What's Wrong With the Retail Mobile Mind-Set?
In this post-PC era, mobile is a business game changer. Enterprises acknowledge the need for mobile strategy, yet many of them are struggling to capitalize on the opportunities. Most enterprises need serious help in understanding and implementing mobile solutions. Existing processes are completely unsuited to meet the expectations of end-user consumers or consumerized IT end users.
Here are four fallacies that consistently stifle enterprise mobile projects:
1. Mobile is an experimental subset of features on the web. Wrong. Consumers expect all that the web has to offer and much more.
Long gone are the days when creating a mobile presentation layer for existing web services was a suitable mobile strategy. The mobile experience is completely different than a desktop experience. Consumers demand much more than what's available on the web. Innovative features like prescription refill by scan, store finder and geo-specific deals are a result of the mobile revolution and were unheard of on the web. These mobile innovations spring up from a strong CIO/CMO partnership to create brand-aware rich user experiences backed up by scalable and robust IT technologies.
Remember, the success of mobile programs is driven by consumer preferences; if the consumer isn't hooked by the user experience, he or she will move on to the next app.
2. A perfect set of services can satisfy every user experience. Wrong. Not possible. Recreating a presentation layer on mobile is futile.
A lot has happened since the browser wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer. Browsers have become more like operating systems, and a whole lot of development happens in the presentation layer. The result? A cross-platform, cross-browser application that's device agnostic. While the business logic is rendered safe in the application layer, the web services are specialized to different user experiences, and coupled with the client-side programming, create deep user experiences.
3. Pick a winner: native or hybrid. Wrong. Embrace the fact that both are going to stay and choose your best fit.
CIOs sweat their lives in choosing the native or hybrid nature of the app and spend hours weighing the benefits of one over the other. One CIO told me last year that native was the future, while early this year he put his bet on hybrid apps. Recently, Facebook created ripples in the industry by launching a native app. The truth is native and hybrid experiences will coexist to serve the optimal customer experience.
4. Use existing architecture models. Wrong. What's "possible" is changing every day.
A new presentation layer will arise that's as agile as the world we live in. The presentation layer is getting more powerful, smarter and adaptable to the needs of end consumers. Using traditional three-tier architecture for your mobile program can paralyze the program and leave your IT architecture handicapped.
Traditionally, client-side programming is considered "making things pretty," but with the splurge of powerful front-end technologies and platforms, enterprises can develop future-proof omnichannel-friendly architectures that help them win in today's market and tomorrow's.
Mukund Balasubramanian is founder and CTO of Photon, a cloud-to-consumer user experience firm that mobile-enables many of the top brands.