"Our competitor has a mobile app, so we need one too," is not a mobile strategy. A mobile strategy must be based on specific and particular business needs which are readily recognizable and for which a mobile application will provide a unique, quantifiable and qualifiable solution.
Furthermore, a mobile strategy must be the result of thoughtful and deliberate planning, not a budget surplus, nor a panic attack over being beaten to the mobile punch by a competitor.Finally, there must be a commitment from upper level management to support this mobile strategy across the organization.
Currently there is a dramatic trend among sales organizations toward the mobilization of their sales teams. This means a number of things from an application standpoint, but the move to replace sales catalogs or "look-books," etc. with mobile applications is a frequent theme in our professional services practice these days. For a sales team, printed catalogs, portfolios, and other materials have long been lugged by sales people as if they were stevedores. Mobile applications such as catalogs and brochures enable the dramatic reduction or elimination of printing costs, and add a level of green tech/sustainability to the sales process that has never existed before.
Continuing with the trend of mobile sales catalogs as the core example of this discussion, the organization and it's leadership must strategically plan the investment in mobility, and the transitional costs required to convert from a completely paper sales catalog to a fully digital, or hybrid model. There are equipment acquisition costs for the tablets devices, there are mobile service and data plans… there are software development and/or purchase and support costs, and there are ongoing printing costs all to consider. Moving from paper to digital or from any other existing hard system to a mobile digital system is a process which will require a significant investment of time and money, so it must not be undertaken with the attitude that you can order 100 iPads from Apple.com and have a fully functional mobile strategy.
Commitment. Boy, there are a lot of punchlines there. Leadership commitment to a mobile strategy, and to a mobile strategy for the organization as a whole is critical to success. This goes beyond simple fairness to pragmatic realism. The sales team may be the pilot, or the first strategic investment in mobile strategy adoption, but it must then also be the paradigm that lays the foundation for the adoption and implementation of mobile technology through the organization. A sales catalog, leads to adoption of Salesforce for example, or another CRM/ERP tool, and another app, etc. The proliferation of applications and devices then requires a Mobile Application Management solution like Apperian's EASE or a Mobile Device Management Solution like BoxTone, which enable unlimited ability to grow managed devices and applications within the enterprise.
Through identifying and resolving specific business needs through a mobile solution, a committed enterprise leadership team can turn a particularly focused solution like a mobile sales catalog into the foundation for a completely mobilized organization.