The difference between “mobile” & “mobility” and why it matters to you

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In his insightful HBR.org post, David Armano suggests that pursing a mobile as a channel is akin to investing in web browsers. Instead, firms should focus on mobility. “Mobility means information, convenience, and social all served up on the go, across a variety of screen sizes and devices.

Mobility trumps mobile. The difference between mobility and mobile is like the difference between hardware and software. Mobile is linked to devices — it is always one thing, wherever it is. But mobility changes with context: cultures incorporate mobile technologies differently.”

1. Establish a Center of Excellence – Resist the temptation to rely too much on a guru. A single individual cannot scale. Instead, form a cross-organization group that puts mobility at the core, and integrates it with other business initiatives.

2. Don’t “App Everything.” Popular apps such as Flipboard or Pulse point to a future of consumer “appgregation” — using one app to aggregate many sources of content. Instead of creating a whole host of apps that few are likely to download, invest in making your “digital ecosystem” more mobile-friendly.

3. Don’t put mobile tactics in front of strategy. In the early days of the web, every site seemed to have an animated GIF or a clunky site-counter. In the early days of social, companies spent millions on costly Facebook apps with cute gimmicks but no real utility or sharing value. Today, companies are scrambling to come up with something “mobile” whether or not users will actually want it. The outcome is the same in across all of these examples: a low number of visits/installs/downloads and ho-hum business results. Tomorrow’s winners of today’s mobile gold rush will boast significant (and sustainable) usage numbers due to the value of their content, whether it’s sheer utility or impossible-to-ignore entertainment value.

Are you launching apps for a mobile channel or creating a multi-platform device agnostic mobility strategy?

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One Response to The difference between “mobile” & “mobility” and why it matters to you

  1. […] mobile but in a mobility context too. There is a difference, as this Harvard Business Review article asks: “Are you launching apps for a mobile channel or creating a multi-platform device […]

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