Three Phases of Mobile Maturity for Enterprises

Altimeter’s mobile analyst Chris Silva is a smart, connected guy. Anyone who follows his research knows that he has his finger on the pulse of the mobile industry. That’s why when we rolled out our enterprise strategy, we looked to Chris’ reports for ideas and inspiration. One report in particular made us take notice. Despite its head-scratching title, “Make an App for That: Strategies for Winning Retail Mobile Strategies” paints a very clear picture of what it takes to publish and maintain a successful retail mobile app.

Silva plays off the firm’s aeronautical name, and outlines what he believes to be the three phases of mobile maturity: On the Ground (strategy, goals in formative stages), Hitting Turbulence (strategy launched, impact not yet felt, re-design), and Flying High (well received app, positive business impact recognized, expansion planned).

The presentation then lists a number of retail apps that are clearly high flyers. Brands like Home Depot, GE, Overstock, Taco Bell, Redbox and Tesco are innovating and delivering value through mobile touchpoints. But the Sephora app is in another stratosphere entirely. It allows users to try on products virtually, tune into expert demos, explore staff “obsessions,” enjoy in-store barcodes. If a customer wants it, Sephora’s app does it.

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But then it occurred to us: Where’s the “Sephora” for enterprises? What’s the Gulfstream of business-to-employee (B2E) apps? While we might not know the example to highlight, I connected with our head of sales, Eli Lederman and we riffed on what the enterprise equivalents of Sliva’s “three phases of mobile maturity” might be. Here’s what we came up with:

On the Ground

  • Grassroots ownership, no central mobile strategy
  • One-off mobile projects, largely HTML5
  • Internal data & IT governance an afterthought

Hitting Turbulence

  • Executive champion established
  • Strategy & objectives vary by business unit
  • Development tools & resources in place, but not optimized for scale

Flying High

  • Central strategy tied to business metrics (revenue, productivity, ROI)
  • IT governance (authentication, security) balanced with LOB data mobilization needs
  • Scalable, cross-platform development methodology established

This was just our first pass at an “enterprise mobile” maturity model. What other characteristics would you associate with each stage of maturity? What companies do you think are reaching new heights in their business-to-employee app strategy?

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