Mobile is the face of digital

Forrester analysts
04 Jan 2017

Mobile came and conquered. In many industries, mobile trumps the PC in number of devices, audience, traffic, and transactions -- both in numbers and dollar values. In 2016, mobile evolved from a standalone channel to a baseline for all branded digital experiences. Mobile continues to elevate customer expectations as it transforms even non-digital experiences -- such as getting coffee with Starbucks’ “order-ahead” functionality. There is no question that mobile moments are the battleground to win, serve, and retain your customers.

App usage as we know it has peaked. In 2017, experience fragments begin to take on monolithic apps to offer more convenient mobile experiences. Ecosystems like Amazon Alexa, Apple iMessage or Siri, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat offer convenient access to content and services -- increasingly through conversational interfaces. As consumers spend more time within mobile-enabled experiences and ecosystems, these platforms dominate mobile moment ownership.

Digital orgs to take control of their mobile destiny

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Since the introduction of the Apple App Store in 2008, enterprises have struggled to mature their mobile efforts to match customer expectations. Many lack the organization, budget, talent, metrics, culture, processes, and technology to keep pace. As a result, most firms outsourced their mobile projects to third parties in an attempt to keep up with nimble, disruptive startups. Now that mobile is mission-critical to their business, leading firms are getting serious about evolving their sophistication through in-house capabilities.

In 2017, Forrester predicts that an increasing number of senior digital business professionals will:

  • Bring more expertise in-house and shift to augmentation models for consultants,
  • Embrace a “mobile-first,” if not “-only,” approach to design and delivery,
  • Apply design thinking to drive business results, not just digital engagement, and
  • Break apart functional and technology organization silos.

Mobile construction will become faster, more granular

In 2016, we got a sneak preview of the future with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s in-message applications, Facebook’s Messenger, Google’s Instant Apps, and Kik Interactive’s chatbots. We are steadily moving beyond siloed app experiences toward app fragments that live on third-party platforms as we make the journey toward dynamically assembled experiences within open ecosystems. As the delivery of mobile experiences evolves, so too must the construction. Forrester predicts that in 2017, digital business professionals in leading firms will work with their technology and developer counterparts to:

  • Invest in, but fail to use, sophisticated mobile technology solutions. Anticipating consumer needs with context and automating the engagement to deliver just the right content -- to the right person, in the right channel, at the right time -- demand sophisticated technology capabilities. These include machine learning to harness and activate customer intelligence and automation to deliver real-time interactions.
  • Increase performance and agility with modular server architectures. Micro services are so 2016. 2017 is the year functional programming evolves from academia to the enterprise. Application infrastructure powers this change.
  • Bring web experiences on par with mobile apps. Both enterprise adoption of HTTP/2 and browser support for web standards will bring web experiences closer to parity with apps. HTTP/2 adds security and performance optimizations that will make web experiences as fast as app experiences.
  • Expand the reach and functionality of notifications. Today, notifications contain little more than text, images, or URLs. OS and browser updates expand the possibilities in each dimension.
  • Enhance onsite wireless networks with intelligence, storage, and speed. In 2017, digital business professionals will work with their enterprise architects to improve their on-premises networks to improve location accuracy, analytics and flexibility to deliver more localized services.

This article was written by Forrester analysts Julie A. Ask, Dan Bieler, Michael Facemire, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Thomas Husson, Laura Naparstek, Xiaofeng Wang, Jennifer Wise,h Martin Gill, Sharyn Leaver, Jaclyn Galan, and Peter Harrison

This article was first appeared on Telecom Asia Vision 2017 Supplement

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