How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?

How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?

To help consumer product strategists and executives answer this question and benchmark their mobile consumer strategy, Forrester fielded a Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey in Q3 2010. We interviewed more than 200 executives in charge of their company’s mobile strategy across the globe (40% in the US, 40% in Europe, and 20% in the rest of the world).

First, only a third of respondents said that they had had a mobile strategy in place for more than a year. Companies in this situation are from many different industries, but online players, media companies, and financial institutions are often more advanced. Forty-five percent of respondents are just waking up to the mobile opportunity and thinking about integrating mobile into their overall corporate strategy — just like they did a decade ago with the emerging online channel.

For the majority of respondents, mobile is mainly seen as a way to increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. Mobile is less useful as a way to acquire customers and generate direct revenues — just 2% expect to generate more than $10 million in mobile revenues for 2010. While companies are assigning clear objectives to the emerging mobile platform, 23% of respondents still consider their primary objective with mobile to be to “test and learn.”

Consequently, the commitment to and resources for mobile are still limited. Responsibility for mobile consumer strategy varies greatly by organization. However, a quarter of respondents told us that top management executives were responsible for mobile strategy in their companies. While these senior execs do not necessarily need to own the mobile consumer strategy, they do need to be more involved to ensure that mobile gets the right level of funding. It is thus no surprise that some 46% of our survey respondents reported that one or fewer employees work full time for their company’s mobile efforts globally!

Among companies that have a strategy in place, many are making an effort to establish a collaborative and qualitative vision for mobile in the future. However, mobile remains too siloed: Just 45% of our respondents with a mobile strategy in place stated that they have a shared mobile vision across the organization, while only 44% have created a mobile task force to agree on mobile objectives. This highlights the lack of a holistic mobile vision and the lack of collaboration between various departments — from IT and technology to marketing and strategy. The majority of players still fail to quantify precise objectives, allocate costs, or measure the overall success of their mobile business.

Bear with me one second. I fully agree that mobile is an emerging platform and that, for example, mobile advertising and mCommerce revenues are still limited — and likely to remain insignificant for the majority of firms in the months to come. However, I do believe that mobile is opening up plenty of new opportunities beyond direct revenues. I was surprised to see the lack of integration of mobile into companies’ broader corporate strategies.

Many players who think it is too early to focus on mobile tend to claim that they first need to fix the basics regarding their overall digital and social initiatives. While this would seem to make a lot of sense, one should bear in mind how quickly mobile is evolving. For example, Facebook’s mobile global monthly audiences skyrocketed from 65 million users in September 2009 to 150 million users in July 2010. Sixteen percent of Twitter users now start with mobile, versus 5% in April 2010; during the same time frame, the number of mobile Twitter users has increased by 62%. In short, it will be increasingly difficult to plan a Social Computing strategy without taking a mobile component into account.

The detailed findings of our survey are available to clients in a new report “How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?” Forrester will shortly produce a mobile maturity model to help strategists improve the performance and integration of the emerging mobile platform.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on what makes a good mobile strategy, which players you think are the most advanced, and why. Feel free to comment on this blog or to join our debate in the Forrester Community For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals.

@Thomas_Husson

Comments

I think the reason

I think the reason organizations aren't focusing on it is because if the big issues around mobile security. How do you secure so many different types of mobile devices? in the old days, you only had PC's/windows machines to worry about. Now, it's iPads, iPhones, Android devices and it's only going to get more complex with time. I think the security issues need to be addressed (with new or innovative products) for organizations to really grasp onto the opportunities mobility presents.

Security is certainly an

Security is certainly an issue with any new technology that comes into play. It is a basic requirement for any network. We've been noticing a mobile workforce trend and the need to use any wireless device (iPhone, Android, Tablet, etc...) from anywhere, while connecting to business-critical data. Cisco Systems has now released a secure mobile client, AnyConnect. This new app allows mobile workers to securely access corporate data using a mobile device, while maintaining compliance with security policies that are in place, as well. The enterprise seem to be adopting this concept much faster but it is truly a benefit for any size organization.

Security is one of the issues for IT mobile strategies

Dear Philip and Reena. Thanks for your comments.

This report was more particurlary focused on mobile consumer strategies but you're right to point out that rolling out a mobile fleet internally is challenging because of the perceived and real security threats.

My colleagues in the IT department have written extensively about this and I'll invite you to have a look a this great report from my colleague Andrew Jacquith: Security in the post PC-era: http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/security_in_post-pc_era_controlled_...
We have a lot more research using our Workforce Technographics tool to design empowered mobile strategies.

The real challenge is to bridge the IT and marketing worlds to make sure employees are empowered to serve their increasingly mobile clients

Do you need a mobile, or cross channel strategy?

As a mobile and cross channel marketing software vendor, I appreciate the following excerpt having seen this happen in a variety of our customers and prospects:

"...it will be increasingly difficult to plan a Social Computing strategy without taking a mobile component into account."

I sense a bit of danger to widespread adoption unless execs keep their eyes on the cross channel problem. I just attended a mobile commerce conference here in Chicago, and heard from a category of analysts covering e-commerce, which I know are apart from analysts and influencers aligned to mobile specifically and more recently cross channel (as in Forrester in particular).

With mobile overlapping so many segments, confusion can reign unless you take the view of mobile as a channel unto itself, not really a technology like SMS or mobile apps. That way, you view mobile like a line of business and manage it as such, which I think cuts thru the confusion pretty well.

A good mobile strategy is a long-term mobile strategy

Thomas – a good mobile strategy is a long-term mobile strategy. While it’s clear from your report that many companies are only just beginning to think about mobile, a long-term plan is the key to cutting down development time, optimizing budget, and ensuring that a mobile strategy can be sustained and produce significant ROI. I work for Kony Solutions, a mobile application platform provider, and regardless of if clients choose to create a big splash by launching several mobile initiatives, or if they have a lengthier roll out across channels, a long-term mobile strategy is still the best way to optimize a mobile budget, eliminate a lag in time to market, and cut out unexpected costs (including additional development and maintenance costs).

A Long-term cross channel vision

Dear Jib and John. I think indeed mobile has to be integrated as part of a longer term cross channel vision. Too many players are still thinking about it in siloed and near term approach. That's exactly what the survey shows and why we do believe it is time to anticipating the next steps

Smart companies are way ahead in mobile

The really smart companies (service providers like Google and B2Cs like Coca Cola and ESPN) are already "lapping" competitors in mobile.

65% of 18 - 29 year olds in the US are accessing the internet using mobile, as are 38% of adults of all ages. If you're going to market digitally, you must attack mobile immediately. If you don't, you will continue to hunker in the starting blocks, watching the competition lap you one more time.

Maturity Model for Mobility

I just came this post and which mentions that Forrester is in the process of creating a Mobile Maturity Model. As mentioned in my blog http://nitivaish.wordpress.com, along the same lines I have created a 'Mobile, Social and Digital Maturity Model’. The blog discusses that brands need to create an integrated and holistic digital strategy across multiple customer touchpoints which tie back to business goals. Mobility is one of the several dimensions that needs to be considered while assessing a brand's mobile /social / digital maturity together with other dimensions such as business intelligence and web analytics, user generated content (UGC) / Social Media, User Experience (UX), Information Architecture (IA) etc.

In the complex and dynamic

In the complex and dynamic environment of mobile, a mobile strategy is a must, but only a few are really understanding the mechanics. There is obviously a lot of hype, thus non experienced specialized are not to blame, but rather a sensitive stand on todays development is necessary to win the race of tomorrow.

Mobile strategy II

What we can well see is that companies with vertical strategies had a fast start, but in the mid and long-run, it seems that the Android platform is gaining ground very quickly. But a mobile strategy is not only for tech-companies. Every company needs one b/c the component IT and mobile is accessing any business. Mobile and IT is redefining all business. Read more in a white paper under http://www.mobileman.com about the transformation of Mobile-IT in the life-sciences sector.