Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  11 Apr 2012

INFOTECH: Mobile Engagement Strategies for a Smarter Future


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Just as Forrester predicts that, by 2020, we’ll be living in a world dominated by mobile smart devices, the analyst firm also suggests that, in just four years, there will be a chief mobility officer overseeing enterprise mobile strategies. This isn’t just some empty prediction. It’s based on considerable data released in a report titled ‘Mobile Is The New Face Of Engagement,’ which highlights the growing popularity of mobile phones and the subsequent empowerment they will bring.

The past few years have seen a massive upswing in mobile usage, leading to increased interest in its potential on the part of business. However, at present, mobile is generally seen as nothing more than an alternative channel from which to reach customers, says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of specialist technology consulting company Logikal Consulting. This, he says, is short sighted, and those managing mobile engagement strategies will need to shift their goals.

“As more people begin to search, browse and make purchases from mobile devices, the goals of mobile engagement become less about a brand’s presence, and more about how customers can be empowered to take action,” he says. “If you succeed in making up applications that are of direct benefit to your target audience, any company can increase its business exposure and profits through this alternative channel.”

Websites Need to Mobile-Friendly

Web sites and web applications have come a long way in the last 10-15 years. With technologies such as dynamic HTML, JavaScript and broadband connections, we have seen amazing web applications in recent years. However, on the mobile platform, browsing the web leaves a lot to be desired. Today's websites, even those that have launched 'mobile' versions, have a long way to go if they desire to be more usable by mobile users. ThatÂ’s where custom-built business mobile applications come in.

Understanding that the world’s gone mobile, Logikal Consulting is leveraging its applications portfolio to develop business mobile apps through a partnership with a major international mobile solutions provider. “Great mobile apps are architected from the user experience in, not the database schema out. As a result, design, development, and governance processes must fit appropriately with mobile requirements. Our experience in this arena led to the partnership, which will allow us to enable productivity through mobility for all our clients,” Naidoo explains.

Kundan Kumar, Logikal Consulting’s Group Service Delivery Director adds that while mobile applications and services are still largely associated with consumer services, businesses that are using custom mobile applications are seeing great returns. “The banks have embraced mobile technology to great effect, as can be seen through the mobile banking applications out there. Those progressive companies that are moving forward on to the mobile platform understand that the world has changed. Before, when people wanted to send mail, take pictures or do any online tasks, they had to go to the Internet to do so. Now, Smartphones have made all of these services easily accessible.”

The Benefits of Mobile Smartphones

And nowhere have the benefits of Smartphones been appreciated more than across the African continent, where traditional Internet connectivity remains sporadic. With a footprint in over 15 African countries, Logikal Consulting will be providing specialised, localised application development for Africa. “Localisation will not only entail creating the apps in local languages, but will ensure that businesses can interact directly in the context of their daily lives and real-time workflows of customers, partners, and employees,” says Naidoo.

One billion consumers will have Smartphones by 2016. US consumers alone will own 257 million Smartphones and 126 million tablets. In 2016, 350 million employees will use Smartphones — 200 million will bring their own. Business spending on mobile projects will grow 100% by 2015.

A Smartphone is not just a phone, not just a smaller screen, and not just an extension of one’s personal computer. “Mobile is the flash point for a much more holistic, far-reaching change. Businesses must be aware of the implications and be prepared for a world in which customers interact directly with the organisation in their moments of decision, partners employ tools in the context of their daily workflow, employees work, collaborate, and make key decisions anywhere on any device, and offline products get APIs and mobile app extensions. The easiest way to do this is to have tailor-made apps for your business,” Naidoo says. “Right now it’s all aboard, or see you later. If you haven’t thought carefully about your mobile development strategy, you need to.”

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