Mobile

10 ways to develop a mobile roadmap

Image Credit: Javelin Research

This is a guest post by mobile strategist Gene Signorini

Just 12 to 18 months ago, many organizations looked at their mobile initiatives very narrowly. Some wanted to create a very specific mobile application in one part of their business, while others sought guidance on mobility governance and policy.

In the last year, however, we’ve seen a fairly dramatic shift, with more companies seeking a comprehensive strategy that stretches across multiple business units and geographies (for both customer and employee-facing solutions), and examines the implications for IT, architecture and analytics.

If you’re just beginning to think about implementing a wide-ranging mobile strategy for your company, here are 10 things to consider.

  1. Establish mobile objectives. A good strategy should begin with a good set of objectives, and your mobile objectives should map to your overall organizational goals. This aligns mobile strategy with the business strategy, and allows you to avoid potential mobile initiatives that become mere ‘check-offs’ that don’t drive business value.
  2. Identify all potential use cases. Creating a comprehensive strategy means truly investigating all the places mobility will impact your business. Employee-facing initiatives, customer engagement, partners, connected devices, and so on. Don’t leave any stones unturned.
  3. Involve stakeholders from across the business. You can’t unearth mobile initiatives in isolation. There are good ideas to be found within your own business leadership and employees in the field. I recommend involving broader constituents in the discovery process, and encouraging ownership across the organization. This increases the chances for company-wide buy-in and success in the long-term.
  4. Incorporate the customer perspective. Too often business leaders think that they know what the best ideas are for mobility. And too often, initiatives fail because actual customers are left out of the process. If you want to design initiatives with your customer or employee in mind — then you need to include them in the discovery and design process from the start.
  5. Don’t miss innovative ideas. Many companies focus on the low-hanging fruit – initiatives easy or cheap to deploy, or that address immediate pressing needs. These quick-wins are essential for demonstrating the value of mobility, but truly innovative and transformative concepts can often suffer as a consequence. Creating a space for innovative ideas, such as a mobility lab or incubator, allows for innovation to be explored.
  6. Look outside your industry for innovation. Benchmarking against your competitors and industry is important, but there are great innovations happening in mobility across multiple sectors. Just focusing on your own industry is almost an assurance that you won’t be truly innovative. Instead you’ll just be identifying “me-too” mobile initiatives that don’t create differentiation.
  7. Prioritize – but don’t lose sight of the future vision. You can’t do everything. Mobile opportunities should be prioritized against a number of key criteria that incorporate the value to the business, user requirements, and your organization’s ability to execute. This will provide a set of actionable mobile initiatives to be incorporated into a near-term and mid-term roadmap.
  8. Don’t let bad architecture and legacy IT become an excuse. Perhaps the biggest single barrier to innovative mobile initiatives is legacy systems and architecture. Instead of doing what they’d like to do with mobility, companies do what they can do within their existing IT constraints. Mobility is not just about the great design or development of an app. Designing and implementing a flexible mobile architecture is part of the overarching strategy.
  9. Create an integrated roadmap. Your final mobile roadmap shouldn’t just be about your mobile apps. It should integrate the associated IT, architecture, governance, security, and analytics dependencies.
  10. Establish a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCOE). Responsibility for mobility doesn’t have a home in most companies. Marketing owns some of it, IT owns some of it, and other business units think they own parts of it. MCOE’s provide a coordinated structure that combines the right people, process, and technology. They will be different for every company, but an MCOE creates ownership, accountability, and clarity of the mobile strategy and roadmap. I lied. There’s actually one more. In the immortal words of Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, “this one goes to 11”:
  11. 11. Revise, revise, revise. You’ve created your integrated roadmap. You’re done. You sit back in your chair and exhale because you’ve got it all figured out. But you haven’t. Mobility is changing rapidly. New technologies emerge, business objectives change, and your mobile objectives change. A great roadmap is one that gets revisited and revised, ideally quarterly.

Gene SignoriniGene Signorini is vice president of mobile insights at Mobiquity.

Previously he was SVP of global research Yankee Group, a research and advisory company dealing with the mobile and wireless market.


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