The Right Way to Mobilize Your Business

It’s a mobile world. We’ve all seen the stories about how mobile is increasing in use and importance. We’re all experiencing firsthand as well. You can’t go to a meeting, an event, or even a meal without mobile devices sitting alongside key fobs, wallets, and glasses of water.

For business owners, the question used to be, “Should my business have a mobile presence?” Now the question isn’t if, it is how?

We frequently get asked by clients how they should be leveraging mobile. The typical question centers around whether they should do a native app or a mobile web application. The answer, as you might suspect, is more complicated than the base question. Thinking about the question and the challenge of mobilizing your business in different terms can help you get to the right answer.

Let’s clear the air; mobile isn’t hard. There are just choices to make based on what is best for your business, your objectives, and your stakeholders.

For instance it might be just as important, if not more so, for your team to be leveraging mobile for increased efficiencies and to service customers better. We often think about mobile being only for external stakeholders, but, depending on your business and objectives, internal may be more important.

Vendors, technologists, marketers, essentially anyone around a space like mobile want you to believe that the mobile space is way too difficult and complicated for you to understand. However, there are a myriad of technologies and business models to accomplish the same thing.

Regardless of whether you are a retailer, a manufacturer, a restaurant, or a service company, we are all in the information business. The tricky thing about being in the information business is that you, your team, your customers, and the rest of your stakeholders need and want access to information anytime, anywhere.

All information isn’t created equal either. Information has different types, uses, and importance. There is marketing information, sales information, financial information, operational information, etc. You’re team and your stakeholders engage with different information at different times of your operational cycle on a daily basis. The result is a collision of different information needing to be delivered to and used by different stakeholders when and where they need it.

Balancing delivery of information and use by differing stakeholders is the challenge. The key to meeting your business objectives with mobile is to align your information and operation with the stakeholders that need, use, and consume your information.

Mobile technologies and delivery models such as native apps, HTML5, mobile site, responsive site, and adaptive site are execution options within a mobile strategy, not a strategy in and of themselves. Don’t be lured into thinking about execution options before you’ve looked at mobile from a strategic perspective. Your success in leveraging mobile will largely be driven by your ability to step back from the execution options and to think strategically about how you align your business objectives, stakeholders and information.

One of the ways we have found to think strategically and to create this alignment is to construct a mobile strategy matrix. The matrix gives weight and priority to your objectives, the stakeholders and your information. The matrix also designates how the information, and use of it by stakeholders, helps you achieve your objectives. Once you understand the relationship between your objectives, stakeholders and information, you can begin to assess mobile execution options because you will be able to make an informed decision about the execution requirements.

Don’t be lured by talk about a hot technology or why one mobile execution option is better than another. They all serve their purpose. You just need to use them in the manner that best supports your business.

Previous articleHow to Start a Microbrewery
Next articleOlogie gets crafty to support charity
Ryan Frederick has had the privilege of being part of starting and growing several product companies and services firms. Ryan is a Principal at the technology consulting firm AWH. Ryan has authored two books. The first on increasing the odds of success in creating products, being a Founder, and starting companies called The Founder’s Manual: A Guidebook for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur. The second, Sell Naked: And Other Advice for Growing and Managing Services Firms. Ryan speaks frequently about creating software products, solving problems through technology, and leadership.