CIOs must develop a formal mobile strategy to match the increasing use of mobile devices and applications (including mobile websites) to foster communications between organisations and their customers, partners and employees, according to a new report by research firm Forrester.
The report, titled Mobile Is The New Face Of Engagement, predicted that one billion consumers worldwide will own a smartphone or tablet by 2016, which is expected to fuel mobile self-service via mobile apps.
According to Forrester, mobile self-service helps organisations engage with their customers, partners and employees, and “empowers” each party. For example, customers are able to interact directly with an organisation whenever and wherever they want; enable firms to instantly open their systems to partners; and allow employees to work and collaborate while on the go.
The report also predicted that by 2016, 200 million employees will bring their own devices, the mobile apps market will reach $55 billion and business expenditure on mobile projects will grow by 100 per cent.
With the penetration of smartphones and tablets growing in the enterprise, Forrester said CIOs will need to implement a three-part strategy to facilitate a fuss-free transition to a mobile environment.
- Establish the office of the chief mobility officer (CMOO) and mobile architecture team
The office of the CMOO should comprise of 10 to 30 business and technology staff, where each member should possess skills in experience design, financial planning, policy development, process analytics, program management, supplier oversight, and understanding back-end systems and middleware architectures.
The office of the CMOO, supported by a mobile architecture team, will be responsible for balancing the needs of business owners building mobile apps against the technology requirements to service those apps.
- Develop a mobile engagement guide
Forrester said the creation of a ‘mobile engagement guide’ should be top priority on a CMOO’s to-do list, aimed at facilitating mobile business projects.
According to the report, the approach to developing the guide should begin with an understanding of the tasks people do on their mobile devices; focus on the user experience and not just the interface so that apps work in real-time to create a “natural and responsive” touch; make informed choices between native and HTML5 or hybrid apps; adopt rapid-release, agile development processes; and use the “core engagement system” of a mobile app to create new business offerings, such as South African bank Absa releasing a mobile payments app.
- Create a mobile architecture blueprint
The mobile architecture team sets out the technology issues that IT must resolve for mobile apps to work, and works in conjunction with the mobile engagement guide.
The mobile architecture team would be responsible for finding new funding approaches for back-end investments from mobile project budgets as it creeps into the tens of millions of dollars. An example used in the report is the European bank, which borrowed against the mobile project budgets for 12 months to fund the capital spending.
The team would also be responsible for leading the adoption of Cloud and as-a-service solutions, which Forrester said is driven by the mobile shift.
The Forrester report warned that organisations run the risk of being plagued by disruptions if they do not implement a thorough mobile strategy across the enterprise.
These disruptions include problems in coordinating data, access and applications across multiple channels; servers and infrastructure that are unable to handle the surge in activity volumes; applications poorly constructed for user engagement; and design and development of processes misaligned with mobile requirements.
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