When a company like Yahoo! brings down the hammer on working from home, it makes you wonder. Is all of the excitement about mobile technology justified?

mobileYeah, it really is. And if you agree that mobile engagement is a good idea now, hold onto your cell phone. According to a Forrester Research report, one billion consumers will have smartphones by 2016. 350 million employees will use them for work. And the mobile app market will climb to $55 billion, pushing mobile spend to $1.3 trillion.

By 2015, business spending on mobile projects is expected to increase by 100%. If they invest wisely, companies anticipate that they can:

  • Improve customer satisfaction, stickiness, and trust
  • Serve customers at the lowest possible cost and instill in them a self-service habit
  • Increase business productivity and drive cost out of internal processes
  • Create significant new revenue sources from smart products and services

All of this may be easier said than done. In its white paper – Mobile Is The New Face of Engagement – Forrester identified some unintended consequences of this quick step to mobile nirvana. For example:

  • Coordinating data, access, and applications across multiple channels gets more complicated as firms pursue mobile engagement
  • Mobile apps will drive what Forrester calls the atomization of business processes across every engagement channel, forcing a rethink of every process interface
  • Dramatic increases in activity volumes could grind to a halt networks, middleware, and databases designed for occasionally used PC applications and networks
  • IT will also have to move beyond perimeter security to a layered security model that protects data and applications at every step on the data path, including the source
  • Platforms diversity and time-to-market requirements will dictate a slew of organizational and process changes; and vendor management skills are a must

Making the Mobile Connection

Assuming you recognize the opportunities that going mobile represent, Forrester Research makes the recommendations:

  • First — Establish the office of the Chief Mobility Office to coordinate business and technology

The chief mobility officer will manage a team that sits between business groups and IT. It coordinates all mobile business and technology projects and it acts as an incubator for emerging business technology organization.

  • Second — Develop a mobile engagement guide to facilitate mobile business projects

The purpose of the engagement guide, said Forrester, is to ensure that business and technology teams understand that mobile engagement is not business as usual. The guide should document a clear understanding of the tasks that people do on their mobile devices. It should focus on user experience, not just on the user interface.

  • Third – Create a mobile architecture blueprint to manage mobile technology investments

According to Forrester, a mobile strategy will fail if it doesn’t adhere to an architecture that explicitly links task-oriented mobile apps to engagement software, application management, and back-end systems of record. The mobile architecture blueprint lays out the technology issues that IT must resolve in order for mobile engagement apps to work. The architecture focuses more on orchestrating the work of others than building apps, but it carries a clear and important set of responsibilities.

Want more details? Register to read the Forrester Report here.