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July, 15th 2013
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Adrian Warman in

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Mobile GLUE

Organizations starting out on the journey toward a mobile strategy often begin by developing a mobile application. Inspiration might come from an existing application; after all, it makes sense to try a mobile version of that same application, doesn’t it?

The problem is that you cannot establish a real mobility mind-set simply by making a mobile version of something you already have. Treating mobile as a “lite” way for customers to access your flagship product or service might even risk diluting that same differentiator because you are giving them something they already have but in a reduced form. And it will be reduced—it’s rare to have the same speed and capability on a mobile device as on a desktop or even a notebook device.

Developing a genuine and successful mobile strategy requires a lot of thought and effort. There are some great resources to help you at IBM MobileFirst. A key success factor is being able to understand the differences, and therefore strengths, that true mobility offers your business.

A simple phrase that might help you evaluate your ideas is mobile GLUE: Guide, Learn, Understand and Essential. These four terms can remind you of some different ways of thinking about how “going mobile” can add value to your business.

Guide

One of the best ways to learn something is by having someone show you. Even better, if you don’t grasp the idea instantly, the ideal guide patiently shows you again, as often as required.

Sometimes, it isn’t enough to be told information once. A classic example is a satellite navigation system. This simple concept succeeds best as a guide, not a training tool. You are not trying to learn a route as you commute to work. However, you might value ongoing recommendations such as a shorter or more fuel-efficient route or dynamic updates for routing you around traffic incidents.

Could your mobile application be an ever-present guide? If so, how will you ensure that it remains relevant and helpful for your customer?

Learn

For most tasks, we don’t want people guiding us all the time. We need to learn so that we can apply new skills repeatedly and without assistance. Learning is easier when we can focus on the task without interruptions.

You might consider a mobile application to help with learning how to use your products or services. But here, I’m suggesting that you might think about ensuring that your application does not get in the way of your customer’s tasks by interrupting with constant notifications. Remember those annoying desktop applications or advertisements that jump in front of whatever you are doing? Would you really want your mobile application to have the same effect on your customers?

Understand

Every connection between you and your customer is extremely important. A mobile connection is especially valuable because it’s always there affecting the relationship. It’s a relationship that can build and flourish when it works both ways—you providing a service that is valuable to your customer, and your customer valuing and seeking the help, support and direct benefits that you can offer them.

A mobile connection can improve and enhance a relationship when it is personal and specific. How will your mobile application help you understand your customer better? How will it deliver precisely what they want, when they want it and how they want it?

Essential

This is the essence of building a mobile relationship. How do you ensure that your mobile strategy enhances your customer experience in a way that no competitor and no other delivery channel can manage? In other words, how do you ensure that, through your mobile strategy, your business becomes the essential partner for your customers?

How do you go about creating a mobile strategy that sticks? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter.

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