy, take an inventory of your applications. Which ones do employees need to access on their mobile devices? Which ones will employees never access out of the office? You’ll probably find that only a handful of apps need mobilizing right away, while the others can wait.
5. Not involving all sides
One huge mistake we commonly see: Mobile strategies are often created in one department. For instance, the IT department makes all of the decisions without involving the end users. Or, a single department decides to implement their own mobile solution–without notifying the IT department.
A successful mobile strategy must span the entire business. If a business department creates their own strategy, they may unwittingly put business data at risk. If your IT department creates a strategy without involving the users, user adoption will suffer.
“Understand the needs of your employees,” says Siobhan O’Rorke, Marketing & Communications Manager at Lookeen. “Make sure that representatives from different departments are on board to explain how users will be interacting with their mobile devices. Your employees will only use the system if it suits their needs.
Lastly, make sure your IT department is on board and fully engaged in the process. As security is always a top concern for businesses, it’s necessary to bring in IT and affected departments to find the best solution to balance company security and ease of end-user adoption.”
6. Ignoring mobile’s effect on other channels
In a past article, we explored how the growth of mobile has changed the web. In the past, the web and the mobile web were two different things. Now, it’s all the same thing–just accessed on different devices.
What does that mean for business? Don’t approach mobile as a standalone channel. Approach it as just one more piece to the puzzle, and use it to compliment your existing strategy.
“Businesses should also consider how their mobile strategy impacts other channels,” says Brandon Seymour, Beymour Consulting. “It’s really interesting when you look at how the mobile and desktop UX work together to increase conversions. Many users will use mobile during the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s cycles, and use other channels, such as desktop, or even in-store visits, to complete the decision phase. It’s important to understand how all of the pieces work together to reach your business goals.”
7. Doing a big bang approach
In the past, development took a linear approach. Developers gathered requirements, created specifications, and created an application.
With mobile development (and web development as a whole), developers need a more agile approach. As technology evolves at a quickening pace, you need a different development approach. You need an approach that lets you adapt to changing needs quickly.
“One common problem is not focusing on the agile idea of creating minimally viable experiences (“mobile-first like”), measuring how they work, refining the experience and deploying again,” says Dave Wolf, Managing Director, KPMG Digital & Mobility. “You won’t be right and failure is OK as long as you are flexible, nimble and agile.”
Now, these are just 7 mobile strategy mistakes, but the list could go on. Is there anything you would add to this list? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.
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