Customer-obsessed marketing

Best Practices: How To Implement A Mobile Product And Service Road Map

Thomas Husson
Vice President, Principal Analyst
July 20, 2012

Too many firms are investing in mobile technologies without a road map. Most companies are investing in a wide range of mobile technologies, but only 40% of companies that Forrester interviewed have defined a mobile road map for the next 12 months. In fact, few firms have a detailed plan on how to create mobile products and services.

Implementing a mobile road map requires an iterative approach. To add new mobile services, product strategists must evaluate consumers’ mobile behaviors and attitudes, adapt their companies’ mobile business plans, refine their overall digital road maps, and assess the maturity levels of mobile technologies.

Successful mobile road maps require investment in supporting activities. Making specific investments in mobile education and skills development, maintaining organizational flexibility to increase speed to market, and adapting to local markets are key to the success of a mobile road map.

For example, the most advanced firms have a mobile steering committee in place — usually part of a broader digital governance team — with representatives from different business units, different roles, and different geographies. The role of such a governance body is not just to set the vision but also to prioritize and select mobile projects based on a clear list of criteria. One global brand’s mobile governance body, for example, identified up to 100 planned mobile initiatives. To select the best ones and rationalize investment, it put a framework in place with four simple questions for candidates to justify the funding of their projects: What benefits will it bring to consumers; what corporate objectives will it serve; what’s the business case; and what new features will be required in the second year?

Most advanced firms I came across already have specifications ready for 2014. However, they constantly iterate and review their specifications based on how consumers adopt new mobile technologies. Start getting comfortable with ambiguity, shortened release cycles, running multiple pilots in parallel, and continuously changing plans. It’s about to become your new normal.

What are the best practices you would recommend? What are the pitfalls to avoid? Feel free to comment below and share your own experience.

Clients who want to know more about this can download my "Best Practices: How To Implement A Mobile Product And Service Road Map" report.

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