Mobile and wireless technology is one of the most frequently talked about areas of activity within Australia’s technology sector. The dramatic rise in smartphone use has meant that people are looking to access the same content and services, both inside and outside working hours.
Growth in the Asia Pacific smartphone market is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, and by 2015, Frost & Sullivan forecasts that 54 per cent of all devices sold in the region will be smartphones, up from only five per cent in 2009. In Australia, in the first quarter of this year smartphone penetration rose to an all time high of 48.1 per cent of new mobile device shipments and IDC is now expecting that by the end of this year, smartphones will outpace the sale of traditional mobile phones.
Understandably, the growing cost of delivering and developing content across multiple smartphones and proprietary operating systems is causing concern for CIOs. So how can we turn mobile communication from being an IT headache into a rich asset that is part of the CIO agenda? Here are five steps that CIOs can take to help deliver mobility application success.
Consider your audienceWho do you want to provide information to and what will the content look like? Would you like your customers to be able to access a service or information you provide via a mobile device? Perhaps you’d like to streamline a process for a supplier so that they can work with your company more efficiently? Internally, how many people will be using mobile devices and what information do they need to access? Do your executive managers have reporting requirements for example and can these be supported?
Consider the contentWhat information do you want to allow access to? Where is the information coming from? How many different data sources do you need to extract the information from? How is all this information going to be delivered on the smartphone and how will it look? Do you need to be able to cache information in case of coverage issues or to speed up accessing the data locally on the handset? Do you want to allow information captured to be written back into your systems? For example an insurance company might choose to take photographs from a customer’s mobile phone which can be used to start the claims process more quickly than having to go through a call centre. This may also save the insurance company money if they no longer have to provide customers with a call centre facility.
Choose your deviceThe cost of supporting different mobile devices can be expensive and takes more time when developing different applications. There are mobile development platforms that support all market leading smartphones. Pyxis Mobile is one example that works across multiple platforms, saving time and valuable resources. You therefore don’t need to ‘put all your eggs in once basket’ and choose the iPhone/iPad over a Blackberry or Android device. It’s also important to deploy functionality incrementally. Consider piloting to a limited set of users on specific mobile devices and then expanding your audience.
Measuring successIt’s one thing to develop and deploy a mobile application to market; it’s another to ensure it is and remains successful. Do you know how many people are downloading your application? Do you know what part of your application is being used? What is the percentage of iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys using your application? Can you ensure updates to the application are published quickly and effectively to your user base? It’s important that whatever application you deliver to market can be monitored and measured to ensure that you move efficiently with market trends.
Future proof your investmentThe mobile landscape is changing rapidly. Over the last 12 months there have been major upgrades to the Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Google Android platforms with more scheduled for the coming months. Therefore you need to ensure that any investment you make now to enable your staff, customers or suppliers to access your systems and content via a mobile platform can be supported in the coming years. The dramatic rise in smartphone use is an opportunity for CIOs to set the mobile agenda and gain real competitive advantage. With a little research and the right planning you can deliver a successful mobile application that not only improves communication between your staff, customers and suppliers but helps to increase productivity across the whole organisation.
John Petrovich is a mobility solutions specialist with LogicalTech.
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