Mobile // Mobile Business
Commentary
1/7/2014
09:06 AM
Michael Gilfix
Michael Gilfix
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

3 Mobile Strategy Priorities For 2014

Fewer than half of all enterprises have clear mobile strategies in place, IBM research finds.

Few technologies have transformed human behavior as quickly as mobile. In fact, mobility is no longer just considered pervasive, it is now the first point of contact between individuals and organizations, with 91% of users keeping their mobile device within arm's reach 100% of the time.

But it's not just about the device. By 2020, the top five connected apps will be: the connected car, clinical (medical) remote monitoring, assisted living, home and building security, and pay-as-you-drive insurance.

Organizations looking to fully embrace mobility to better compete in 2014 are increasingly focused on developing mobile strategies to help engage, inform, and forge new opportunities with customers, partners, and employees. This commitment to mobility was reinforced by a recent study from the IBM Institute for Business Value on the mobile enterprise that found 90% of global organizations are planning to sustain or increase their investment in mobile technologies during the next 12 to 18 months.

While investments in mobility are increasing, most organizations have work to do in order to become a mobile leader. In fact, the same IBM study found that less than half of organizations have well-defined mobile strategies in place. Following are three key business and IT areas that should be prioritized for "mobile first" organizations in 2014.

Turning data into insights
Five petabytes of data are generated every day by mobile phone subscribers -- the equivalent of 100 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with paper. That's a renewable supply of valuable insights for businesses. However, the challenge of accessing data to gain usable analysis and insights isn't just about volume, it's also about harnessing the mobile-specific data integrated into existing systems and business processes, and, ultimately, about improving outcomes at every moment.

On the path to becoming a mobile leader, organizations must work to create interoperability with other systems, leverage APIs for external or cloud-provided data services, and share information among systems and devices. Insights from mobile data will become more accessible and more easily analyzed in the coming year in order to help organizations unlock new customer interactions and opportunities.

For executives and other key decision makers who frequently work outside the office, making it less complex to apply the underlying data gathered from mobile transactions and interactions paves the way to easing real-time decision making about things like inventory, supply chain, and more.

Beyond combining user preferences and contextual data to be able to better serve up real-time or next best offers to customers, retailers, and other services providers with more mature mobile strategies will be able to incorporate machine-to-machine and sensor-based data into their overall mobile strategies. These advanced capabilities can enable them to track shopping patterns and more effectively match staffing needs with customer demands. Ultimately, mobile device data and insights will not only improve customer experiences, but also enable retailers to identify new revenue streams and business models.

The art of designing for mobile
Historically, designing for mobile simply meant modifying existing desktop applications or websites to be accessed on a mobile device. Mobile users expect more -- a more customized and constantly improving experience. For developers, that could range from the creation of role-specific apps and adapting the presentation of data based on interaction patterns, to incorporating touch and sound to further differentiate and define user experiences.

The new "art" of mobile app development not only needs to be rapid and iterative -- but also cognizant of design, functionality, and the user experience. This often begins with understanding the business processes required to engage and interact with customers. For example, consider that 27% of companies worldwide planned to implement location-based marketing in 2013. What does that mean from an app design and capability standpoint? Can you effectively utilize push notifications? Can you customize offers based on context? These are just a few of the considerations organizations need to take into account for their app development strategies in the coming year.

Travel and transportation is one industry that has embraced designing for mobile. For example, one airline developed an app that was designed to integrate front-end and back-end systems, allowing customers to check flight status, check-in early, and download their boarding pass. While many airlines offer this type of service, this airline has gone one step further by making information available in real-time to both customers and agents, making it easier for agents to help and direct passengers.

Focus on secure transactions
We're already seeing mobility evolve from supporting interactions to driving transactions. In fact, mobile transactions are at the center of an ever-growing network of 1.9 billion Internet-connected devices. For organizations, that opens up great opportunities -- and risk. For example, with the rise of the mobile worker and bring your own device (BYOD) adoption, consider all the transactions an employee can complete using a mobile device. Those transactions can range from checking email, calendar, or accessing a sales force automation system, to enrolling in health benefits, submitting an expense report, or even sharing licensing details or intellectual property. Those transactions become more risky when they involve outside parties, like partners or customers. 

By taking steps to protect at every layer -- devices, apps, data, and the network -- organizations better benefit from the productivity benefits of BYOD strategies, with greater confidence. One area to focus efforts is developing policies and guidelines, which can be reinforced by technology, to protect sensitive information by keeping personal data separate from enterprise data.

Organizations with more mature mobile strategies can take that privacy and security balance further by better customizing employees' mobile experiences. For example, some organizations have developed internal "app stores" that can be configured based on functions and job roles. Increasingly, mobile devices will also need to be managed more like other corporate assets, but with special considerations such as shorter replacement cycles and more frequent software updates.

2014 and beyond
In order to become a mobile strategy leader, organizations must continue to evolve their mobile strategies to accommodate for new data, design and security requirements that extend beyond the device. And, to compete, they must learn to use the mobile data being generated by users, devices, networks and physical environments to transform existing processes and make them more intelligent. 

Michael Gilfix, Director, Enterprise Mobile Platform & Analytics, IBM, has business and product management responsibility for mobile application, data, and analytics technology software products. He has played a wide range of roles in the past, including Integration Executive for the Worklight acquisition, Business Unit Executive for worldwide business development for Business Process Optimization solutions, and managing a product management team for Business Process Management & SOA integration

IT is turbocharging BYOD, but mobile security practices lag behind the growing risk. Also in the Mobile Security issue of InformationWeek: These seven factors are shaping the future of identity as we transition to a digital world. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
bunnylewis
50%
50%
bunnylewis,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/10/2014 | 5:16:57 AM
Mobile strategy
I got my website updated from the Web Designers in Miami. They have used NetroCMS platform for responsive design. This has helped increase the browsers to my website thus converting to leads. So the latest mobile strategies work very well for both the business and the customer.
Suparna Rao
50%
50%
Suparna Rao,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/8/2014 | 10:06:49 PM
Data..
Very true ! It will be an explosion of data as more and more consumers become smartphone savvy and take to their devices to research, shop and share their experiences. Enterprises must make it their priority to get actionable insights out of all this valuable data..

Business Solution Analyst | www.boston-technology.com
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/7/2014 | 4:25:26 PM
Re: it has the potential!
Designing for mobile is a must. Ease of use translates into actual app usage.
Stratustician
50%
50%
Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 2:29:49 PM
Security Security Security!
As a security folk, I can't help but weigh in about the importance of transitioning security policies to reflect how data is going to be accessed.  Currently most policies are designed to prevent access while data is used centrally, so suddenly accessing data, especially if it is cloud resident, will prove to be a bit of work for the security folks.  This is why we see both vendor solutions that protect the actual mobile devices themselves (such as creating virtual instances on the device which are corporately controlled), or solutions which allow for tagging the data itself so the policies attached to each file would dictate how it is used.
gmtrmt
50%
50%
gmtrmt,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2014 | 10:17:43 AM
it has the potential!
E-Consultancy.com did some research suggestin that having a responsive mobile friendly web design would deliver up to 100% more sales. If thats not reason enough to stick your toe in the water and at least make your website scalable then i dont know what is.
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.