Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3]

Chief Digital Office Guide to Transforming with Mobile

The Mobile Competency Center’s mobile transformation roadmap assumes “average” stakeholder (“user”) mobile adoption and enterprise competency, but its premise is that all organizations can use mobile to transform their relationships with stakeholders. This matters because most firms have weak customer relationships, which consist of mass communications, impersonal sales transactions and cost-minimized service processes. Done right, mobile offers visionary Chief Digital Officers a rare chance to increase their relevance to customers—and boost competitiveness.

This roadmap is necessarily a broad guideline because each organization’s optimal path of initiatives and milestones will depend on numerous variables. The sequence and priority of each part of mobile transformation will depend on the mobile adoption of highest priority stakeholders, how the firm wants to connect with them and the firm’s mobile resources and expertise. Knowing these variables will enable the CDO to sequence the roadmap.

Mobile Transformation Roadmap is Part3 of The CDO Guide to Mobile for Digital Transformation.

Social Business Strategy

?Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Stage One: StrategyIn most cases, conducting a social business strategy is the first step of mobile transformation because it reveals in detail what mobile customers/clients/stakeholders (hereafter “users”) are active and where, what they are talking about most passionately, what they are doing, and what they are trying to accomplish (outcomes). It will also include a mobile current state and benchmark the organization’s/firm’s/brands (hereafter “firms”) mobile initiatives and offers against competitors and substitutes. If the firm has recently conducted a mobile benchmarking study independently, it will reuse as much of it as possible.

The social business strategy will get to the root of the matter: what is the optimal way to engage users around defined topics, workstreams and outcomes? Mobile, Web, smart devices, etc. are only means to the end. Mobile initiatives that aim to serve large audiences often fail to deliver because they try to “do mobile.” Beware of “technology-first thinking,” which has been wasting firm resources for millennia. See Part1 and Part2 for more details on this.

Key steps in a social business strategy:

  • Stakeholder analysis defines and locates specific users online, anywhere.
  • Workstream analysis defines and locates specific workstreams online, anywhere.
  • Venue analysis ranks optimal digital social venues using quantitative metrics, so you know where to get the maximum return for minimal investment (whether that’s mobile or somewhere else). At this point, the firm understands its ecosystem, where it can engage most efficiently, whether mobile, Web, in-device, in-store, etc.
  • Firm competency analysis determines, in terms of the highest priority users in the firm’s ecosystem, what the firm can contribute that will be most valuable.
  • Other ecosystem and organizational due diligence determines what the firm can deliver to the ecosystem most efficiently to get the maximum impact.
  • The strategy recommends several pilots to test and adjust itself. Pilots naturally mature into ongoing initiatives when successful and stop when they fail. Pilots are optimal irrespective of technology or platform.
  • In most cases, the strategy will include mobile pilots, which can take several forms: mobile apps, mobile data, mobile advertising, mobile commerce and smart devices.

Mobile Data Current State Assessment

?Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Stage Two: AssessmentThe social business strategy has revealed what outcomes are most important to your highest priority users. User outcomes are the touchstone to your mobile initiatives. Outcomes of the focus of Personal Individualized Experience. As discussed in Part2, mobile data can provide unique insight into users’ behaviors as they simultaneously navigate physical and virtual worlds.

Now that you know what outcomes you need to support, you evaluate what kinds of mobile data you already have, how easy is it to use and what gaps in your understanding exist, so you can design pilots to address them. One of the biggest mistakes firms make is they develop mobile data initiatives that are easiest for themselves and consider users second.

Key steps and considerations when conducting a mobile data current state assessment:

  • Although it varies significantly by firm, industry, business structure and other factors, it’s likely that you have access to significant mobile and other data. It is also likely that, if your firm has been using the data, you have been trying to sell more product to users. Very few firms understand the importance of supporting user outcomes. This means that you need to look at the data and how it’s structured in a new way.
  • Develop use cases for data, and discuss them with users in digital social venues; this will enable you to articulate and validate data types and structure before you invest in getting and working with the data.
  • Consider data you can get from your transaction systems: mcommerce purchases, mobile-related customer service, location-related warranty data,
  • Assess third party data that can support your cause: location-related reviews of products/services (Amazon, Yelp, Google…).
  • Assess channel partner mobile-related data that can support your cause.
  • Don’t overlook mobile-related data in Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other popular platforms.
  • Overall the way to approach the current state assessment is to think, “What kind of mobile data do we have, that’s reasonably easy to work with, that would help us support user outcomes in uniquely helpful ways?”
  • Again, any mobile data business intelligence and dashboards you have will likely be designed for promoting your products and minimizing your costs. They will be of limited use in supporting user outcomes.

Mobile Pilots to Create New Customer Experience

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Stage Three: PilotsPilots are small self-contained, specific projects that usually have two objectives: they test the social business strategy by real-world interactions and they rapidly build the competency of the firm’s social business teams. Most last 6-12 weeks and aim to mature into ongoing initiatives or fail fast. When the firm does pilots right, the fail rate is high; if it’s too low, they are probably too conservative and missing opportunity.

In CSRA’s experience, the social business strategy is built on robust due diligence, which significantly elevates the success rate. Every firm’s mileage varies, but one third of pilots are renewed with minimal adjustments, one third are redefined and one third fail. Remember, pilot success is determined by the firm’s ability to interact with users in meaningful ways that increase trust and commitment in the relationship. Learn more in these select pilot case studies.

Here are outlines for pilots for mobile applications, mobile data, mobile advertising, mobile sales & service and smart devices.

Mobile Application Pilots

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Pilot: Mobile Applications AppsMost firms have deployed mobile apps for iOS (Apple) and Android smartphones and tablets, but most of these apps fail to maximize the value they create for users because they try to entertain or promote. They have been developed largely without in-depth understanding of user outcomes.

The social business strategy has detailed users’ workstreams and outcomes, so now the team evaluates, based on the firm’s knowledge, whether it could support users in their outcomes by offering a mobile app. Note, this can apply equally well in B2B or B2C. Key steps in a mobile application pilot:

  • Survey existing apps that address users, workstreams and outcomes. What are the gaps in “the market” of apps that could support users? Most app makers don’t conduct in-depth analysis, so you will probably find significant gaps.
  • Consider using social networks in which you already have presences to socialize and iterate some of the ideas for the app.
  • Evaluate the data angle of various app designs; functionality will provide various types of data; how would these help you to understand and support users?
  • Write and iterate a pilot charter in which you specify goals, the development process, evaluation metrics, participant roles, pilot work processes, milestones, plan for engagement/outreach, etc.
  • Evaluate design options; when possible, design iterations and versioning, so you can progress from fast/simple to more complex. In many cases, you’ll want to bring the simplest app that will test the strategy to market.
  • When you release the app, design metrics that are grounded in how it supports users’ attainment of their outcomes, how it simplifies or makes more successful, their workstreams.
  • Think beyond smartphones and tablets, although that’s where most mainstream business and retail/consumer users are. Your firm may have brands with machines or devices that are mobile-enabled.

Mobile Data Pilots

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Pilot: Mobile DataMost firms are swimming in data of various types, but few organize and apply it to users’ lives effectively. The social business strategy has revealed workstreams that you can use to select what data to collect and dashboard, so you can empower high-priority users. Mobile data pilots are often encapsulated within mobile app pilots. Key steps in a mobile data pilot:

  • In large part, this is an optimization exercise because you want to maximize the impact you have on user outcomes while scoping the pilot as small as possible. Consider how difficult it is for you to get the data and work with it.
  • However, start with users, and first determine what data would help you support them in a unique way that resonates with the firm and its brand(s).
  • Where can you get the data? Smartphones, tablets, smart devices (cars, machines, appliances). What’s the process to obtain it and work with it?
  • Also ask yourself what big data or analytics initiatives are underway; you might be able to collaborate or get part of the data from them.
  • Consider collaboration with users to get permission to use a richer level of data by opting in and giving them a value proposition that’s focused on outcomes. An easy way to do this is to create useful and meaningful user activities or contests using geosocial apps like Foursquare; you can design these to provide specific location data to help you understand and serve users.
  • A key consideration will be designing how you will act on the data, once you have it. It is likely that you can test the strategy with part of the data that you think you need.
  • Write and iterate a pilot charter in which you specify goals, evaluation metrics, participant roles, pilot work processes, milestones, plan for engagement, etc.

Revamp Mobile Advertising

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Pilot: Mobile AdvertisingInterruptive mobile advertising is a 20th century tactic that is out of place on the small screen, but many firms continue to do it. Even worse are pop screens and apps that scrape users’ credentials for subsequent email marketing later. Interrruptive display has never worked terribly well online even though it’s been exptensively used, because interruptive is less tolerable when people are active. Interruptive ads original context was passive users who were being entertained, so their time was less valuable. People using smartphones are usually interacting intensively with the physical world, and ads often sabotage their workstreams. For more see Mobile Advertising Is Flawed.

Firms have an exciting opportunity to reinvent mobile “advertising.” The reason “interruptive” ads are so intolerable is they pit the firm against the user. The firm says, “Drop whatever you’re doing to look at this.” Really!? However, firms that conduct social business strategy, and specialize it to smartphone and tablet users, understand user workstreams (which lead to attaining outcomes). They test the workstreams in social business pilots. Then they design “ads” that empower users with those workstreams. The “ads” don’t promote the firm or its products; their principal aim is to support user workstreams. Here is an outline of the process:

  • Conduct social business strategy and refine results to focus on workstreams that are taking place on smartphones and tablets.
  • Create mobile pilots that test the mobile strategy, interact with users to verify your understanding of their workstreams and outcomes.
  • Design “ads” that provide granular bits of information that empower the workstream, and test them; again, these don’t aim to promote the firm or its products, although linking to forums, how-to pages or FAQs can be very helpful.
  • This concept can be difficult for marketing or “creative” people to understand; if so, It can be helpful to enlist some of the firm’s software designers to mentor them on software design and the role of use cases. Software uses usecases to empower users to accomplish defined tasks, so the concept is very similar. If your firm outsources ad and/or software design, have the mentoring take place between vendors.
  • By emphasizing workstreams and outcomes, I don’t mean to imply that entertainment cannot be one of them. Too many ads use entertainment because all else has lost impact. That’s the wrong motivation. By focusing on outcomes (which sometimes include entertainment), firms are aligned with users.
  • Use ad metrics to measure results, but also layer in metrics that measure social, trust and relationship.

Mobile Commerce and Service

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Pilot: Mcommerce & ServiceMcommerce is well developed at many firms, but it is too often approached as a stepchild of ecommerce. Reorienting the firm to supporting user workstreams and outcomes can make mcommerce and ecommerce more profitable. Taking mcommerce to the next level is a complex proposition, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Conduct social business strategy and refine results to focus on workstreams that are taking place on smartphones and tablets.
  • Create mobile pilots that test the mobile strategy, interact with users to verify your understanding of their workstreams and outcomes.
  • In many cases, firms pursue several pilots concurrently by launching apps, analyzing mobile and other pertinent data and tweaking their mobile advertising. Based on the results of these, they revamp their mcommerce approach. Think of it as the “back end” of mobile social interactions.
  • The social business strategy and the firm’s subsequent experimentation with supporting user workstreams and outcomes makes it relatively easy to design mcommerce product/service selections, packaging, terms and other considerations to be more relevant, thereby driving revenue and profit.
  • The wrong approach is to think of mcommerce as “another selling opportunity” when it implies not supporting users. Better is to ask, “How can we provide unique value by enabling users to buy this now/here?”
  • In many markets, mobile is the platform for accessing the Internet; however, for users that also use computers are likely to be in the habit of buying things from the computer; in those markets, firms can increase revenue and profit by asking why users would like to buy immediately and designing clickthroughs to support that context.
  • Mobile service may refer to firms in telecoms, banking, entertainment and others who think of mcommerce as a way to enable users to transact with core enterprise systems for “self-service.” They transfer money between accounts, pay bills, order tickets, etc.
  • Also see Customer Service Is the New Marketing.

Smart Devices

Mobile Transformation Roadmap [CDO Guide to Mobile Part3] Pilot: Smart DevicesAs outlined in Part1, all kinds of machines and devices are becoming “smart” when manufacturers include technology that puts them on wifi or mobile networks. As examples show, appliances, machines and control systems increasingly interact with smartphones and tablets. The firm can use this development to add value in three ways: 1) create mobile applications that interact with smart devices; 2) use smart device data to improve user outcomes in other ways; 3) use the learning from mobile projects as a feedback loop for product development. There are so many variables here that this outline is necessarily high-level:

  • Look at the social business strategy from a smart device perspective. The team asked itself, “What are the market trends in “smartening devices” that are very relevant to user outcomes?” Create a chart with smart device adoption trends.
  • Keep in mind your social business strategy has already pre-qualified users in terms of relevance to the firm’s business, so the next step is to look at the firm’s core competencies and expertise that were revealed in the social business strategy; look for connections with smart devices.
  • Obviously this is highly dependent on the firm’s business, but some examples are smart retail pricing systems, automobile systems, home theater systems, security systems, sporting goods equipment (skateboards now track movement).
  • Create pilots that either use the smart device data or interact/control the smart device with a mobile device.
  • In 2013, smart device pilots are higher risk because they imply interoperability with device control systems, which introduces significant risk. Depending on the firm’s business, though, they can add breakthrough value for users. Along with this, I recommend forgoing smart device pilots unless they impact user outcomes in unique, high-value ways.


  • It may sound simplistic, but realigning the firm with its users is revolutionary because it changes everything. I don’t mean to suggest that it is easy; although a simple concept, transforming the firm’s relationships isn’t trivial.
  • Business structures, teams, incentives and others have been designed based on several assumptions that are no longer true. Firms are necessarily competitive, but up to now, they have largely worked in isolation from their customers/users. They have been “selling to customers,” not empowering users.
  • Social business is a relatively quick and inexpensive means to understanding the hold grail for creating high trust, high commitment relationships with users. By analyzing how users really act, firms gain insight to what’s most important and valuable to users. The 20th century model was to ask customers, which was risky and had inferior results. Firms analyze real conversations, determine workstreams and outcomes and verify their understanding by interacting in-venue.
  • In 2013, the user-centric empowerment approach is differentiating; before 2020, however, it will be table stakes.

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