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Managing the Miracles of Mobile Apps and Smart Products

It didn’t take long to hook me. An amazing example of the miracles that mobile apps and smart products promise to perform was just the beginning of the Forrester Research white paper.

A WiFi- and API-enabled bathroom scale connects to a system of more than 30 apps, turning my weight and BMI into the diet solutions that will finally help me lose those 10 lbs, courtesy of Withings, a health and well-being products company. So, yeah, I’m sold.

Mobile Is the New Face of Engagement
Devices, access and apps are skyrocketing globally, according to Forrester Research.

Systems that harness mobile, social, cloud and Big Data — fronted by apps and smart products — are a reformation. More than a “game changer.” More than a “transformation.”

This is a true Luther-esque shift in the way businesses look at enterprise IT.

Forrester sees mobile apps as the front end and first phase of Geoffrey Moore’s “systems of engagement.” We’re leaving the era of systems of record (transactions, processes and reports), and we’re shaking hands with systems that exist for us:

  • What we want
  • When we want it
  • Where we want it

The case is compelling for mobile’s role as the new face of enterprise IT, not just devices that IT supports. As the visible piece of engagement systems, mobile apps deliver context-rich experiences: in-the-moment special offers, real-time business intelligence, customized and location-aware services, role-based or situational interfaces.

But there are pitfalls to treating mobile apps like one-off projects, as is common today. The Forrester white paper warned of:

  • Complications in coordinating data, access and applications across multiple channels
  • Business processes designed for transactions, not engagement
  • Servers and infrastructure that can’t scale for an explosion of activity volume
  • Middleware, applications and security models that don’t address the requirements of engagement
  • Design, development and governance processes that don’t align with mobile requirements

All of this is prelude to what Forrester considers fundamental for CIOs moving into the Age of IT Reformation. It’s time for:

  • The office of the chief mobility officer and supporting mobile architecture team — Under the leadership of this C-level executive, a specialized 10- to 30-person group is the coordinating force across all mobile business and technology projects and an incubator for the culture of engagement.
  • A mobile engagement guide — With “design for mobile first” as the mantra, the guide ensures that every business and technology team knows that mobile engagement is not business as usual. It draws out the best practices from every group investing in mobile and tablet apps.
  • A mobile architecture blueprint — The blueprint helps manage mobile technology investments. It lays out the technology issues that IT must resolve in order for mobile engagement apps to work.

But engagement guides and architecture blueprints are minor miracles of this reformation. Read the full white paper, “Mobile Is the New Face of Engagement,” for the full conversion experience.

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