Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Avoid Landing on a Sand Trap with your Mobility Strategy

Nowadays, crafting and implementing a successful mobile strategy is an imperative for enterprises that are attempting to leverage the rapidly emerging mobile technologies to gain operational efficiencies and retain their competitive edge. 
The operative word here is ‘successful’. Fact is that today, the mobility landscape is littered with failure. Consumers delete more than 70% of the apps they install within 30 days. That is a staggering failure rate.
Success in mobility is based on a simple criterion that is not easily achieved. The key metrics for measuring success in mobility is the user adoption rate. If an app is not achieving the anticipated adoption rate within a reasonable period of time after its release then it is failing.
An ineffective strategy to revive a failing app is to continue tweaking it in an attempt to ‘fix’ it while the users are busy deleting the app from their mobile devices. It is often more cost-effective to start over and incorporate the lessons learned from a failed initiative.
Whether you are just embarking on your mobility journey or attempting to recover from a false start, it is important to be aware of the following pitfalls:
  1. Do not overload your apps with features: In mobility, simplicity is the key. The smaller screens of mobile devices lend themselves to a design that represents focused functionality. When Mark Zuckerberg redefined Facebook as a mobile company he also aptly shifted its focus by stating: “In mobile, there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose, first-class experiences.”
  2. Quality control has the last word: Mobile apps come with multitude of implementations during their lifecycle. With as few as a single revision every couple of months, mobile apps can be a quality control nightmare. An app with very good initial app store reviews may become a receptacle for vitriolic discharge by the user community within the span of single release. Unfortunately, recovering from a lapse in quality control is an uphill battle in the mobile world. So it is paramount to run a very tight ship when it comes to maintaining the mobility engagements on a successful track.
  3. Focus on quality, not quantity: We already talked about simplicity when it comes to limiting app features but the quality focus also applies to the limiting number of apps released to a manageable load and restricting the platform, form factor and OS version coverage as well. The mobile universe is in a very fragmented state now. This means that keeping a laser focus on what you want to accomplish and narrowly targeting your user base will largely diminish your chances of quality control failures in the initial release and future revisions of your apps. 
  4. Do not underestimate mobile development: There is a lot more to mobile app development that meets the eye. Unfortunately, many times the narrow scope of a mobile app implementation leads management to limit the budget and allocate resources accordingly. Mobile implementations often appear to cost a fraction of other comparable IT projects and are indeed perceived as bargains. Mobility is however; a complex endeavor and many of the failures to achieve necessary user adoption rates are due to an underestimation of the effort required in creating, deploying and maintaining mobile apps.
So, to summarize, go for simplicity, focus on quality, limit the scope and don’t be fooled by a low sticker price. The old axiom of ‘you get what you pay for’ is also aptly applicable to mobile app development. If you are promised earth-shattering success on a mobile app implementation at a bargain basement price tag, just remember, unless you possess deep insight into the mobile technology stack, you are being sold a bill of goods.

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