How Mobile Strategists Help Enterprises Gain Competitive Advantage
Marty Resnick, a mobile strategist who asked that the name of his company not be used, says those are the kinds of tasks that he loves most on his job, where he is supporting about 15,000 employees and working to serve millions of consumers who connect with the business. "I call my role a mobile evangelist," he says. "I meet with CTOs, CIOs and other leaders across the organization about what they want to do and how they can use mobile technologies to do it. We get feedback from end users. When it comes to mobility there are so many things to consider and this helps us focus." In January, the company began an initiative that centers on developing business-centric mobile applications to serve employees and customers, says Resnick. "We're now seeing a shift that this is real. It's not hype anymore. Having a mobile strategist brings it all together, to really get the organization going in the right direction as opposed to multiple people going their own ways." Curt Prins, an independent mobile strategist based in Chicago who has worked as a consultant with start-ups and for large companies such as Target, says that one of the biggest mistakes businesses can make is to look at mobile as just another component inside their operations, along with data, applications and integral business processes."Companies that lag behind are going to be at a disadvantage," says Prins. To approach these issues, mobile strategists can help IT leaders look at how their employees and customers are using mobile devices and services in their own lives, as well as evaluate their own personal mobile use patterns, according to Prins. One way mobile strategists can help companies get started with their mobile strategies is by identifying and tackling small, easier-to-solve problems first before taking on more complicated tasks such as moving an ordering system to a mobile platform, he says. IT managers can identify five or six small projects that can be accomplished quickly to get employees on board with a workable agenda, he says. "Those are simple projects that can be easy wins. Don't start big. Start small and don't scale up until you see success." Companies can also "pay attention to what other industries are doing and steal their ideas" about their approaches to solving their own mobile problems, says Prins. "Maybe a mail order business wants to streamline its returns process through an add-on feature to their mobile app which already takes orders. Those kinds of steps can help a company out immensely." Gruber, of Propelics, says that it's also critical to survey your employees, managers and line of business workers early in the process to learn about the mobile tools they want and need to do their jobs. "At a high level you can start to see all of the opportunities where you can use mobile" and how they can align with the company's business objectives, he says. "Then you can see from the technical side if this is something you can do quickly or if you need a new system to support it. Now you've got an actionable punch list." Ben Hedrington, a mobile strategist who worked for Best Buy from 2002 to 2013, says that having huge percentages of online traffic is a default expectation for mobile today and that enterprises can't afford to ignore.
"Mobile is not in its own silo," says Prins. "Mobile is what connects all of the silos together. A good strategist looks ahead to how you can connect things together," such as contemplating how an Enterprise Resource Planning system can be tied in with a mobile app that lets employees connect from anywhere without having to sit in front of a computer terminal.