Six out of seven billion people on this planet have mobile phones and they are using it not only to communicate but also to transact. According to a Forbes report, more than 62 per cent of those with smartphones have made a purchase using their mobile devices in the past six months.
As your organisation embarks on digital transformation, this is an important factor to keep in mind. Increasingly, your customers, business partners and employees will be interacting and transacting with you on their mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. So as you re-think your business models and redesign your processes for digital transformation, it is wise to put mobile centricity front and centre of your considerations.
What does “mobile-centric” really mean?
Mobile centricity simply means delivering an omni-channel experience that leverages mobile capabilities and technologies to enhance the entire user experience and not just the smart phone experience. This allows users to access online contents and transact seamlessly using their hand-held mobile devices or kiosks.
With a mobile centric approach, you are making use of mobile devices as your main platform to drive digital transformation. The user experience that you create on mobile devices must be just as effective, if not more so, than any other user touchpoint. But it is also important to think about mobile devices and platforms not just as another customer channel but also as an all-encompassing strategy for breaking down silos, leveraging next-generation technologies and innovating for the future.
This mindset has helped to revolutionise business and operating models for some private sector enterprises (think Netflix and mobile banking) and also transformed the way public agencies engage with the community and deliver services to citizens.
In Singapore, agencies like the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Police Force and Land Transport Authority (just to name a few) have adopted mobile-centric strategies to inform, engage and empower citizens and customers.
Positive disruption to public services
The SGSecure app launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs allows the Police and the SCDF to alert users to major emergencies such as terrorist attacks and public order incidents. It also allows users to inform the agencies of major incidents via text, photos or videos using mobile devices, empowering them to play a critical role in homeland security.
Another app by SCDF, myResponder, notifies members of the public – also known as Community First Responders – of cardiac arrest and fire cases within 400m of their location, as well as the location of the nearest AEDs. This helps save lives by bringing together the community and agency to render assistance.
To better serve the needs of commuters and road users beyond providing information through the LTA website, LTA’s app MyTransport.SG provides user-centric features such as a multi-modal journey planner, alerts and a host of other functions to deliver personalised travel experiences to bus and MRT users, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Breaking down silos
It is important to note that the pivotal aspect of a mobile-centric strategy is not just about rolling out applications via mobile platforms; it is about breaking down silos in the back end so that the data and applications can come together to deliver user-centric services.
Take LTA’s MyTransport.SG app for example. It is powered by LTA Data Mall, a platform that brings together a wide variety of land transport-related datasets for stakeholders (enterprises, third-party developers, researchers, and other members of the public) to co-create innovative and inclusive transport solutions. The information that MyTransport.SG provides to its users (such as road conditions, bus arrival times etc) is taken from the LTA Data Mall.
If mobile technology is viewed as the car driving digital transformation, data is the fuel that is powering it. It is the combination of mobile technology and data that sets the stage for a mobile-centric digital transformation.
This can be a very powerful catalyst for change. Beyond impacting individual organisations, the combination can also serve as a platform for transforming entire ecosystems.
The transport sector is a case in point. The combination of mobile technology and data paves the way for a disruptive transformation of the transport ecosystem that shifts the operating paradigm away from personally-owned modes of transportation towards the provision of Mobility-as-a-Service (referring to transportation).
This is enabled by combining transportation services from public and private transportation providers through a unified gateway that creates and manages each trip, which users can pay for with a single account. So a commuter could potentially use an application on his mobile device to plan his end-to-end journey by taking the MRT, then picking up a bicycle at the MRT station to ride to his destination.
How to get started
Such are the possibilities and opportunities that open up with a mobile-centric business strategy. But where does your organisation begin on this journey? Here are a few principles to help jump-start the process:
With these considerations in mind, start developing a proper strategy and plan for your organisation to embark on a mobile-first digital transformation. You need to make sure that you are making the right investments in mobile technologies to power your business into the future.