Facts and figures and what you see around you is proof enough that the mobile revolution has long begun. And if you still think that you need a proven business model before jumping into this ecosystem then its better you stay ashore. All you need is to find your entry point with the shortest possible path.
There is a flood of information and opinions out there, and deciding on a mobile strategy is like a game of maze, with multiple platforms, different devices and the fragmented market, top that up with in-experienced development teams and lack of proper customer understanding, what you have is a potential mess in front of you. Many people have burnt their hands while trying to build an effective mobile presence. Best way of avoiding it is to understand the market and your needs.
These are a few pointers that will guide you through:
Do you need to go mobile?
In the race to stay on top of the latest trends, its easy to sway in the mobile direction these days. Be it a brand, a startup, or your own awesome idea. So, before you jump the gun and start with vendor hunting and platform analysis, make sure you fall in any of the below categories:
You have a strong business case
If you are a business that can directly benefit from mobile presence, just go for it. So, somebody like a Bookmyshow or redbus.in who have a proven and stable traffic, and the users are waiting to take you in their pockets to use and show off, it makes sense to go all out and capture the ever growing mobile market. The first mover advantage is still there, and most of the big Internet names have already laid out strong strategic plans in the mobile domain for the next few years. The roll-out happens with the focus on major platforms first and then building on more features on the way. Having an in-house team is an option, but outsourcing would always be more cost effective and sensible, since mobile development is still in a metamorphic stage it will be tough to build a team with multiple platform experience.
Your marketing guys think it's important
Hundreds of surveys everyday tells us that mobile is the big thing today. So, if you have a fat marketing budget and want to figure out a way on how to have your share of this mobile boom pie, then get a strategic partner. This is a new and unstable domain, and its best to involve domain experts that can actually harness the mobile plethora for you. There are companies and consultants who will guide you through the journey of building mobile properties that can make a differentiating impact on your business.
You are B2C and need customer engagement
After DND and the extreme pain of sms marketing, we have entered the new era of customer engagement via mobile devices. There is a massive need for brands to stay connected with their customers, and with the average person spending more and more time looking into their mobiles, it becomes the perfect place to catch eyeballs and increase footfall. Be it retail or entertainment the customers are evolving fast, and to keep up and make the most of it, you just have to have a mobile presence. From game apps to discount/sale information, store location and offers to check ins, a mobile app can do wonders by converting your customers into patrons.
You are B2B and need a custom solution to a problem
Custom mobile solutions, tailor made for your business. From Barcode reader to GPS tracker and accelerometer to now NFC and mobile transactions, mobile devices have become as essential for businesses as the computers were in the 1990's. Your domain requires frequent communication and tracking, or you want to take the benefit of the services that are built in to the smartphones then, just spec it out and let it float. There are plenty of vendors claiming to give you immediate ROI with their solutions. Be careful with whom you partner and the platform you choose.
You have a brilliant million dollar app idea
Million dollar funded apps are as common as facebook updates. If you really think you have an awesome app idea, then get in touch with the venture capital guys. There are tons of seed funds out there looking for you. You can be the next foursquare or flip board, and yes its possible. The best way to pitch your idea is to make a working POC that the potential investors can see and touch. If you are not a techie then throw a stone anywhere in India and you will hit one. Be wise when you choose your partners, and be very clear from the start. The best thing about the industry today is that everyone is investing in the ecosystem, and this is giving tremendous opportunities to the young starters with nothing in their hands other than exuberance and innovation. There are many not so mature models like revenue sharing and equity sharing that are prevalent in the market, this also gives you the opportunity to customize the engagement and get the best possible deal.
If you fit in the above, then it is the time to decide the approach. This is a time when you need an honest consulting by your technology partner. There are many solutions for a mobile presence, and the decision is based on the target audience, the type of app and the budget.
Whatever may be the reason for you to go mobile, it's important to understand that this domain has its own set of challenges and surprises. The buzz and opinions can often be far from reality!