When I talk to business and IT stakeholders in financial services, publishing, healthcare, media, high tech and retail, I find they face common challenges planning and delivering a compelling connected experience for their customers. At Cantina, we’ve found the key to the connected experience is providing the right content at the right time in the right context and in the right channel, whether that be on the web, smart phone, tablet, or connected TV.
Many organizations find themselves playing catch-up after seeing a competitor deploy a new tablet or smart phone app. Still others have developed bespoke apps early in the adoption curve that they are challenged to bring to the next level. Neither of these approaches is wrong, but the time has come to create connected experiences the right way.
Cantina recommends the following approach to planning and implementing the connected experience:
- Define who owns the connected experience: the business stakeholder, IT or both
- Work with the CFO and senior stakeholders to develop the business justification
- Define the governance model with IT, HR, and the business stakeholder
- Define the technology direction
The who: ownership of the connected experience
The first requirement is to define who owns the planning and implementation framework for connected experiences. There is a struggle between business stakeholders and IT which resembles the web-based challenges of 1998. Business stakeholders are pushing to innovate to gain competitive advantage and meet customer demands. IT is focused on the infrastructure for long-term success. Both goals are valid but need overarching leadership to resolve apparent conflicts. This leadership may be an individual or may be a committee, but decision-making authority needs to be defined to be successful.
The why: justification for multiple platforms
In any industry there are firms focused on gaining publicity through innovative first market mover uses of technology. This alone may be justification enough for initial connected projects. As your customers increasingly demand connected access, it is imperative that your organization adopts mature approaches to justification and expenditures. Evaluating the needs of your customers, reconciling qualitative and/or quantitative customer behavioral data with the business objectives, and developing rigorous business cases with metrics and measurement pre-and post launch are critical for long term success. The CFO must be involved to help define the success of the projects.
The what, when, where and how: governance for devices and apps
To prevent roadblocks to achieving the mobile vision, it is critical to define policies and procedures for device selection, application direction, infrastructure, workflow and assignment of resources. It is also necessary to plan for app deployment, security and software/hardware updates. And, in a world where employees are pushing employers to support their personal devices (BYOD), policies must be created to determine when and how company and employee-owned devices will be managed.
Once the three critical steps above are accomplished, organizations can successfully build the right connected experiences to service their internal and external customers, whether those are web, native, commercial product, or hybrid technology solutions. This final step requires expertise, and armed with a dedicated owner or committee, a sound justification, strong governance and the right technology direction, the resulting connected experience strategy will be sound.
We are not alone in our perspective or model as leading analyst organizations like Altimeter Group, Forrester, and even a recent article in The Wall Street Journal (“Here Comes the Tablet. Here Come Problems. As companies flock to the devices, they’re learning a lot from their mistakes”, Shara Tibken, April 2, 2012) speak about a similar approach to the planning and implementation for connected and mobile experiences.
Cantina is a leading strategy, design and development consulting firm that assists our clients successfully plan and implement connected experiences for the web, smart phones, tablets and connected TV.