With the biggest annual mobile conference in the world, Mobile World Congress, coming up soon, it’s timely to see lots of reports at the beginning of 2016 on the top mobile trends for 2016. Of course mobile connectivity is also a key theme at this week’s consumer electronics technology show in Las Vegas.
One of these reports highlights initiatives that will have the greatest impact on organizations in terms of revenue generation, customer satisfaction and mobile investments. The top 10 trends report from DMI (Digital Management Inc.) points to the customer experience, boardroom concerns over security, innovation through partnerships and mobile payments as key drivers for mobility. It cites the need for an improved mobile customer experience, top-down concerns for cybersecurity, key innovations through partnerships and a stronger focus on the redesign and implementation of omni-channel and mobile payment technologies.
Overall it suggests:
- Stronger focus on the customer experience: In 2016, customers will demand one consistent cross-channel experience.
- Security and privacy hitting the boardroom agenda: With big corporations being hacked and the resulting damage to shareholder value, security will be high on the agenda for every CEO and board member.
- Accelerated innovation through partnerships: there will be a growing trend in the opening of internal APIs and partnering among companies of all sizes in order to bring accelerated innovation to the end-user.
- By 2017, 50 percent of online transactions will be from mobile devices: With the majority of online commerce now coming from mobile devices, there will be a growing trend in the expansion and implementation of the omni-channel user experience and more innovations surrounding mobile payment platforms.
Here is the detail on the top 10 trends from this report:
- Putting customer experience first
The average organization has less than 1 in 100 employees with customer experience (CX) skills (contrast with e.g. eBay that has 1 in 4). Customer experience must be embedded in every part of the organization including sales, customer service, development, product management, marketing, administration and even finance to deliver great results. However, in most organizations it’s limited to marketing and customer service. In 2016, customers will demand one consistent cross-channel experience.
- Re-inventing the whole business around mobile
Enterprise mobility goes from “we need mobile device management (MDM), responsive websites and mobile apps” to “we need a holistic mobility plan that will change the way we do business.” Organizations are looking to transform their workforce by liberating them from the desktop, reengineering processes, reinvent products and create new business models. Examples of killer mobile solutions include field sales, field services but also sensors collecting data that enable smarter decisions and recommendations. Very few organizations routinely think about how they can tweak business models to find better, more efficient, greater value-creating business models from their existing products and services.
- Security and privacy will hit the boardroom agenda
With a constant flow of news about big corporations being hacked with serious damage to shareholder value, security is high on the agenda for every CEO. And the reported intrusions are just the tip of the iceberg as at least 9 out of 10 cases are never reported. The biggest threat to security, however, is usually employees, whether it’s clumsiness (losing their mobile phone or laptop) or on purpose (revenge for losing their job or not getting a raise).
There is a growing demand for improved physical security, mobile device management, app management, enhanced authentication, security testing and protection as well as ongoing monitoring combining analytics with other monitoring tools. At the same time, organizations are challenged by complex privacy regulation and balancing internal demand for customer data versus customer privacy.
- Real solutions by the internet of things
There has been a lot of hype about the internet of things. Too many software and hardware products are opportunistic attempts to do something in the IoT space rather than real products. In parallel there is a real revolution happening in manufacturing, transportation and the consumer space with IoT. Sensors collecting data are improving logistics, production, product development, efficiency and user experience. Companies such as Telit, SAP and Salesforce offer working solutions today for this.
As part of this connected devices theme, 2015 was also supposed to be the year of the smartwatch after a breakthrough year for wearables in 2014. Apple Watch delivered on the high expectations, but smartwatches have by no means reached mass market yet. However, they become useful devices for health, safety and security in the workplace and at home.
- Omni-channel and mobile payments breaking through
Last year there was a lot of talk about how retailers and brands can replicate the success of Starbucks by focusing on simplicity and loyalty. Also Amazon got 50 percent of its revenue from mobile at the end of the year. So why do other companies find this so hard? Most commerce players simply took the existing desktop experience and adapted it for mobile. With majority of online commerce now coming from mobile devices there is a growing need to redesign the omni-channel user experience including payments. It’s not just about enabling Apple Pay, or other payment services but also redesigning bottom up for mobile.
The same thing applies to the mobile commerce with mobile driving in-store sales as well as mobile commerce sales. According to a recent survey by DMI, about 86 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Nearly 75 percent of millennials surveyed indicated they’d purchase more from retail stores that offer great mobile in-store shopping tools and over 80 percent of high income shoppers ($100K income) believe they would improve the overall in-store shopping experience.
- Accelerating innovation through partnerships
The enterprise turns to APIs (application programming interfaces) and partnerships to innovate. Big companies such as Bank of America, Unilever, Coca Cola and Nike struggle to innovate by themselves. Therefore, there will be a growing trend in opening up internal APIs and partnering with companies of all sizes to bring more innovation to customers. Sometimes also referred to as front end integration, it allows new services to be created in less than a month’s time by innovative partners without major investments in legacy systems once the APIs are up and running.
- Programming languages and development tools
2015 has been extremely exciting in terms of trends in software development languages and tools. For 2016 a mix of Java, Microsoft C#/.Net and Java script will continue to dominate development generally and Swift taking over iOS entirely. Web apps and app wrapping using PhoneGap/Cordova will make up the bulk of enterprise application development with Xamarin as the fastest growing cross-platform tool leaving the others behind. Native app development continues to be the first choice for consumer apps.
- Mobile ad formats changing
According to the DMI white paper (and famously said by Steve Jobs in 2010), mobile ads still mostly suck despite bigger screens, better performance and improved targeting. People don’t often intentionally click on a banner ad on their mobile. With ad blockers, more ad dollars shifting to mobile and differences in user behavior on mobile, it’s time for change. Companies that embrace the change such as Facebook, Google, Vice and Quartz are growing despite ad blockers while others are seemingly struggling. Mobile video advertising has now reached mass market penetration and delivers the most engaging format on Facebook, Instagram and, of course, YouTube.
- Putting data into action
For several years it’s been all about big data but the tide is changing. The focus for 2016 will be what we do with all the data. How do we make smarter recommendations? How do we provide better customer service, better products, increased productivity and give customers what they need? Algorithms are of course nothing new in software development and analytics. The difference, however, is that they will play a much bigger role in real-time service monitoring, smart buildings and cities, smart cars, manufacturing, finance, healthcare and home electronics where they learn through behaviour and make better recommendations and decisions than humans can. Algorithms and smart machines have redefined how humans will interface with technology in the coming years.
- Ensuring you don’t ‘overcloud’
Mobile service development, integration and backend development is moving to the cloud at a rapid pace. Benefits include faster development, lower cost, better scalability, reliability and security. In addition to the core services this also means that app and web developers are embedding a myriad of SDKs, APIs and tags in their services including e.g. analytics, A/B testing, push notifications, bug reporting, payments, content feeds, advertising, attribution tracking, performance monitoring, social networks, translation and customer service. This is also posing a challenge as performance and reliability is degraded with the number of processes, network calls and memory usage. It also means that version control becomes more challenging, a threat to privacy as the data ends up in too many places and costs may spiral out of control as the free versions cannot be used.
Download the entire report here.