Thursday, May 11, 2017

Take a Mobile First Approach to Digital Transformation Strategy

** This post is also published as a POV paper -- download it here **

It’s no secret that mobile technology is revolutionizing the way business interacts with customers. In fact, analysts such as Forrester Research argue that many businesses’ customers may never interact with them using PC or laptop again. 

In the future, researchers say mobile devices will become the centralized hub for all connected experiences. Forrester calls this phenomenon the “mobile mind shift” and notes savvy brands are rearranging their priorities to focus on making mobile engagement easier, more efficient and more appealing for smart but time-starved customers. 

Companies that fail to implement the solutions needed for a mobile-first digital transformation strategy—including mobile augmentation or extension of other channels— are about to find themselves left in the dust. 

Of course, for nimble new startups and disruptors a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is often the plan from the start. They have the advantage of fresh technology and streamlined processes aimed squarely at mobile customers. 

Conversely, established companies often find they must launch a digital transformation strategy that modernizes interaction models and supporting systems. 

Think contextual journeys, not just mobile 
Implementing a truly effective and durable digital transformation strategy isn’t achieved by thinking “mobile first” and then simply designing and building applications geared toward smartphones and tablets. 

Rather, mobile first is a perspective that can be applied to almost any customer interaction because it emphasizes contextual journeys, not just a mobile channel experience. Consequently, a key approach is research-based evaluation of the real-world journeys your customers make that focuses on increasing effective engagement every step of the way. This process will surface customers’ most desired modes and channels of communication, many times including mobile. 

Note that the mobile first perspective and resulting customer journey-centric approach is an imperative for all parts of the organization, not just IT. Each part of your organization should be actively involved in trying to understand customer needs, their pain points and their preferences for interaction. Each department must re-imagine how to engage and empower customers to accomplish their goals across channels with a priority on mobile experiences.

Creating effective mobile engagement 
After customer journeys are freshly understood—and in light of the innovative opportunities emerging technologies provide, creating effective mobile-first engagement requires making a series of incremental bets about how you can most effectively engage customers, influence their behavior and improve business outcomes. 

Organize your bets in product road maps and plan for implementing supporting technology. Plan to take a “test-learn-adapt” approach with each product release that will enable you to continually improve outcomes while also more fully engaging customers. Be sure to collect as much quantitative data as possible to provide clear insights and determine impact. 

As you continually analyze the multiple data points gleaned—customer preferences, locations, behavioral histories, time sensitivities, etc. —you can continually tweak the way you do business, solving pain points and creating the interactions and benefits most likely to delight your customers. Your entire organization must align to understand customer needs and preferences and re-imagine how you can help them reach their goals most effectively. 

Getting started 
Now making this happen requires transformation leaders have a deep understanding of your enterprise ecosystem, complex mobile product development, emerging technologies and the Agile methodologies that will preserve product flexibility while ensuring quality and responsiveness. In most cases your business will also require a significant overhaul of standard policies regarding security, privacy, compliance, legacy integration and usability. 

Magenic’s deep expertise in mobile product strategy, customer experience design, development, integration and quality assurance/testing makes us a valuable partner when it comes to envisioning and realizing your mobile-first future. Talk to us about best practices and how to avoid common pitfalls when making the turn. There’s no time to lose for companies that wish to compete in a rapidly changing mobile-first world.

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