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Launching mobile commerce within an organization requires a sound Mobile Strategy and a well-defined roadmap to ensure the right items are prioritized and that actionable results can be quickly obtained.
There are so many options – both technical and business based – that it is important to step back, look the business and marketing strategy, and to determine how mobile fits in at the strategic level.
On the technical side, core ecommerce and marketing services such as content merchandising and discovery, checkout and payment, and content delivery can be provided to traditional desktops, as well as new devices like smartphones, tablets, TV’s and BlueRay players through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The API’s standardize the interfaces which apps, sites or products need to access, simplifying integration and providing common tools and technologies which are scalable and well documented.
One the business side, understanding core organizational Vision and Objectives for Mobile, as well as having a business value prioritized roadmap establishes guidelines to be used when making detailed scope / process decisions. Recommendations from the Mobile Strategy will guide implementation and help to avoid pitfalls as well as forming a point of reference to evaluate detailed priorities against. Mobile roadmaps that are well communicated and aligned with other priorities across the organization are more actionable, and will be supported by the many stakeholders and team members who need to provide resources and decision making inputs during implementation.
Before diving to deeply into the functional needs of the Mobile implementation, it’s key to get a solid understanding of the Vision and Objectives. This diagram shows a high level summary of the key things to be considered:
Here is an overview of each of the components which together help shape the Vision and Objectives:
Establishing well defined Vision and a clear list of easily consumed Objectives which embodies the information collected in the items above. This is the key to starting off your Mobile Strategy with a consistent understanding across all of the stakeholders.
Once a clear definition of the Vision and Objectives is established, diving deeper into the mobile-specific requirements / needs for the project can be initiated. The following diagram outlines the key areas to ensure focus on while defining the Mobile Strategy, in preparation for Implementation and Optimization:
Note that each of the items above is a key component to mobile commerce, though in many cases the mobile specific requirements are shared across multiple other touch points including web sites/portals and interfaces to other systems which are customer facing.
To get started, most organizations are working through a big-picture strategy, then aligning the many priorities which come out of the planning exercise into 2 stages. The first stage is the initial launch and must have functionality. The second stage is a set of roadmap items which are required following the initial launch. The Strategy will allow for a value of each item to be determined, to ensure that priorities are based on both business and IT requirements and that the biggest return items are enabled first.
For organizations where mobile is still all new, it is recommended that the initial phase of their projects includes an initial mobile-optimized web site. Once a basic mobile-optimized/targeted site is in place, additional efforts for mobile apps is often taken on as a second/third phase. Selecting which functionality, what platform, and how urgently the apps need to get to market is all part of understanding the overall Mobile Strategy and is mapped out on the Mobile Roadmap. The following diagram shows a) a typical approach to getting the Mobile Strategy in place, and b) the build out of the Mobile Optimized Web, then c) 1 or more Mobile Apps:
So what are the next steps to beginning the mobile journey? Initially the strategy needs to be defined, and high level priorities need to be selected. Those priorities will be associated with multiple changes required to both platform and other aspects of the systems and internal processes. Establishing the priorities and then bringing them together with the other organization priorities for ecommerce, and then visualizing them on a common view Roadmap, is an effective way to break down the challenge, and make it actionable.
The following diagram shows how Business, Marketing, IT and Customer inputs are collected into a pool of Requirements / Needs. These items then have their business value determined and then they are prioritized and assigned to the one or more roadmaps which will be involved in enabling the new features. It’s important to note that following a functionality release, the same stakeholders are continuously involved in providing the next round of inputs for the next round of functionality extensions, optimizations and continuous improvement.
The most direct and effective way to provide a unified multi channel view including mobile phone / tablet / PC and other devices is to leverage existing ecommerce functionality, exposing it through an open architecture, stable integration framework, and documented APIs. This will allow rapid development of features and integrations in a scalable and cost effective way. To truly understand where to start a Mobile Strategy is used to collect input from stakeholders and to collaboratively establish a prioritized roadmap which outlines priorities and their relative sequence.
Upon completion of the Strategy and once the understanding of key requirements around Mobile Web Optimization and specific device / app needs are defined specific project estimates / budgets can be defined and the implementation stage can be initiated.
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