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Author's profile photo Tonja Erismann

Mobility Minute #11: 7 Steps to Leverage Design Thinking for your Mobile Strategy (Part I)

In Mobility Minute #10, we discussed how Design Thinking can spur the development of an innovative mobile strategy that can help achieve your business goals. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share seven proven steps to make a design-centered approach work.

According to Tim Brown, author of the bestselling, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, “Human-centered design thinking – especially when it includes research based on direct observation – will capture unexpected insights and produce innovation that more precisely effects what consumers want.”

At SAP, our design-based approach is the result of both research and the experience of our SAP Services team in solving customer and internal challenges – across the entire mobile strategy trajectory. This learning has been distilled into seven key steps:

1.    Scoping

2.    360° Research

3.    Synthesis

4.    Ideation

5.    Prototyping

6.    Validation

7.    Implementation

Today we’ll look at steps 1-2, which will help you lay the foundation for an unbeatable mobile strategy.

Step 1: Scoping: What’s Your Mobile Intent?

A design-centered approach starts with defining the borders of your playground. What is your mobile intent – both on the level of the organization and the mobile user? Which mobile scenarios will be most effective in satisfying that intent?

In practical terms, this means creating a mobile vision that’s aligned with your organization’s business strategy and supports your long-term goals. Let’s say your strategic business focus for the coming years is growth, and your key performance drivers have been defined as “increased sales” and “customer satisfaction.” Your mobile vision should be to create a strategy that successfully supports those goals. They will also serve as the criteria you’ll need to consider when comparing the value of different mobile use cases.

Aligning your mobile intent with long-term business goals may take some effort, but will ensure your mobile portfolio is of strategic relevance to your organization. When defining their mobile vision, one of our clients realized that the scope of their strategy went well beyond their initial goal of “improving the usability of the traditional workplace for employees.” They decided their intent was to “be mobivailable for our customers” – ensuring that customers could easily access context-relevant data both directly and through the company’s customer-facing channels. Clarifying the intent was key to moving forward.

When creating your mobile vision, you’ll need to identify your target mobile user groups.

To identify your target users, create a list of all key players who impact your performance drivers in some way—in our specific example introduced above these could be internal groups such as business development, marketing, customer services, sales execs, and service technicians, as well external groups such as distributors and, of course, your customers. Put your focus on the groups that

  • have mobile access, that is a device and the possibility to use it (e.g. not in a space where using a mobile device is hazardous or not possible)
  • require business-relevant information while on the go, outside business hours or while limited in time, space or physically restricted in using a wired device.

Once you have clarified your mobile vision and the intent behind it – both at the organizational and user level – you will be in a better position to create your mobile strategy.

Step 2 – 360o Research: Immerse Yourself in Mobile

There’s no such thing as a green field approach in mobile! Before you create your strategy, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the world of mobile business apps. Become an expert on what’s already out there, the common challenges companies have faced, and the ways they’ve overcome them.

This translates into two key activities:

  • Inside-out research: Evaluate your organization’s current mobile activities and past initiatives. (Do a search on your company in app stores to see what’s there—you may be surprised.) Identify and involve key stakeholders in your company who have a vested interest in your mobile strategy. Understand the key drivers and requirements, as well as ongoing initiatives where your new mobile strategy may have an impact—such as usability, next-gen workplace, and innovation. 
  • Outside-in research: Identify the best practice mobile solutions that are currently popular in your industry—both for core industry processes as well as cross-industry support processes. Why re-invent the wheel?
    Keep in mind the bigger picture. Recognize the peripheral impact of other technologies such as social media, cloud, Big Data analytics, the internet of things, augmented reality, etc.

By the time you finish this second step, you should have a fundamental understanding of how to do things right in mobile. In the next installment of our Design Thinking series, we’ll focus on how to do the right things. Watch for part 2 of “7 Steps to Leveraging Design Thinking for your Mobile Strategy” in an upcoming Mobility Minute post on May 2nd.

Whitepaper: Defining Innovative Mobile Strategies: How Design Thinking Offers an Effective Way to Address the “Wicked Problem” of Enterprise Mobility

Tonja Erismann

Global Mobile Strategy Services | SAP

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Jomy Pidiath

Global Mobile Strategy Services | SAP

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