p>As consultancy director of Mubaloo, Juan Pablo (JP) Luchetti has worked with over 200 companies over the past few years to help them get a better understanding of mobile and how they can effectively implement mobile initiatives. Hailing from Argentina, JP was a consultant at Deloitte working with companies across LATAM, before co-founding his own mobile agency in South America and eventually heading to the UK and Mubaloo in 2012.
At Apps World 2015, JP will be talking about taking a user centric approach to mobile strategy. All the big technology companies have been waxing lyrical over the past month at their events about the importance of putting users first and technolgy last. Here, JP talks to us about some of the big trends in mobile strategy at the moment.
The consumerisation of IT partly seemed to be about creating business apps around the same concepts of consumer apps; how is this any different to a user centric approach?
It’s very much aligned to what you’d consider a user centric approach, the interesting bit is that you build apps for the enterprise and you give apps to your employees, telling them what to adopt. Consumers, however adopt whatever they like, nobody gives us a rule book.
In the consumer market, people are adopting what makes their life easier and when you look at taking a user centric approach for enterprise, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to figure out what the problem is, what is going to get users excited, what is going to change people’s lives to then go and implement that. Approaching enterprise apps should be exactly the same.
Apps that fail are the ones that don’t really understand the users, what their problems are or doesn’t help solve issues in a meaningful and simple way. With enterprise, there’s the added element of needing a large change management process in place. The difference is in the outcome, but the approach is the same. What we want to do is build a solution that hits the nail on the head of the pain point of the user.
Instead of building from behind a change management process, it’s about building behind the user and their problems. This comes to understanding the areas in their workflow or their life that can be improved, enabling them to do more.
Don’t all companies have a strategy for mobile?
No, not at all. Mobile is a technology that’s very easy to react to. We still have companies coming to us today saying ‘Our CEO told us that we need an app, so we’re building one.’
The thought behind the app isn’t as complete as it should be. Building apps is something that’s very easy. Integrating an app isn’t a complicated thing. We see this with shadow IT, where it’s easy to bypass IT because it’s easy to grab a couple of APIs and build an app to provide support to operational teams.
A lot of requirements for apps come directly from line of business, without real thought around strategy, or real thought around roadmaps. This includes, who owns the roadmap, the framework behind it or how it’s going to be supported. From that point of view, mobile is a very easy technology to have a reactive approach to.
The companies who are really leveraging the value of mobile are the ones who are looking at the bigger picture and looking at where the overall ROI is. It’s worth remembering that technology is now moving at a faster speed than it ever has before.
Over the past 8 years, a lot of CIOs and other senior IT leaders have needed to adapt to a world where new operating systems are released every year. That’s a big change from the past, where it would be every few years.
Even now, many companies are still running legacy OS and legacy software. You just can’t operate like that today, it’s not healthy. We’re evolving rapidly from a technology perspective, it’s important for companies to realise that and set the culture of rapid change in place.
You mention that companies are coming saying CEOs are asking for apps, how much does that still happen?
It happens here and there. If we look at the market, we see two very different types of companies. We have the very mature companies who want to look at the bigger picture and want to define a roadmap. They want to define where the solution is going and how they’re going to continue supporting it and be innovative.
Then there are the companies who are very immature and playing catch up. We love these types of companies because the value they see from the early implementations are huge. They come to us because they look at the market and see that some of their competitors have something out there and are being successful. They’re reacting to the fact that they have no presence on mobile and they realise that if they don’t take action, they will soon be eclipsed.
We see some companies who are very mature, who lead the pack. Then we see the ones who are less mature, who are maybe doing benchmarking but without having the visibility for where solutions are going.
What do you mean by visibility with enterprise apps? Is it having apps on public stores or just talking about what they are doing and educating the market?
We’re seeing examples on the enterprise side of applications that really change the way companies deliver their product. The ones that push the boundaries are the ones who change the way they deliver. This is about being able to produce things that either they couldn’t before, or significantly faster to their clients or stakeholders.
Whether that’s by understanding the type of solution they’re going to deliver, or delivering a completely different product, sometimes it’s not just about visibility in the market and being on the store.
As enterprise applications often don’t sit on the store, it’s about producing a way of working that you couldn’t do before. That’s where mobile first comes from. For example, a company may be using the web or some kind of desktop software – maybe they’re not even at that stage yet and still reliant on paper processes – but they then utilise mobile to implement something they couldn’t before.
If you look around today, there are so many services that couldn’t exist without smartphones and everything that they enable. One example from Mubaloo is an app we created for Alamy, one of the world’s leading stock photography companies. Alamy had seen that its photographers were increasingly uploading photos from their smartphones, so wanted to create a way to make that easier.
We worked with them to understand their market and what they needed to be able to also sell those photos onto customers. The result was Stockimo, an app that helps people to make money from their photography. It’s become hugely successful for Alamy and very popular with its customers.
Other examples come from wealth management, where people can have better visibility and control over the way they engage with their wealth managers. When you put tools in the hands of end users to help make their lives easier, it’s amazing to see what the impact can be. It’s the key of mobile first, to be there for the times your users need you.