MOBILE STRATEGY: from maturity model and roadmap to success

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    MOBILE STRATEGY: from maturity model and roadmap to success

    The ever-increasing presence of mobile technologies at home, work and in the field has captured the interest of stakeholders within the trading and risk management domain. But many firms struggle with developing a comprehensive and cohesive mobile strategy to support their users. Jennifer Evans, Parry Ruparelia and Matt Hopgood introduce the concept of the Mobile Maturity Model, how it can be used to develop a roadmap and key points firms should consider as they build their mobile strategy.

    According to Forrester, currently 89% of companies have invested in a mobile strategy. However, only 40% of those companies have defined a mobile roadmap for the next 12 months. This means that the majority of companies do not have a clearly defined approach as to how they will invest their money and resources in regard to enterprise mobile strategy.

    To remain competitive in today’s market, companies need to create a mobile strategy based on industry best practices and mobile business cases. While doing so, they must win the support of key business, IT and marketing stakeholders and allocate appropriate resources. To accomplish this, companies must begin to understand employee mobile behaviors, as well as align business owners to an actionable plan.


    Firms today operate in a mobile application-dominated market. The influx of tablets and smartphones has fueled the development of more than 75 billion mobile apps. While launching an app is an accomplishment, focusing solely on mobile end products can lead to serious overspending and an over-allocation of teams.

    A strong mobile strategy relates business goals with how mobile devices, products and services engage with users. Figure 1 illustrates some of the key building blocks of a mobile strategy. Considerations of research, requirements, governance, assessments, technology, data, security, device policies, user experience and compliance standards will all form points on the mobile maturity model.

    Each branch of the maturity model entails:

    • Research: investigation into how mobile is used in the company, industry and user population
    • Requirements: scenarios describing how mobile technology will integrate into the company and user base; how users will leverage mobile
    • Governance: who owns the mobile strategy and enforces company standards and processes
    • Technology: definition, documentation, implementation and testing of IT methodology, processes and deliverables
    • Data: storage and maintenance of back-end information
    • Security: protection against data loss, data corruption, security breaches, network downtime and lost or stolen devices
    • Device: supporting and protecting mobile assets as tools for the organization to help accomplish business goals
    • User Experience: designing intuitive and compelling mobile experiences that are in line with users’ perceptions and needs
    • Compliance: conforming to legal and regulatory policy
    Figure 1: A Web of Mobile Strategy Interests. The large blue circles represent the overarching categories in the mobile maturity model. The smaller grey circles break down the larger categories into concrete examples.


    Few today can question the benefits of mobile. Overwhelmingly, the problem is not that companies are without a mobile strategy; chances are that they have several well-received mobile applications. Rather, companies are lacking an effective mobile roadmap: a plan that realizes where their company is and what point they want to reach in a designated time and budget.

    The Maturity Model in Figure 2 shows the levels of maturity horizontally, across the top. These range from intrigued to benchmark, increasing in maturity from left to right. The above-described mobile capabilities are listed vertically. Each capability can be measured by business checkpoints on the continuum of maturity (described in each cell).

    Figure 2: A Tabular Representation of the Mobile Maturity Model. (Vertical rows indicate the levels of maturity, from intrigued to benchmark, while horizontal rows describe key mobile capabilities. Each cell indicates the complexity of the capability in each level.)


    Translating the maturity model into a roadmap, or actionable plan, is simple.

    There are three steps:

    1. Determine the starting point
      To determine the roadmap starting point, firms should circle the cell in each capability that most accurately reflects its mobile strategy. It is rare that a single company falls perfectly into a single level of maturity.
    2. Find the end goal
      After assessing the current state, the goal of the roadmap is to set targets to move the firm’s mobile strategy to a more mature state. These targets should be driven by business goals, not by aiming to reach the benchmark category. Following this principle will indicate the appropriate budget and resource allocation.
    3. Connect the dots
      By this point, each mobile capability should have two cells identified—the company’s current mobile state and its target mobile state. When creating a mobile initiative, firms must identify the steps needed to go from the start to the end goal. Doing so creates a mobile roadmap with milestones and checkpoints that can be estimated, communicated and evaluated.


    Consider this example of how an oil company would create its roadmap. The firm’s business goal is to empower employees to negotiate deals for the best prices as quickly as possible. It would like to increase revenue and decrease time from sales initiation to deal close. The oil company has extensively researched how its employees, competitor’s employees and the industry in general uses mobile technologies. Figure 3 illustrates a mobile use case that it has constructed.

    Figure 3: A Mobile Use Case Detailing How an Oil Company’s Analysts Interact with Mobile Technology on the Job.

    Next, the company translated its business goals into requirements and decided which devices and technologies are most practical to support. By assigning different owners, IT managed all technology-related details and the business managed the rest. This led the company to a successful development and implementation of the application. Despite the successful launch, the firm does not have a mobile strategy of the highest maturity. Figure 4 demonstrates where it resides on the mobile maturity model—somewhere between levels 2 and 3.

    Figure 4: The Oil Company’s Mobile Maturity Model.

    Following the success of the first application, the oil company wanted to address another business case through mobile strategy. Continuing its business goal, the firm opted to decrease the time from sales initiation to deal close. Currently, the sales team goes through a multi-channel process, interacting with its client face-to-face, on the phone and via internal or remote access.

    Based on user research, the oil company concluded that it can improve its process in the time between the conception of a new deal and checking current pricing. Applying a mobile strategy would lead the firm to its ideal use case, demonstrated in Figure 5. To get to a point where such an application could be developed, the firm needs to invest in a larger mobile-focused team, protection of data and security and regulatory compliance, since the proposed application will be dealing with confidential information. Figure 6 illustrates the proposed mobile roadmap. Now, the firm can create a plan to mature in each focus of the roadmap.

    Figure 5: The Oil Company’s Ideal Use Case.
    Figure 6: The Proposed Mobile Maturity Roadmap. (Orange circles indicate the company’s current mobile state and the green ones indicate their target state. The purple arrows that connect the orange and green circles construct the firm’s mobile roadmap.)


    Firms that go through the process of identifying a maturity level (or two), establishing maturity goals and creating a roadmap to accomplish them should consider the following challenges:

    1. Security
      Mobile devices are creeping into organizations, whether IT has planned for them or not. As consumers increasingly purchase mobile devices, they bring them into the workplace and use them to perform their jobs. iPads provide interactivity in client demos and smartphones enable employees to work from trains. By assessing the benefits gained from these technological encroachments, firms will likely want to empower their employees to continue with the remote and mobile work. This requires understanding the increased security risks and developing a plan to address them.
    2. Governance
      Great plans and talented resources will only thrive within the proper organizational design. Figure 7 illustrates a typical governance model required to produce and implement a mobile strategy. It is important to note that there are overlapping arrows, indicating that the same personnel might play multiple roles. While each team owns part of the mobile strategy, i.e. IT owns security, the key to managing a broad team is to designate a single owner. This single owner should weave together team members and ideas to ensure consistent standards, collaboration, connection to business goals and optimization of resources.
    3. Mobile Devices
      The mobile device market is rapidly evolving. Regardless of whether employees are using an iPhone 5 or Blackberry 10, firms should stand back and focus on the big picture. A well-written mobile strategy considers the firm’s key objectives, not quick reactions to new technologies or competitors’ initiatives. This will propel any company towards its goals regardless of which technology is most popular.
    4. Remote Access
      Employees can benefit from remote access while commuting, both at home and in the field. However, not every instance that users connect to workplace systems is considered mobile (and therefore should not be factored into the mobile strategy). If unsure, firms should try assessing the use cases to see if they can be completed on a laptop. Anything that a user can do on a laptop is not mobile; therefore, no mobile strategy budget and resources should be allocated to support it.
    Figure 7: Governance Model of Mobile Strategy—Involving Multiple Teams and Owners.


    Today, the benefits of mobile technology are clear, yet many firms in the capital and commodity markets are deterred from maturing their mobile strategy due to higher priorities or loosely defined approaches. By creating a mobile roadmap, firms will have an actionable plan, complete with milestones and deliverables.

    Translating this roadmap into a strategy will ensure that a firm’s mobile initiatives are being built with standards, collaboration, consistency, connection to business goals and optimization of resources. It will also help to estimate more accurate investments of time, money and resources. And, planning within the maturity model will help firms reap the benefits of mobile—efficiently and on budget.

    The Authors
    Parry Ruparelia

    Parry Ruparelia
    leads Sapient Global Markets’ User Experience and Visualization Practice in Houston with a particular focus on the capital and commodity markets. He has led user-centered design projects from conception to delivery for 15 years. Parry is an expert in creative leadership, facilitating stakeholder workshops, gathering and developing user requirements, providing project leadership in producing design concepts, and addressing key visualization and experience design opportunities.

    Matt Hopgood

    Matt Hopgood
    is based in London and co-leads Sapient’s Visualization practice. Matt has a background in business and digital strategy, creative and commercial leadership, web/application support, user-centered design (UCD), information architecture and content management. Recently, Matt has worked on P&L apps for energy majors, collaboration tools for market data providers, collateral management for a central bank, risk, balance sheet substantiation and mobile strategies for Investment Banks.

    Jennifer Evans

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