Tag: mobile apps

KISS Your Mobile Apps | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

“We want to create comprehensive mobile apps that mirror the functionality of traditional applications.” Every time I hear an organization say that, I think about a mobile application or strategy that is fast forwarding toward a grand failure.

Why? There is a simple answer. No one wants, or can actually use, a mobile app that is like that. Traditional applications have so many features and complexities that, if “mobilized,” will significantly degrade the overall design, code quality, user interfaces, and user experience. These applications typically offer many functionalities that consumers are neither aware of nor use.  Unfortunately, the market is fast approaching a state of “fat client native mobile apps” in which we could see a further divergence of users’ core requirements and developers’ fanciful creations. Indeed, even in the typical mobile apps that connect to a cloud or hosted application, developers are unable to grasp the real requirements of the end-user.

The reality is that mobile applications must have their sanity intact and offer functionalities that users will actually consume.

While designing mobile applications, developers and architects need to remove their traditional approach and segregate the functionalities into “must-have,” “should-have,” “good-to-have,” and “may-have.” But they must always keep top of mind that a must-have functionality for traditional access could be a “may-have” for mobile devices. Therefore, they need to see the application landscape through a different lens before deciding which functionalities should fall under which bracket. It goes without saying that this exercise must be performed from an end-user perspective.

Given that mobile apps is still a growing area with lots of yet to be answered questions, organizations need to be careful in adopting a mobile application strategy. It should, at bare minimum, address the following:

  • Relevant functionalities: Only the core features of an application should be available on its mobile avatar (at least to begin with). Once end-users are comfortable and there is an increase in demand for more functionality, newer features may be added. Moreover, the definition of “core features” on mobile may be very different than that for the desktops
  • Minimum learning curve: End-users need to comprehend, appreciate, and start liking a mobile application in a very short time (say two-five minutes). Beyond that, the chances of them looking at it again are very low

Successful mobile applications

  • Functioning features: When a mobile application is dependent on another system, data connectivity to the systems must be functional or performance will be hindered and the user experience spoiled
  • Easy to use: While this is an old horse in application development, the importance of ease of usage increases manifold with mobile platforms. Developers should focus not only on different mobile OSs, form factors, etc., but also on the intuitiveness of the interfaces and easy availability of key features (e.g., search).

While all the above may appear to be very generic and obvious, it’s not…believe me. I am seeing various buyer organizations struggling with evangelizing the adoption of, and technology provider’s inability to create, meaningful mobile apps. And in the meantime, they’re investing millions of dollars that are not delivering the returns.

Therefore, the crux of a successful enterprise mobile apps strategy is to KISS it…or, Keep it Simple and Sane!

Is Mobile Banking the New Banking Reality? | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

Move over, Angry Birds. Your standing as “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far,” (as stated on February, 18, 2011 in MIT’s Entrepreneurship Review) is giving way to mobile banking apps.

Indeed, apps from American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Wells Fargo, Westpac, and others rank among the top apps on iTunes and the Android play store, with tens of millions of downloads already under their belt! And there’s little surprise about that…photograph your check and then have it deposited directly into whatever account you want, or send money to people via their email addresses or mobile phone numbers. Isn’t that cool?

Thanks to the increased adoption of smart phones and innovative technology, banking today has become so convenient. With innovations such as near field communications (NFC), mobile wallets, and a number of customized applications being developed and adopted, the mobile banking landscape has undergone a rapid transformation. In fact, according to The Federal Reserve Board, as of November 2012, 28 percent of all mobile phone users and 48 percent of smart phone users in the U.S. had used mobile banking in the past 12 months, an increase of 7 percent from December 2011.

Here’s a brief overview of the current state of mobile banking:

Current adoption and growth: 

Mobile Banking

The past year saw a number of banks expanding and upgrading their mobile banking application features to keep up with extremely strong and growing demand. For example:

  • Bank of America recently launched new services such as mobile remote deposit capture, person-to-person payments, expanded contactless payment functions, and a mobile component to its BankAmeriDeals merchant rewards program. It also recently began testing payments executed via QR codes with five merchants. In fact, its mobile banking app (Bank of America – Version 4.3.229) was among the top 10 Android apps upgraded by customers during the week of July 29, 2013. The new version allows customers to:

    1. Make payments to credit cards using checking accounts at other banks
    2. Add/edit/delete bill pay accounts
    3. Add own email/mobile number to receive money from others
    4. Send money to people and small businesses via their email addresses or mobile phone numbers
    5. Utilize the Call Me Now feature (for Platinum Privileges clients)
  • BNP Paribas recently announced that it will be launching a full-service mobile bank in Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium. Its Hello Bank is the first bank designed specifically for mobiles, and BNP aims to have 1.4 million customers for Hello Bank by 2017

  • Citibank is the first financial establishment to put up a mobile banking app in the Asia Pacific region. Initially launched in Hong Kong in 2008, the app is now available in 12 regional markets. Citi is also looking to invest in improving its mobile banking capabilities in 2013

So how exactly are people using mobiles for banking? While some of us stick to basic services such as checking bank statements and paying bills using our smart phones, “smart banks” have started using mobile banking for marketing their products and services. As mobile phones become more functional, they have evolved from being tools to enhance customer service to being vehicles for revenue growth.

But there are some barriers to adoption. Concerns about the security of mobile banking and the possibility of hackers remotely accessing consumers’ phones have been the two major reasons which have limited the use of mobile banking. While consumers are slowly building trust and becoming more open to adopting mobile banking, the possibility of a new mobile deposit fee some banks are considering might be off-putting to end users.

Having said that, Everest Group believes more customers will use mobile banking applications as the explosive growth of smart phones and tablets continues. As banks evaluate the level of investments they must make to keep pace with customer expectations, they will also need to identify key opportunity areas, use mobile channel functionality as a competitive differentiator to attract new customers and retain existing ones, and ultimately expand market share.

Embrace the Berg: the Real Power Lies Beneath the Surface | Gaining Altitude in the Cloud

As we’ve noted in previous blogs and white papers, mobility can unleash the next wave of healthcare productivity and provide dynamic channels to foster wellness.

Yet, in the complex healthcare environment, mobility is more than just crafting a mobile app for the iTunes Store. To us, that is just the tip of the iceberg, since the infrastructure and institution must be readied to accommodate mobility and capture the full power of mobile two-way data streams through seamless integration of data, companion devices, legacy apps, web interfaces and internal processes to optimize workflow while maintaining robust security and compliance. All this is critical, as in healthcare, conflicting and less than fully current data can lead to devastating impacts.

While a simple clinician/facility locator app can be created and deployed with a minimal amount of effort, something like a context-aware mobile video consult demands clean instant access to a “complete single record of truth.” To provide that, the infrastructure must be upgraded to support the roaming bandwidth demands, a streamlined access process needs to be instituted, patient records must capture the most current feeds from a variety of data sources and be presented in a context-aware workflow that intuitively supports decision-making, and any entry must properly interface with legacy apps, and securely and surely prompt the desired follow-on actions. And all this must be done without comprising data privacy.

Disregarding the needed investments below the surface can at best lead to a bland, unappealing healthcare mobility offering. At worst, it can lead to devastating medical and information errors. While there are numerous, productive baby steps along the way that incrementally accumulate to fully unleash the power of mHealth, healthcare companies should develop a clear vision, supported by a robust organization and investment plan, to bring it successfully to fruition.

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