5 Steps to Transforming Business with Mobile

James Hoshor | December 7, 2015 | Mobile Strategy

Businesses are finally realizing the importance of adopting game-changing methods of engaging customers—particularly since Forrester predicted the gap between business leaders and laggards will widen in 2016—but have yet to fully grasp the 5 steps to transforming business with mobile. Leaders will increasingly use mobile to transform customer experiences and business practices. They will anticipate the needs of target users (customers and employees) and engage them at exactly the right moment with the most appropriate content and services. Doing so will not only require increased spending in infrastructure, technology, processes and technical resources, but more importantly a strategic approach aligned with business objectives.

Many clients only make the jump to mobile so they can tell the world they have an app—checking the checkbox. These companies never see the results they expected and only become frustrated by the lack of return on investment and the throngs of unhappy users.

Oftentimes a business will charge ahead and build an app without IT’s involvement, only asking for enterprise integration after the fact. Since the app platform is unknown, IT responds with a decided “no way.” So the business is forced to either work around IT using public services (not a good solution) or to forgo enterprise integration completely. Practices like these can only deliver undesired or unforeseen results such as:

  • Product or services launch delays
  • Redundant costs (e.g. development, integration, support) across the organization; the result of departments acting independent of the other.
  • Poor integration due to a lack of planning and well-defined mobile architecture.
  • Sloppy UX due to poor understanding and utilization of key mobile moments.

Those businesses that develop a Mobile Strategy with Business & IT involvement are the ones driving innovation and capitalizing on the evolution of mobile. Why does business transformation require a Mobile Strategy? Because with the continuous introduction of new devices, technologies, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, mobile is not only creating more opportunities for the enterprise, it is also creating more challenges.

Here are 5 key steps to successfully leveraging mobile in your business transformation:

1. Define your business drivers. It’s impossible to design and deliver a mobile solution if you don’t know what you are trying to solve or achieve: new market penetrations, enhanced customer experiences, increased employee productivity, improved operational efficiencies, etc. It’s also important to define a quantitative metric for each business driver (e.g. decrease processing time for claims by 30% through mobile capture of incident reports and data).

We recently worked with a large direct-sales retail organization that made the common error of assuming they knew why they were building an app. With no clear definition of their real business drivers and objectives, they invested over a million dollars in a mobile solution that delivered no return and created a lack of trust across the sales organization. This was a very costly error but demonstrates the importance of defining “why” you are delivering a mobile solution.

2. Know and understand your target users (customers and employees). Failing to know your target users is one of the main reasons businesses fail. A successful mobile solution means first knowing where and how your business engages with users. To do so, you need to identify and define each target user’s mobile moments, enabling you to deliver the right context at the right moment of time.

CVS rushed to market to compete with Walgreens only to realize they missed the mark with the delivery of their first mobile solution by not understanding what their customers wanted or needed. Recognizing this they took a step back to gain a true understanding of their target users, revamped their mobile strategy, and delivered a mobile solution that customers love.

3. Ensure your mobile readiness. While it is important to define your business drivers and target users, you shouldn’t start delivering mobile solutions until your business and technology environments are ready. You need to first determine your mobile readiness and identify and fill any gaps (e.g. security, integration layer, BYOD policies, etc.) before you can begin to successfully deliver mobile solutions on a regular basis.

Mobile engagements differ from traditional ways of doing business, requiring a reevaluation of business processes to identify potential impacts. Occasionally clients’ IT and lines of business declare their readiness to deliver and support mobile when in fact they aren’t even close.

Internal and external business processes need to be modified and/or new processes need to be created to successfully engage via mobile. From an IT perspective, many considerations need to be understood and in place—security, mobile device management, integration with systems of record are just a few. Ask Target or BlueCross BlueShield now if they were ready (hindsight being 20/20).

4. Create a Mobile Roadmap. A mobile roadmap enables you to establish a shared vision across your organization, synchronizing stakeholder expectations and prioritizing mobile opportunities. I recommend creating near-term (90-day) and short-term (12 month) roadmaps to guide your transformation and avoid unforeseen detours or challenges. Keep in mind that mobile, the market, and your business are perpetually evolving, so it is important to review and refine your mobile roadmap to ensure alignment with key business drivers.

5. Governance and continuous delivery. This is a key step many companies overlook or simplify by giving IT 100% ownership—assuming mobile is solely a technology initiative. Wrong. Mobile should not be treated as just another “IT project.” Successful mobile initiatives require continuous input and ownership from all lines of business—executive leadership, marketing, sales, product and services LOBs, HR, legal, compliance and IT. Mobile cannot be owned by a single line of business alone.

Continuous delivery of innovation and value to target users requires ongoing participation from across your organization. Business needs to establish the drivers and metrics used to measure success. IT needs to identify ways to leverage innovation to deliver market-differentiating solutions.

An easy way to see which companies ‘get it’ and which ones don’t is to look at their app store reviews. A lot of companies get great reviews and ratings (4 or 5 stars) after a mobile app’s initial release. However, ratings fall and reviews go south when companies either stop innovating or don’t manage their mobile solutions properly (e.g. performance, optimization, navigation, etc.).

So how do you avoid becoming one of these companies? Establish a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE) and governance plan. Make sure you have engaged representation from all lines of business, and meet regular to review, innovate, refine and deliver great mobile experiences.


So before you start developing any mobile applications, pause and make sure you know why, who, what, where and how you will leverage mobile in your business transformation.

Defining and following a mobile strategy ensures a successful transformation and assists in achieving desired results—increased employee productivity, enhanced customer loyalty, operational efficiencies, and market-differentiating solutions.

Propelics’ Enterprise Mobile Roadmap Kickstart will enable your enterprise to develop a true mobile strategy and roadmap. Our strategists help you visualize, define, and prioritize mobile opportunities as well as identify and mitigate any risks. The result is a Mobile Strategy and Roadmap fine-tuned for maximum business benefit and end-user adoption.

James Hoshor

James is a Senior Mobile Strategist & Solutions Architect for Propelics. He has over 20 years experience in executive leadership, strategic planning, marketing and business development in information technology. For the past 10 years James has worked with many clients across multiple industries, including financial services, insurance, retail and manufacturing, approach mobile strategically to identify and deliver solutions that result in market differentiating solutions and great user experiences.

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