Altus provided us with the structure and visibility we needed when embarking on a complex, large-scale transformation.  Their knowledge, models and approach enabled us to shape our change agenda and gave me the information I needed to make key decisions. John McCowan, Portfolio Director Transformation, Old Mutual Wealth Management

When considering a mobile strategy many organisations make the mistake of thinking all this means is an app and furthermore a significant proportion of these think what this means is an app for an IPhone or IPad.  The starting point for an effective mobile strategy has to be your existing online presence taking a holistic view of how consumers will access services across all online channels.  The temptation to rush towards releasing an app can be counter-productive as it can divert resource away from discovering what you need from a mobile strategy.

We recommend you put yourself in the consumer’s shoes.  Pick up your own smartphone and go to your corporate homepage.  Now try to click through some of the pages.  We recently surveyed a sample of UK Financial Services companies and found that just over half of them failed to pass even the most basic test to determine if their main site was mobile friendly.  And it was not that these organisations were new to mobile interaction – 42% of those who failed already had an app on one of the mobile app stores.  They have the capability to deliver mobile but the lack of a mobile friendly web site will not only alienate some new customers but also make their site less visible in search engines on mobile devices.

Delivering a mobile optimised site either means automatically redirecting visitors to a dedicated mobile site optimised for smaller screens or dynamically redisplaying the content based on the device requesting the page.  The latter is referred to as responsive design, almost all modern web development tools enable this to be implemented relatively simply “out of the box”.  Only once the mobile friendly web site has been delivered should any consideration be given to an app.

One of the benefits of delivering your web site in a mobile friendly way is it exposes you to the many capabilities you can achieve with just the browser on the device.  The advances in HTML5 now expose many of the device features which previously were only available from an app.  5 years ago AXA were one of the first providers to launch a functional app for car insurance claims.  It recorded location using the GPS sensor, took a photograph using the camera, started the claim process at the roadside and found you the nearest approved repair centre.  Today this could be delivered at a fraction of the cost via a mobile friendly web page.

It is likely that most mobile strategies will include an app at some point.  This should include the capability to develop, deploy and support an app for, at the very least Android and iOS devices.  Developing an app for more than one operating system can be an expensive exercise.  The emergence of hybrid cross platform technologies means that it is possible to share some of the code between the different systems but at the end there are still distinct applications out there on the app stores.  Consideration needs to be given to what is happening in the mobile technology marketplace.  Apple, Google and other technology providers are releasing new functionality at a very rapid rate and at different frequencies; this means that you will be optimising your iPhone app for the new version of iOS at a different time to performing similar tasks for the new version of Android.  Your end customers will be getting the new operating system pushed them automatically by their provider so you need to ensure that when this happens your app will still function.  The development and release cycle will now be dictated by the mobile OS providers release cycle rather than you.  These and many other factors need to be carefully considered when evolving your mobile strategy.

At Altus we have developed reference models to help you understand these factors and map your strategy to technology you need. 

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