Every company knows they need to go mobile because mobile applications have the potential to put your company in a customer or employee’s pocket. They provide people with what they want where and when they need it most. However, the decisions associated with going mobile and the resulting implications are often underestimated.

The incredible potential of mobile combined with a fear of missing out or being left behind, has created a mad dash of companies who believe “going mobile” is THE answer. But without a clear understanding of what that means and how mobile can transcend an organization, these companies are setting themselves up for failure.

In order to realize the true potential of mobile engagement first consider the following mobile misconceptions:

“Mobile is a strategy.”

Many people look at mobile and see it as a stand–alone strategy. That is simply not the case. Mobile is only one piece of a much bigger puzzle. It should be thought of as a specific medium that should be incorporated into a larger strategy.

Your mobile strategy should focus on more than just a selection of devices and possible features. It should be rolled underneath your broader digital strategy to consider much more — your audience(s) and their needs, wants, and expectations — your company’s objectives and goals — your existing systems and infrastructure.

“Enterprise developers know mobile.”

Whenever people discuss how to go mobile it’s often followed by discussions of who can actually do the work – the developers. The reality is a great mobile experience comes from a unique combination of both design and development and must happen more in unison with mobile than with any other platform.

Your customers and employees’ expectations are so high for mobile experiences that you can’t just use the same development approach and team you have used for your past initiatives. There is a combination of need for great UX with an ever expanding and changing technical landscape that makes it almost impossible for traditional enterprise development staff to meet the needs of the business on mobile and existing systems without sacrificing quality.

Our approach to mobile at Cynergy includes having specialized teams of engineers who can identify the right mobile tools, platforms, and devices to solve specific mobile needs for our clients. Combining these engineers with design teams who truly understand mobile and a process for putting emphasis on user experience is our recipe for mobile success.

“Mobile has to be NOW and it has to be everything.”

In an effort to be first, or to avoid being left behind, many companies have hastily rolled out mobile offerings. Unfortunately, faster is not always better. Quite often, those quick–fix solutions wind up highlighting an organization’s problems rather than making their end users’ lives easier.

Your organization should be thinking about the entire process. It starts with a strategy and then moves toward a release. It requires learning from your customers and modifying the app based on feedback and analytics. Then you re–release...and re–release...and re–release until you own your space and meet your employee or customers’ needs. The web taught us to iterate but mobile is teaching us to evolve.

Another common problem with mobile is that many customers believe they need to move ALL of their existing applications and experiences to a mobile application ALL at once. This is not the case at all because mobile should be more about making the right tasks easy. The best mobile apps are not simple because of mobile — they are simple because the format forces you to really think about what your business should be on a smaller scale. Mobile is as much about iteration and refinement as it is about introductions. It is a long–term evolutionary process that requires constant change and attention, not a one–time effort where you drop an app into an app store and forget it.

“Mobile can stand alone.”

Part of the appeal of going mobile is transferring your users’ experience to a device that is always available, whenever and wherever they need it. But sometimes that tiny, “always on”, screen isn’t enough. Sometimes what they really need isn’t in their pocket. Unless you give your users what they really want — the ability for their mobile experience to gracefully transition between screens (desktop, tablet, TV/set–top box, phone) and to work on each as if they are all part of the same app — your mobile apps will quickly start to feel small and cheap, and will ultimately bring increasingly less value to the consumer.

By design, a mobile strategy, must truly be mobile, meaning that it can move from a large screen on a desk to a small screen in a pocket and back again in smart, intuitive ways.

Data, workflows, and experiences need to be wherever your customers need them. Ignoring this need misses the opportunity to revolutionize business that mobile provides. Seamless, interconnected experiences are becoming a norm that customers don’t just ask for, they expect.

An example of this expectation was clear when we worked with Microsoft / 343 Industries. We recently partnered with the two companies to bring Halo, the company’s multi–billion dollar science fiction video game franchise, to iOS and Android. It became almost instantly clear that if our strategy didn’t transcend beyond the mobile device, customers would be underwhelmed. Ultimately, we created an experience that connected Halo players with their own real–time stats and worked on any device — mobile, tablet, desktop, SmartGlass, and even television. We helped 343 Industries launch this experience on the same day they released Halo 4 which coincidently, became one of the biggest video entertainment release events in history.

“Mobile is easy.”

Plain and simple going mobile is not easy. Just because the word “app” is shorter than application doesn't mean that it can be any less connected to your enterprise. A real mobile strategy must consider how mobile fits into your existing legacy systems. In addition to helping to establish a service infrastructure, mobile solutions should also be designed to evolve and keep pace with the mobile revolution. New mobile platforms and updates are coming out at a staggering rate and businesses must be nimble enough to react.

Successful mobile strategy requires responsible, methodical thought about your legacy systems and overall digital strategy.

A real mobile strategy or app takes into account the industry shift from systems to peoples’ needs and environments. Just because mobile applications are called apps, does not mean they are any less valuable to your business or should take less time and care to do right.

Our suggestion to you is before you go mobile, think about mobile as one component of your digital strategy. Consider keeping your offering simple and refine it frequently. Have an eye on the future needs of your customers and how they’ll want and use information. Make decisions with your legacy systems and infrastructure in mind. And consider if your in house talent really has the chops in mobile to do it well. If you have questions or would like to talk about how your company can take advantage of going mobile – we would love to hear from you.

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