Making Money With Technology

Five Mistakes That Will Derail Your Mobile Strategy

April 11, 2013

  • Alex Bratton
Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.57.53 AM
Getting mobile right the first time is critical to rolling forward a successful mobile app strategy. Big missteps up front can easily set back mobile efforts in the organization by a huge amount of time.
I’ve seen companies struggle with this time and time again and it frustrates me to no end to see them hit these pitfalls, many times knowing in advance that they are coming. The app ends up being something that users don’t care about and has no real impact for the organization. The leadership team then starts questioning the real impact of mobile and adopts a wait and see attitude.
Here are five mistakes to avoid to keep your mobile efforts moving:

1. Building the Wrong App

It’s all too typical that someone in an organization fixates on THE app that the group must start with. Very often this is a copy of a competitor’s app with the statement of they have X, we need to roll that out and more. Energy and resources are thrown at that app without others asking the simple but powerful question of ‘why?’ This leads to a nearly useless app that didn’t do anything other than get the company name in the app stores.

2. Not Engaging the Users

The leadership team may think they understand the tools the team needs, but without engaging those users directly the app falls far short of making a meaningful impact. Users are discouraged because of a perceived (and often real) divide between their needs and the vision of the management team. This sets the mindset of the end users against using mobile tools.

3. Building a Crappy App

Even if the app functionality is exactly what the users need to boost productivity, a poorly designed or built app won’t be used. User frustration with fighting the technology quickly sets in and they never bother launching the app again.

4. Treating Mobile Like Big Web

One of the strengths of mobile is the ability to make a big impact very quickly. Companies that treat a mobile project like a traditional large web system can spend months or years on an app and never get something to market. Mobile apps need to be thoughtfully considered, rolled out to end users as quickly as possible and then iteratively enhanced and streamlined to get the maximum benefit.

5. Creating Complicated Apps on Top of a Complicated Business Process

Mobile demands simplicity. Mobile also provides the opportunity to address business processes that have organically grown out of control. Creating a bloated app that doesn’t do anything well merely adds another complication to an already cumbersome business process. Creating apps that simplify the process with intuitive user interfaces that do a couple of things well provides the power to improve business processes with mobile.

Mobile technology should be used to improve lives. It has huge potential to enhance how we work and do our jobs. Organizations that focus on a successful rollout of mobile apps will enjoy big benefits while those who stumble will be stuck in low gear and continue to fall behind.