Is It All About Mobile?

Mobile First.

Mobile Only.

Mobile seems to be in everybody’s minds these days, no? I mean, name one person in #EnSw that has not added mobile to their credentials in the past 12-18 months.

(BTW, I was one of the originators of m-CRM while I was at Gartner back in the early 2000s – we pioneered this stuff; needless to say, I know more about for far longer than most of these new “experts”… sorry, where was I?)

There are  many, many, many issues with the way we are approaching mobile – from pretending it is a new way to work in the cloud (calling it Salesforce 1 mobile development client – or something like that), to making it a new channel for communication, to thinking it is a complete different way to do things.

If we did not learn the lesson with the recent Social debacle (seriously, try to get funding for a new social X application or project at any VC or organization today) and the end result (it was, is, and will continue to be part of the infrastructure, and only the outcomes matter – in the case of Social is collaboration), let me try to address it now in a simple manner.

Mobile is an interface, nothing more.

Anything you do via mobile (interface) leverages the device it is riding on (usually a smartphone or table, even a laptop or a kiosk in some cases), bur the device is not the solution (it cannot be, there are many, many more models of iOS and Android and Windows and even RIM based devices that you can ever plan for).  If it was, your testing would be in each device to make sure (for example) that the camera works equally well.

You don’t test in each device, because you don’t need to.  You are not developing for the device (with some exceptions) but for the interface.  You make sure that the display fits the information, you make sure that the information flows you need are available in your infrastructure (including, sometimes, social channels) and that your cloud architecture will support it (if not today, in the near future – trust me on this).

If you do all that, you can master the art of mobile.  Of course, there is a lot more to come – but understanding it is an interface it is the first step.

I have been doing a lot of work with mobile over the years (I was a pioneer, remember?) and I have compiled the lessons learned in a few pieces.

I did a session with at Dreamforce last year (video included – well, more like audio over slides – below).

I am chairing an event on mobile commerce in Las Vegas today and tomorrow (link, but not sure if there is availability as it is by invitation only).

I wrote a white paper on how to master mobile customer service (an extension of the work done with Salesforce last year) with Bright Pattern.

You can download the white paper (I think you need to register for it) here.  The statement above is one of the three steps you I highlight in that white paper that will make you succeed at mobile.

Check it out, would love your comments as always – anywhere you want to provide them.

When it comes to mobile though, we are not even cracking the coconut — there is a lot more to come!

disclaimer: Salesforce is a retainer client (and it was last year as well, when I was paid to produce the content and present it).  Bright Pattern is a sponsored research client, where they subscribe to different topics and help me defray the costs of research for those topics and in exchange get content to use for their purposes.  I have no clients that produce mobile OS (mentioned above) nor do I expect to have any.  The research presented in this white paper would’ve happen anyways — but it is nice to know that I have nice clients willing to help me pay for my vices: my worst vice is research.  thanks for reading the research that I produce under that model. It is not pay for play research as, as you would see when you read it, I don’t endorse a vendor or technology – I simply present my research for free to the world thanks to my sponsors.

8 Replies to “Is It All About Mobile?”

  1. It all goes back to what you cried yourself hoarse about couple of years ago … Social the channel, mobile the interface, cloud the infra, big data the data. Mobile brings in new ways of inputting data and outputting too, but it’s an interface nonetheless.

    Of course the design folks cry hoarse about mobile first, but then it’s actually all about the Jobs. And no, I am not trying to irritate or throw yet another jargon. 🙂


    1. It is it mobile first. It is outcomes first, mobile also.

      Just because we think that everything is mobile, it use to be very thing was social and before that electronic and so forth.

      Forget the jobs, or call them outcomes to be more modern, it is about he outcomes: personalization, automation, optimization.


  2. It’s all about platform – in which I mean the right platform choice can allow you to make any interface to any device/use case as times and customer/user preferences change…right?


    1. Yes. U need the platform to drive the systems to display via mobile. But both are essential. As is information. And experiences and Analytics.
      Platforms power all the things, or most of them, but you still need the entire ecosystem to deliver value in exchange.


  3. I totally agree with the ‘outcome first’ thinking. using that perspective, mobile is unique in a couple of dimensions.

    1. Mobile has the most accurate audience data
    potential outcome for businesses: better segmentation

    2. mobile is available at the point of (human) impulse
    potential outcome for businesses: more sales


    1. I have been trying to come up with a framework for outcomes – so far i have three actions (but more should emerge as we move forward) into which we categorize them:

      Optimization (processes, interactions, actions, etc.)
      Personalization (user driven)

      I think that if we think what we are trying to do before we attempt to do it we can find the end result to be one of these three and then begin to assign use cases to these three.

      you are correct in your two use cases, for example, and i would say that outcomes for #1 is optimization, outcome for #2 is optimization and personalization (yes, more than one outcome is possible as long as you keep them in mind as you plan)


  4. I believe your work on thinking thru ‘outcomes’ is very important. as a next step, it would behoove enterprise software vendors to “hard wire” desired outcomes into the software. meaning, at a minimum the software should be aware of and monitor the desired outcomes, but the nirvana would be if the software self-optimizes (self heals) to achieve the desired outcomes.


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