How mobile will transform business in 2016

With my peers Julie A. Ask, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Michael Facemire, Tyler Shields, Christian Kane, Jennifer Wiseand many other analysts, we put together our thoughts in a new 2016 Mobile predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

We believe 2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.

What role does mobile play in customer obsession, and how can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Here are three ways Forrester predicts mobile will change the ways business leaders operate in 2016.

1. Mobile will act as a catalyst to transform businesses in the Age of the Customer.

Mobile is a central force in the Age of the Customer.In 2016, the gap between customer-obsessed leaders considering mobile as a catalyst for business transformation and laggards considering mobile as a stand-alone channel will widen. Among enterprises surveyed, only 18% claimed to be using mobile to transform the entire customer experience. Next year, Forrester expects that more than 25% of companies will use mobile not as a channel, but as a fully integrated part of their overall strategy.

2. The global mobile revolution – while still in its infancy – will accelerate next year.

By the end of 2016, Forrester forecasts that smartphone subscribers will represent 46% of the global population, largely driven by an accelerated adoption in Africa and Asia. Contrary to most business leaders, consumers will stop considering the mobile Internet as a scaled-down subset of the 'real' Internet. Mobile devices will become their go-to technology, even in mature economies where people can use alternative devices at home. Consumers will continue to spend most of their time in very few apps but will increasingly turn to aggregation apps and a handful of platforms such as WeChat or Facebook to get the content and services they need. Why? Because it will be more convenient to navigate a contextual stream on a single platform rather than app-hopping.

3. Mobile success will define which vendors grow or flag.

The battle for mobile moments will drive acquisitions from Internet giants and redefine the vendor landscape. Winning  customers’ mobile moments demands both context or data and ownership of those moments. Acquisitions will help the likes of Facebook and Google expand their audiences to reach new demographic segments, geographies or markets. The headlong rush to profit from the mobile mind-shift has spawned an explosion of mobile specialists and mobile opportunists, all trying to convince business and technology decision makers that they have the right approach. In 2016, the mobile bazaar will continue to grow even while consolidation occurs, especially among enterprise mobile vendors. In particular, big marketing tech vendors will invest in and automate mobile. Consumers string together a brand experience from moments that traverse channels and devices, and marketing tech stacks have to do the same. In 2016, marketing tech vendors will find themselves at an arms race to provide not just automation, but machine learning to derive insights from big data and campaign optimization. They will focus on improving data management capabilities and predictive algorithms.

In the end, a majority of firms will struggle to cope with growing mobile expectations from customers and will simply think of mobile as channel to optimize their conversion rates. However, CMOs and CIOs at companies that do incorporate mobile into their overall strategy will cooperate to execute cross channel integration of mobile across the customer life-cycle and to prioritize the integration of mobile with backend systems. This will allow them to evolve their culture, organizations and process to leapfrog competition.

Clients who want to know more can register for a Webinar to take place on December 7.