Last Christmas, Amazon began offering 5% discounts on products that consumers scanned with their price-check app in stores and then bought from the online retailer. This practice of "showrooming" marked the onset of Best Buy's market decline. Amazon went on the offense, leaving Best Buy to play catch-up. The latter is not the best strategy—just ask the coach of your favorite football team.
Mobility is the most disruptive tech wave ever. Six billion people have cell phones, and by 2016, an estimated 65% of those phones will be smartphones. Today's enterprise has felt the impact, to be certain. Innovators in mobility have been shown to outpace competitors in revenue growth by a factor of two, profitability by a factor of three and employee productivity by 50%. And yet, only a dismal 8% of companies can be classified as "innovators" in mobile, according to SAP/Mobiquity research data, 2012.
So why are so many companies behind? They have certainly spent plenty on mobile apps—roughly $10 billion over the last three years—but the impact of these investments has been minimal, at best. Seventy percent of these apps will be thrown into the electronic trashcan because they lack a solid mobile strategy.
Making Mobile Work
Here are five sure-fire steps for developing a winning mobile strategy.
1) Look "outside in." Companies become so entrenched in their current business models that they miss new opportunities when disruptive technologies come along. Develop a comprehensive view of emerging tech trends and their impact. Assess what competitors are offering. Look at future user needs/ behaviors.
2) Look "inside out." Companies must understand how mobile can support key business goals, which current business activities benefit from going mobile and the mobile readiness of their business and IT architecture.
3) Innovate to win. Mobility is not just about a website on a small screen. It's an opportunity to change the way you do business and interact with your customers, employees and partners. Determine how mobile will define business opportunities across the enterprise. It's important to look at what is going to help the end users and not organizational units. It's not the accounting department you should focus on, but what each individual in that department requires.
4) Build the plan. To avoid "random of acts of mobility," draw up a road map that leads to real business value, including efficiencies and strategic advantages. The plan should establish a reference architecture and mobile development life-cycle process to guide the deployment of new applications. That way, you'll know when to update existing apps or create new ones.
5) Build momentum. To get an organization behind mobility, implement several "quick wins" that produce immediate payback and momentum. While the quick wins are being deployed, "game changers," which generally take longer to get up and running, can advance to the design phase. Measure the performance and use of apps. This information is necessary for future versions and will provide insights into new services that can be offered via mobile. The strategy road map should be revisited every six months to make sure it reflects the latest external trends and user needs.
How Do You Know You're Done?
Once you have a strategy in place, ask yourself these questions:
Having a comprehensive mobile strategy will give your organization operational and strategic advantages by aligning the business, prioritizing investments, implementing sustainable processes, infrastructure and capabilities, and making your employees more productive and your customers more inclined to do business with you.
- Are you able to forecast the impact of digital and mobile on your company/market and where you can add value?
- Do you have the ability to assess your current digital/mobile initiatives to determine if they are meeting their goals?
- Can you identify what your users must have to increase productivity?
- Does it pinpoint the highest impact digital/mobile opportunities both internal and external for your business?
- Will it show and correct gaps in your IT architecture, lapses in employee performance and problems with the innovation model?
- What about planning investment decisions on emerging digital/mobile technologies to avoid being too early or too late?
- Can you present a compelling ROI/business rationale for investment in digital/mobile initiatives?
It's time you started playing offense instead of catch-up defense.