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

How many times have we heard, “There’s an app for that”? 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.

Not just an app

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 complete rethink

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.

Originally published on BPM Redux and lightly edited.

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Categories: BPM, Mobility

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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

  1. Pedro Perez-Ortiz
    November 8, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    I agree with you in terms of the quality of the “apps,” but also about the quality of the American dominated electronic tech markets, not only, in the USA but in the electronic business in the global business sphere. i had already bought at least 14 printers that have been either defective or their mechanisms cease to operate adequately and the service is so dismal that the best alternative is to buy another commercial mark. If it is American is for sure defective!!!

    • November 8, 2012 at 12:15 am #

      Pedro, as an American, I find that comment over-broad and suspect you’ve had exceptionally poor fortune with choosing printers. Money follows quality, so I’d be curious to know where you think the better value exists?

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