It’s time to retire the term mobile as a moniker for mere devices and apps. In the past, mobile meant smartphones. It was easy to separate “traditional” business from mobile business, and operate distinct strategies for each. But approaching business strategy and mobile strategy today as separate entities with discrete technology and tactical requirements is not only near-impossible – it’s also a competitive mistake.
The traditional business no longer exists. Rather than a device, mobile is a new technological and economic playing field, on a global scale.
Mobile as a cross-departmental, cross-organisational, and cross-regional business-driver means that enterprises must elevate mobile strategy beyond the app or device. With that in mind, below are the top three recommendations, provided by CA Technologies and BiTE Interactive, for mobile best practices that scale.
1. Approach with a platform strategy
As mobile has evolved, the term platform has come to mean not only iOS and Android, but also a larger ecosystem of integrated devices and networks. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile serves as a hub to connect to third-party ecosystems and smart devices that are redefining what it means to be a mobile-first enterprise.
Take Amazon’s Alexa, for example. Companies are building out integrations for their mobile apps to enable voice-based experiences on devices like the Alexa and other smart home hubs. When users engage with an enterprise through voice interactions on smart devices, are these experiences mobile experiences?
While they don’t take place on what we would traditionally call a mobile device, these integrations nonetheless fall under the umbrella of mobile experiences that enterprises must support to stay competitive. In the future, technology will become ‘invisible’ to the user as mobile integrations allow smartphones to become a hub through which the user can control a range of connected technologies in their homes, businesses, and even cities. Eventually, the preferred interface will likely even shift from the device to more intuitive means of interacting with technology, such as by voice.
Given this, organisations developing for today’s mobile landscape must have a platform strategy in place. Just as it is a best practice to develop applications specifically for iOS and Android (rather than developing for one and hoping it will translate to the other), it has become a best practice for mobile-first enterprises to consider how to optimise user experience across all these new connected devices and platforms. The way in which users interact with mobile technology is shifting, and a tactile mobile app interface will not translate to connected technologies of the future.
2. Evolve user experience with technology
User interactions now take place on multiple platforms, and enterprises must support feature-rich experiences on each. This means staying up to date on technologies that improve functionality without compromising key business initiatives like security and brand integrity.
Enterprises that have developed multi-platform strategies can deliver experiences that are secure and seamless. Thinking back to the Alexa example, let’s consider how mobile has evolved from a device to a cross-platform opportunity.
Through an Alexa device integrated with a mobile banking app, users can check their account balances and perform simple inquiries by voice. But say the bank wants to allow users to initiate transfers through the Alexa device. The bank must ensure the account holder is the one making the transfer and provide additional security for the transaction.
With a cross-platform strategy, once the transfer is initiated by voice, the user is prompted on his or her mobile device to input a registered biometric, such as a fingerprint or facial scan, or a one-time password to complete the transaction. The handoff is seamless and the user experience is optimised, while the bank maintains a high degree of security through biometric technology or multi-factor authentication.
This is only one example of how mobile technology can optimise user experience and security simultaneously. By developing mobile apps in tandem with new connected technologies, enterprises provide the experiences mobile users seek while maintaining internal security and governance requirements.
3. Secure from the app to the API
An enterprise app is not a standalone entity – it must connect with trusted third parties, including users, devices, and organisations. The modern mobile experiences that are enabled by IoT and cross-platform investments provide significantly improved user experiences and enable entirely new business models. But they also open the enterprise to additional points of compromise.
Enterprises integrate mobile investments with trusted third parties through application programming interfaces (APIs). Trust must be established throughout: from the device to the app to the API. This mandates that security is built in at each stage of development and is focused on each platform and integration point.
While this may seem like a daunting task, it simply entails an adjustment of mobile strategy. As mobile development has become faster through tools like software development kits (SDKs) and open APIs, enterprises can reinvest time savings from development into security. With a mobile-first approach, security is built in from the onset and can scale with new technology investments and integrations.
Consider the Alexa example again in the context of security. These technology experiences that now fall under the umbrella term ‘mobile’ simultaneously provide customers with greater choice and enterprises with the perception of reduced control. This is because connected technologies, by nature, broaden the ecosystem of data exchange and integration for mobile apps through APIs.
These additional access points mean that the enterprise must provide adequate security for data flowing both into and out of its mobile ecosystem. By designing security as not just a component but a critical function of the mobile experience, enterprises maintain control while opening data and application functionality to new mobile partners.
APIs are changing the way we develop and experience mobile technologies – which in turn requires that we redefine the term mobile altogether. If your enterprise is still thinking of mobile as smartphones-only, you are missing out on a wealth of technology-driven experiences that better serve your business and its customers.
Keeping in mind the three best practices above enables your enterprise to redefine mobile as a business driver and delight customers in new ways.