“Mobile Center of Excellence” – you may have heard the term, but what exactly is it, and why should your organization embrace it? Many companies understand the Mobile Center of Excellence as a sort of a bottleneck – a limited group of mobile experts, mostly IT professionals, who make all the decisions about a company’s mobile strategy. But who selects those experts, and how should they interact with the rest of your organization? Can a customer-facing person become one? Can you contribute ideas?
At MobileSmith, we advocate creating a powerful Mobile Center of Excellence that is cross-departmental, cross-disciplinary, and empowers all key stakeholders. Many enterprises spend upwards of $100,000 on a single iOS app. Granted, managing this process without any structure in place is simply not an option. However, there is a way to make the process flexible enough for both parties – combining rigid project management with the creative power of intra-organizational crowdsourcing.
1. You Need Business Stakeholders to Contribute to Goal-Setting
Yes, any mobile app project should start with setting goals. Even the most cost-efficient apps are a waste of your time and money if they don’t improve your organization’s KPIs – be it customer service, customer satisfaction, or employee engagement. You should define success metrics before you start thinking of functions, so when your app is ready for prime time you can quickly measure its impact and determine any room for improvement.
2. You Need Creative Input from Stakeholders
People who are closest to your customers are the best people to come up with customer-facing app ideas. Chances are, there will be one or more people on your team who will generate the most and the best mobile app ideas. Include them in your Mobile Center of Excellence – and make sure they are involved in test-driving the prototype!
3. You Need IT to Define and Manage Data
If you are serious about mobile apps making a business impact, you have to think about data. This requires (in many cases) setting up connections to backend systems – like your CRM, customer portal, support ticket system, or order management system. Just like you need creative people on your Mobile Center of Excellence team, you need “data” people who understand how mobile data should be structured, manipulated, and laid out. Involve your IT department early on, and make sure it is fully invested in the success of your mobile strategy.
Agile Mobile Development
A key benefit of a Mobile Center of Excellence is the ability to enable an agile mobile strategy – crucial for a company that wants to respond to innovation in mobile technology.
- A recent survey by HP of 601 development and IT professionals indicated that two-thirds were already incorporating agile methodology or “leaning” agile.
The same approach works for mobile idea generation and the development of functionality. Getting a prototype out quickly, testing it with invested groups, and making changes quickly are critical to an efficient Mobile Center of Excellence.
Costs can obviously get out of hand when user feedback starts flowing in and change requests start piling up. Even the most streamlined Mobile Center of Excellence can exceed its budget if the first app version completely misses the mark or fails to gain traction. Rethinking and rebuilding your app can potentially double or triple the original mobile app budget.
Here’s where a mobile app development platform – MADP – comes to the rescue. With a flexible, code-free MADP solution, your team can test and fine-tune an app before it hits the app stores. If necessary, app builders can even perform edits afterwards without resubmitting.
MobileSmith makes it easy for companies to create a Mobile Center of Excellence with or without programmers. App prototypes are delivered directly to your smartphone via download links, and your team or focus group can thoroughly test each app before distribution to the public. After it’s launched, making changes in response to user feedback is easy. With MobileSmith, you can be completely sure your mobile apps meet the requirements of your discerning end-users and contribute to your company’s bottom line!