The 6 Basics of a Mobile Strategy

By  Sravish Sridhar, CEO, Kinvey — June 01, 2014

According to Gartner, mobile technology was the No. 2 priority for CIOs last year, trailing only behind analytics and business intelligence solutions. Oddly enough, this recognition of mobile’s impact hasn’t resulted in strategy development across enterprises.
 
While organizations are beginning to move up the maturity curve in terms of mobile, they too often fail to create holistic mobile strategies that reflect the structure and business processes of their organization.
 
The reality is that, despite the time and money enterprises are investing in mobile, forging ahead without a strategy is risky and prevents businesses from being competitive —much less transformative — when it comes to mobility.
 
Without a plan for implementation and scale, organizations face significant immediate and long-term risks, including delays, redundant costs, poor integration and, perhaps worst of all, bad mobile experiences for employees and consumers. Before taking the first step to create a mobile strategy, an organization must address these six critical areas.

  1. Organize for mobile within the organization: Enterprises have not created the cross-functional teams to properly advance mobile. Analysts and research have been calling for the Center of Excellence model, which brings together representatives from the business, human resources, finance, legal, and IT departments to collaborate and factor the role of mobile into core business objectives. At the heart of each of these strategies is employee-centricity — keeping workers top-of-mind when it comes to strategy development. This means cultivating a deep understanding of how employees can benefit from mobile. 

  1. Move quickly and establish scale: Everyone knows that moving quickly is important in today’s fast-paced world. At the same time, most successful organizations strive for a balance of speed and carefully considered strategic initiatives, which often means a wait-and-see approach is best. As enterprises move along the maturity model, they are facing questions of not only remaining competitive, but also becoming “transformative” – at the most basic level, creating apps for the workplace that address marketing and productivity. Moving forward, these workplace apps will need to contribute to overall business processes improvement and cost reduction. While speed can often be an asset, in these cases it is sometimes a detriment, particularly when transformative apps require an overarching mobile strategy.
 
  1. Support BYOD  and measure security and costs: For companies that support BYOD, some important questions include: What devices are supported and how is this communicated to employees? What security processes are needed? What’s the reimbursement policy, and will this save the company money? The expectations for privacy should be clear on both sides, balancing the employees’ rights against the company’s. There are multiple hidden costs associated with BYOD too, such as security, management and data loss. While this doesn’t amount to an argument against it, it does prove wrong the over-simplified argument that BYOD is all about pushing costs of mobility onto your employee. 
 
  1. Choose whether to COPE: COPE, a new approach rivaling BYOD, mean corporate owned personally enabled. Here’s how it works: the company provides the employee with the mobile device of his or her choice. Then, it allows employees to have their own personal apps and data on their work device, flipping the script on the security issues of BYOD. It is unclear how viable COPE is as an applicable widespread policy – but it is perhaps worth testing with a subset of employees, or as part of a comprehensive mobile strategy.
 
  1. Determine whether to establish a corporate  app store: Some pros include fewer security risks, cost-saving procurement practices, and more granular control over app versions. Opening enterprise app stores can prompt competition among development teams to deliver effective and popular apps, giving access to smaller development shops within the organization. This won’t be a good fit for every organization, but an enterprise app store puts the company in the role of curator, not dictator. 
 
  1. Don’t forget the backend: When developing a mobile strategy, the focus is often placed on the design and user experience. The reality is that a mobile strategy without a strong backend is incomplete. It could be argued that the mobile backend is the unsung hero of a cohesive, future-proofed mobile strategy: it not only ensures seamless integration to all IT functions and business processes, but it also saves significantly on your team’s time, budget and resources.
 

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