Why do you need a mobile strategy?

Since I will be writing about mobile strategy in this blog I suppose it’s a good idea for me to define what I mean by a mobile Strategy and also why I believe it’s important to have one.

Mobile strategy is a very broad term and it can be anything from one sentence stating that nothing or everything should be done mobile or a McKinsey style 2000 page strategy document. Usually it’s something in between. The big difference between having a strategy and not having one (even if it’s just one sentence) is that you are considering mobile as a part of your overall strategy and that’s an important step. Below I have detailed the main reasons I see for having a mobile strategy:

1.    Makes sure your mobile services support the overall goals of the business

This should of cause be a no brainer but it’s not since almost everyone with a budget owns a smartphone and consider himself or herself a fairly good app designer. To many companies put apps out there without proper analysis and planning and that can (and most likely will) hurt in so many ways. (More about this in coming posts about how to do strategy work.)

2.    Makes sure that mobility actually adds value to the intended users

Again this should be a no brainer but sometimes it seems that making something mobile is considered a value in itself. When creating a mobile strategy you have to consider why you go mobile and what you mobilize.

3.    Makes sure that you are doing things in the right order

When creating a mobile strategy you don’t just look at one specific service instead you generally create some kind of roadmap. The benefit of creating a roadmap is that it will give you indications about recurring technical challenges, maintenance needs, support needs etc. Based on this information, evaluating MDM (Mobile Device Management) platforms or doing a POC on responsive web might be more important than creating a time reporting app for iPhone? Or not, but at least you have based your decision on the over all picture.

4.    Makes sure that the technical and architectural choices are thought trough

Again, given that you work with a roadmap you can see general needs that seems unimportant when looking at a specific solution. One app does not justify a MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platform) but several, custom built, enterprise apps probably do. If you target only one platform e.g. iPhone to start off with and don’t take into account what happens when you need to support other platforms you are likely to take some technical shortcuts.

5.    Makes sure that the cost is kept to a minimum both short term and long term

In general it’s not hard to be cost conscious when starting up a project but for some reason some (or actually a lot of) people tend to think that old rules for creating and introducing software don’t apply when going mobile.  When buying an app from a vendor, things like maintenance, support, test etc. is not always considered and therefor up to 80% of the actual cost is excluded.  Also if you don’t have a roadmap it’s hard to motivate investments and changes that will pay off when you run your third or fourth mobile project or support more than one platform. The result could be that you will have to put in the same effort every time you do a mobile project when it preferably should decrease over time. You also risk that the effort you have to put into testing and maintenance will increase almost exponentially when introducing new apps.

6.    Makes sure that your mobile solutions are future proof

When creating mobile solutions, weather you target consumers, partners or employees, you are shooting at a moving target. Platforms will come and go and the demand for improvements and support for more functionality will be constant. It’s hard to guess the long term but you should at least think a few years ahead and plan for change. 

So now you know why I think it’s important to have a mobile strategy. I hope you, dear reader, found this interesting or helpful and don’t hesitate to give feedback or strike up a conversation in the comments field.

Thank you for your time!

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