Whether you have one yourself or see others using them, mobile technologies are impacting our experiences every day. Mobile smartphones and tablets have quickly become a part of our everyday lives. What has been seen to date is just the beginning of what we will have the ability to do with mobile technologies while we are on the go.
We started using mobile devices (cell phones) for verbal communication. This has rapidly transformed into a means to quickly search the web for information, purchase goods and services, store knowledge and provide alternative methods of communicating via texting and social networks.
The impact of mobile technologies has created another major change agent in technology. Companies now need to research and understand consumers' mobile usage behaviors and subsequently build mobile strategies to transform their business via this technology. Companies that want to stay engaged with their current customer base and create new opportunities with new customers have to embrace the mobile channel.
Advances in mobile technologies have created major opportunities and challenges for consumer brands executives in marketing, e-commerce and IT. Most of these brand executives have already built their first generation mobile strategies, which focused on engaging consumers via the newest generation of mobile smartphones (i.e., iPhone and Droid).
Now, the explosion of tablets and updates to the likes of the iPhone and Droid have consumer brands executives addressing the next move in their mobile strategies. The first big question executives are working through is, "Do I build a mobile application or do I build a mobile website?"
One view is that building a mobile application that can only be used on an iPhone or a Droid does not address the majority of the smartphones in use. Companies thinking this way usually lean toward building a mobile website that will support more than an iPhone and/or a Droid. There are others who say building an iPhone or Droid application is the right approach because the people who make up their targeted demographics use iPhones and Droids.
For the discussion on mobile applications versus mobile websites, consumer brands marketing and e-commerce executives need to ensure they have strategically thought through and are able to address the following:
Decide and document your business objectives and goals and align your mobile strategy to them
Know the pros and cons as it pertains to your mobile strategy for building mobile applications versus mobile websites
Research your options for platforms that will align and help you meet your goals.
Research strategic partners (not vendors) who want to understand your business and the challenges your company is facing, and will help you identify options and design solutions to best leverage the appropriate technology to solve your challenges and meet your corporate objectives.
Kevin Conway is global director, consumer brands, at Savvis.