Q: What are the biggest challenges for businesses that want to adapt a new mobile strategy?
A: There are clear reasons why companies should be focusing on the development of a mobile strategy. As we saw in the early days of the Internet and e-commerce, many companies start by undertaking lots of individual, often disconnected initiatives, resulting in numerous fragmented and uncoordinated efforts. This lack of integration with existing processes and infrastructure often causes confusion and poor utilization of limited resources.
It's easy for individual business units to develop and release their own mobile apps. More challenging is developing a cohesive, coherent mobile strategy that identifies the coordination necessary to scale and take advantage of mobility at a corporate level.
Q: As employees increasingly use their personal mobile devices for work, what important security measures should businesses be aware of?
A: For years, organizations have provided the technologies that people used to get their jobs done. The company controlled who could access which information. It controlled the types of applications that could be downloaded to the device and it controlled which devices could access the corporate network.
Bring your own device (BYOD) puts new pressures on corporations to think differently about aspects of security that were once firmly within their control. For example, because an employee owns the device, the organization has little to no control over the applications and information stored on the device. Imagine what could happen if the device were lost or stolen with sensitive data on it, or if the personal applications on the device introduced viruses or malware into the corporate environment.
The answer isn't to put everything under lock and key because that would limit the functionality of the devices, ultimately compromising the benefits that a BYOD program is designed to deliver. Instead, companies need to allow employees to access corporate assets, but they need to do so in a way that provides some control. One example would be to limit access to certain information based on an employee’s title or line of business. Another example would be to implement software that allows the company to detect when an employee-owned device is out of compliance with corporate policy and to take corrective action. Finally, in the event that an employee-owned device is lost or stolen, the organization needs a plan to be able to remotely wipe company data from the device.
Q: Some experts says we are now in the “second wave of the mobile revolution.” What is the second wave?
A: The inflection point we are at with mobile mimics what we saw with the Internet 15 years ago. Just as the focus in the early days of the Internet was centered on the browsers and the dotcom companies, today's focus has been rather narrowly on mobile devices and apps. Just as the Internet transformed industries such as banking, travel and healthcare, so will mobile. We are entering into the second wave of the mobile revolution. Over the next three to five years, the most cutting-edge advances in mobile will have next to nothing to do with the device, but instead what you do with them.
Q: How are businesses today using mobile to drive growth and ROI?
A: Mobile technology has fundamentally changed the way that organizations do business. Results of the new study, "The 'Upwardly Mobile' Enterprise: Setting the Strategic Agenda," conducted by IBM's Institute of Business Value and Oxford Economics, found that business leaders use mobile technologies in three ways to drive business growth and ROI. They use mobile to change the way that they develop new products and services. They use mobile to redefine the ways that they collaborate with partners, customers and other stakeholders. They use mobile, in some cases, to enter entirely new industries. Examples might include an automobile manufacturer who uses mobile to extend into the rental car industry. Another example might be a grocer who uses mobile to sell products beyond their traditional brick and mortar locations.
Q: What are some of the larger mobile trends being adopted by businesses?
A: We know that mobile users are "attention starved," often flipping between one app and another or between their mobile, desktop web or phone. Companies are increasingly thinking about how mobile works in concert with web, call center, and face-to-face interactions so that they don't lose people in a clumsy transition across various touch points. To keep people interested and engaged and to take advantage of the very personal nature of mobile, companies are increasingly using push technologies to proactively alert users to new content and offers that could be interesting to them based on their buying history and personal profile.
Companies are really starting to look at the "science" behind mobile engagement by exploring the intersection of mobile and Big Data analytics. They are asking "where do users struggle?" and "what obstacles exist in my mobile app that are frustrating people and preventing them from taking the action that they want to take?" It is one thing to engage someone and to get them to agree to come to your mobile site or app, but if they can't do what they need to do once they get there, you'll lose them. Sometimes forever.
Finally, as mobile device adoption accelerates and as people are increasingly using their mobile devices for transacatoin, criminal activity is not far behind. Criminals are taking advantage of less-robust fraud prevention technologies to execute fraudulent transactions from a mobile device. Because mobile 2.0 is about what people can do with their devices, or the transactions they can complete, transaction-level security is starting to become a key area of focus.
Q: As consumers spend more time with their mobile devices, how should businesses adapt their approach to reaching this on-the-go audience?
A: There is little doubt that consumer adoption of mobile products and services is continuing to grow exponentially. These users will not forgive you for omitting functionality on mobile that they can access via other channels. As a result, companies have to rethink the user experience, from the presentation of data to the interaction patterns required to manage an application. Touch and sound become integral parts of the mobile experience; portability and bandwidth influence a user experience that can change in different settings and contexts.
The requirement to provide users with continuity of transactions across multiple channels further complicates matters. Mobile design, development and integration efforts need to take into account the larger picture of how and where customer interactions are taking place (mobile and otherwise), how customers will navigate through Web sites and apps, and how the company can evaluate the overall customer experience. Movement across devices needs to be seamless, with data and transactions being preserved as end users move between smartphones, tablets, televisions and wearable devices.