I am thrilled to be invited back to address the Advanced Practices Council (APC) of the Society for Information Management. The APC commissioned a research report on mobile app development in highly regulated industries. Over the last few months, I have collaborated with Paul Simon (CEO of iHear Network and my former graduate student at the University of Washington) on this research report.The presentation will take place on Jan 22, 2014 at the Intercontinental Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mobile App Development in Highly Regulated Industries: Risks, Rewards, and Recipes
Mobile computing has the potential to be as disruptive to the status quo as the introduction of the modern Internet in the 1990s or the Model T was nearly 100 years ago. Organizations need to not only understand the risks of mobile computing, but develop strategies to incorporate it before it fatally disrupts their current business model. Some of the rewards of a well thought out mobile strategy include increasing revenues or new revenue streams, greater brand awareness and customer loyalty, and a new set of tools to increase employee productivity. Firms in highly regulated industries face an even more complex set of challenges when considering how to approach the mobile space. Highly regulated industries have additional constraints for developing mobile software because of the additional layer(s) of regulation that dictate the protection and communication of information. It is important for these businesses to implement comprehensive security solutions that go beyond standard industry regulatory systems. Since regulations always lag behind technological advancement, organizations should think more proactively about how their actions might trigger future legislative responses and how their actions impact the user’s expectations of privacy and trust. Although there are risks associated with an organization’s increased use of mobile devices, the rewards that could flow from developing, implementing, and continuously iterating upon a coherent mobile strategy are enormous. In a Pew Research Center study, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their cell phone to go online, 34% said they do most of their internet browsing on their mobile phone. It would be detrimental to the long-term viability of an organization to ignore such trends. Traditional linear modes of developing strategy will not be sufficient or flexible enough to keep up with the rate of innovation in mobile hardware, software, and mobile operating systems. Design thinking has grown beyond just a methodology for developing software products and experiences and now a growing amount of managers are using design thinking as a means of developing business strategy. This non-linear mode of strategy development is better suited for building a mobile strategy as it will provide greater insight into the needs and desires of end users, foster innovative and creative solutions, and provide greater flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances caused by the disruptive forces of the mobile revolution. This enables the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to provide greater leadership that leads to both internal and external innovative opportunities for mobile strategy development.