Mobile is the topic at the top of the list for just about every organizations customer experience strategy. What things does Adobe VP of Enterprise Marketing, Kevin Cochrane, see and hear most from his customers?

1. Taking Responsibility for the Mobile Experience

Since January Cochrane has noticed that more organizations are taking responsibility for their own mobile user experience. They are taking control and developing the expertise needed to build their own mobile solutions, including maintenance and support -- think core competencies for UX coupled with mobile web development for both internal and external mobile user experiences.

It wasn't that long ago that organizations paid third party agencies to provide end-to-end support -- very similar to how it started with websites). But times are changing. But there's a greater awareness now that mobile needs to be become a core competency and should be tied to overall web application development expertise.

Here's a question. This makes sense for enterprises who have the resources and finances to build mobile platforms, but what about the small to mid sized organization? The way that mobile web app and site development works today and the cost to do it can preclude them from building their own mobile experience. Cochrane said that establishing standards and frameworks will help SMBs take advantage of the mobile web.

2. Platforms for Mobile Content Management

Many organizations are starting to look at a platform for mobile content management and application development. They are looking to economize the skill sets and develop a set of skills/technologies for the development team.

There's a desire to provision the right tools and infrastructure for internal mobile experience development. This is a separate infrastructure designed to support mobile apps. Cochrane believes this decision is based on a best of breed approach where organizations want to put the best tools in place for the job instead of relying on a web application infrastructure that is already in place that may not offer the best solution (it could be old, mobile could have been an add-on afterthought, it may not offer mobile).

Although this is the trend they are seeing, Cochrane doesn't necessarily think it makes sense. The best strategy is that there should be a common platform for content management to share and reuse not just content, but context across all the experiences.

Cochrane says companies are looking to standardize on how they will support the mobile experience best without tying themselves to existing infrastructures. So the idea may be that this new mobile infrastructure will become the primary platform and all website development will move to that platform.

3. BYOD

Lots of discussion on allowing employees to bring their own devices to work (Adobe supports a BYOD policy). This approach means that organizations need to make certain their solutions can be offered on a wide range of devices.

This means that you need the right tools to help you design and build solutions and see how they look on multiple devices. If you want to see what Adobe is working on to support this, check out Adobe Shadow.

4. Responsive Design

Adobe has made "mobile first" its mantra, with desktop following behind. This is a model that is being adopted across the industry. Says Cochrane:

  • It has become a core tenant of web design -- mobile is a growth opportunity (optimize first for mobile devices)
  • With the online customer experience you need to think more broadly than the website and mobile has become a primary driver.

Cochrane says there is the same divide between web and mobile as there is between web and print. Organizations are realizing that mobile design is not about squeezing the website down into a smaller view. The first design you should do out the gate, Cochrane says is for the iPhone, then the iPad and then the desktop.

Responsive design has become part of the mainstream conversation right now. (To better understand what responsive design is read: The Rise of Responsive Design or Why Today's Most Popular Mobile Strategy is Doomed to Failure). Adobe believes this approach to design experiences is going to continue.

This topic was big in our recent mobile CXM tweet jam this past week. Check out the summary.

5. HTML5

According to Cochrane there is a lack of tooling and frameworks for mobile app development. People are moving away from the bespoke native apps for iOS or Android and looking for leverage HTML5 for a "write once, run anywhere" development model.

Of course Cochrane acknowledges there will always be a need for native apps, especially for internal applications, but HTML5 has moved front and center and Adobe is working hard to meet this demand. 

6. A Holistic Rethinking of How Employees Engage with Customers

Many organizations are looking more at how their employees are interacting with customers. So they are tying the external customer experience with the internal employee mobile experience.

Cochrane says Adobe sees a lot of discussion across a number of verticals where organizations are thinking about the employee experience on mobile devices. How can employees serve customer best where anywhere they are.

According to Cochrane, Adobe sees employee apps focused more on customer loyalty and retention, while external customer experiences focus on customer acquisition.

7. Incorporating Social in the Mobile Experience

As they rethinking these employee focused mobile apps that support customers, organizations are also rethinking how to best incorporate social elements into the experience. In the context of an employee experience, social is very important. Adobe sees trends for mobile apps that are essentially  employee knowledge networks (with things like comments and ratings). So social is being thought of more broadly than just the external customer experience.

So there you have it, seven key trends in mobile from Adobe's perspective. Most of these are trends we are hearing across the board from vendors and analysts alike. Have you seen anything different? Are these trends mainly for the enterprise, or are SMBs working with the same challenges and opportunities?