That is the question I have been asking myself for the last week or so. I know you might think that it’s a little odd for someone like me who is so passionate to be asking this question, but I think it’s an important one…especially given all the marketing hype we’re hearing in the industry are “Mobile First.”
Everything is now mobile first. When you think about a business process, you’re going to want to think about the mobile app that has to be built for it…right? Mobile is everywhere, everything and all new tools will be mobile. Why doesn’t that ring true for me though?
Now mind you, I have said for eons that every facet of an organization will impact and be impacted by mobile technology…but does that really mean that everything should go mobile?
I don’t think so.
See, there’s NO question that mobile makes things better. The sheer convenience of being able to access information at any time and any place makes us more informed…and don’t forget the old adage “knowledge is power.” We all know this, but I think it’s worth saying again – mobile is transformative.
But let me ask the question one more time. Does that really mean that everything should go mobile?
Let’s look at the classic productivity suite. I’m sorry, but I can’t ever imagine a scenario where editing or creating an Office document on my smartphone makes sense. Quickly editing a Word file on my tablet can work (if I have a keyboard), but have you ever tried manipulating a complex spreadsheet or PowerPoint file on a tablet? It’s challenging at best.
But what about back-end applications? I’m talking specifically about big systems that do a lot of batch processing. There’s NO way that can be done on a mobile device. Just look at the debacle that occurred yesterday with the NASDAQ. Could that have even been maintained via a mobile tool? Of course not.
Now that doesn’t mean that mobile is not or should not be a component of the total ecosystem. Last week, I heard one person say that it’s better to think about “mobile always” as opposed to mobile first. I found that statement to be so cogent that it was what inspired me to write this missive.
See, my concern with “mobile first” is that there is a real chance to go down the slippery slope that will have your organization throw the proverbial kitchen sink into the application. It (and the business process you are trying to modernize) will then become bloated, unwieldy and unusable. That’s exactly the antithesis of what mobile should be. Mobile is nimble. Mobile is timely. Mobile is fast and convenient. Mobile is sexy.
So as opposed to thinking mobile first, I would suggest you think about Mobile Second. Think about how you can change/improve a business process/system and only then, think about where mobile technologies can have a measurable and accretive impact on the people engaged in that business process. That’s the true power of mobile.