“There’s an app for that” is not a mobile strategy


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How many times have we heard that line ? As companies scramble to meet the mobile demands of the consumer the amount of poorly designed apps that hit the stores to download from recognised names is quite embarassing. Having an app to play with on a smartphone is not a mobile strategy and what’s worse is when that app is simply an interface to your existing and rather clunky website.

Mobility is an entirely different set of processes that require a shorter and more concentrated user experience on a typically smaller device. This will require real thought into just what information can be pulled from existing data already stored on the device for one, no user wants to constantly retype the same personal information into text boxes over and over or cutting and pasting between screens. Couple of examples spring to mind:

  • If you allow a payment method via PayPal for example then it’s a sleek experience to call that app into play, retrieve the customer details and complete the payment in a seamless manner. What’s a big turnoff for the mobile savvy individual now is having a call to the PayPal website clearly in a browser screen within your app and to enter your login details then complete the payment before returning to another screen.
  • Online stores that simply ape their web counterparts but disguise it with either a different search screen or worse still, have to download the entire catalogue then attempt to present it in an interactive pdf format.

The user interface and experience on a mobile process is supposed to be a leaner version of the overall business process that can be served over multiple channels but to simple copy the web experience as a quick and easy path is a big mistake. Screenflow on a website is entirely different to how it should be presented via an app as is the interface of entering the information required to complete the process itself.

This isn’t just a failing of mobile apps from consumer companies but also of system and cloud vendors who try to get into the game by designing an app that just calls information from a secured URL and again base it on a browser UI.

But this is just one side of the coin, this is the externally facing side of the organisation to the consumer. Internally it’s just as important to design your corporate mobile strategy in the same way. There are platforms that help design and management your mobile application and mobile device strategies together in unison, your workforce will undoubtably use mobile devices (and if they don’t they surely will in the next couple of years !) and they deserve the same consideration and strategy as the consumer as mobility will define how they potentially will interact with the consumer using internally developed apps, for example a mobile engineer workforce.

A mobile strategy requires a complete rethink in process design, how both the user and internal resources are expected to interface with your business this way and how you are intending to service your consumers through that interface. It’s an entire service channel experience all on it’s own, not an extension of your current web strategy.

Get it wrong, and as the term mobile suggests, the consumer’s business can easily move to a competitor who gets it. And they’ll have an app for that too.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Theo Priestley
Theo Priestley is Vice President and Chief Evangelist at Software AG, responsible for enabling the marketing and voice of the industry's leading Business Process, Big Data/ In-Memory/ Complex Event Processing, Integration and Transaction suite of platforms. Theo writes for several technology and business related sites including his own successful blog IT Redux. When he isn't evangelizing he's playing videogames, collecting comics and takes the odd photo now and then. Theo was previously an independent industry analyst and successful enterprise transformation consultant.


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