The Mobile Economy is Booming…Are You a Part of It?
Vijay Dheap 100000S29E firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  mobile mobile_transactions bpm m-commerce mobile_enterprise
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Do you recall how the mobile revolution got kick-started? It all began with games, social networking and email at our fingertips. But mobile interactions are rapidly evolving into the next stage of maturity, not unlike how the web was transformed, with increased demand for transactions. EBay is a good barometer to highlight this trend because it has both a retail arm and a financial arm. Earlier this month, eBay reported that mobile shopping and PayPal’s total mobile payment volume would each reach $10 Billion in 2012. EBay’s CEO, John Donahoe, called the growth in mobile transactions “a staggering surge”.1 This is not just a single data point, Gartner expects the volume and value of mobile transactions to exceed $171.5 Billion in 2012 and utilized by more than 212.2 million mobile users.2
The growth of m-commerce growth was being anticipated for a long time, it seemed apparent that consumers generally leverage a new channel to make purchase decisions if it offers greater convenience. But, mobile transactions are extending beyond that. Mobile transactions while being led by the finance and retail industries will inevitably become the norm in other industries as well. For example, mobile health is not just health related information exchange anymore but driven by transactions possibly performed even without explicit user intervention to improve quality of care. mHealth is projected to be a $4.6 Billion market by 2014.3 Automotive is another area, which is a natural fit for mobile transactions. As cars become more intelligent many automotive companies are creating a network of their fleets to provide value-added services to drivers. Imagine running a diagnostic on your vehicle without having taking it to the mechanic.
As an organization decides whether to participate in the mobile economy, it is important to note that the potential of enabling mobile transactions is not limited to the business to consumer realm. Given that mobility decentralizes decision making and empowers employees, businesses can become more responsive to market opportunities and challenges by engaging in mobile transactions with partners. In the shipping and delivery industry mobile transactions have the potential of revolutionizing just-in-time supply chains. In developing countries, mobile transactions provide the relatively cheap infrastructure necessary for coordinating activities of distributed entities working together to deliver a product or service. Within the enterprise, enabling employees to perform mobile transactions can reduce overhead, streamline processes and improve productivity. Consider the expense reimbursement use case. If the employee is able to take a picture of receipts as they incur charges and populate their reimbursement forms, the organization can get close to real-time view of its operational costs, reduce staff for processing claims and employees can spend more of their time performing their core duties rather than filling out expense reports.
Once the decision has been made to join the mobile economy, a strategy needs to be formulated. Take the approach most banks employed before they enabled banking transactions on their mobile apps. Identify a minimal set of high value or high volume transactions to enable. Next develop an understanding of the implementation requirements. It is important to define the business processes of the transactions the organization wants to support. Enforcement of the defined business processes necessitates policies for governance, traceability for transparency and security for transactional integrity. A mobile payment system will be a pre-requisite for all monetary transactions. As with any mobile project, the user experience will require careful design to reap the projected value proposition. The platform and infrastructure for supporting mobile transactions has to be elastic – a natural fit for a cloud-based solution. This enables an organization to limit expense during periods of low activity but the ability to scale during times of high demand. Take a phased approach to deployment allowing the organization to address gaps that only become apparent during execution.
So what are your thoughts on the mobile economy and mobile transactions? Do connect with me on Twitter (@dheap) to carry on this discussion and dive into greater detail on how an organization can make a successful entrance into the mobile economy. Cheers!