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In the not-so-distant past (pre-2007), business and IT interaction was for matters concerning only web development. This still required collaboration between groups, but it was a longer, slower waterfall process that lacked the urgency of the mobile age. Now, companies are discovering the financial and brand loyalty rewards of being a fast-moving, agile, mobile development shop. Mobile apps are in demand and need to be updated frequently. Responsive websites that work consistently across all devices are becoming the norm. New mobile devices are released each month and constant innovation is now table stakes.
Thanks to this shift, it’s necessary to consolidate different technology groups through a new department called “digital”, where websites, mobile apps, and any brand properties are all designed to work together as one unified strategy that’s aligned with business goals.
Yet there are still web and social media groups within organizations pushing out experiences that may look different from the mobile app. While the fast release cycles of mobile development necessitate more conversations between business and IT teams, the two groups often have different goals and objectives and remain wary of each other. In a 2015 Forrester survey of IT and business decision-makers at companies going digital, 42% of respondents “struggle with differences in culture between marketing, technology management and the business.”
In this report, we’ll discuss how poor IT and business alignment can have a direct effect on the quality of mobile apps and websites. We’ll also offer three tips for overcoming those “differences in culture” so both groups can target the same goals.
Despite a growing awareness about the risks of having a disconnect between business and IT, it persists all the same.
PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 62% of business leaders stated they were not consistently working on IT governance related matters. At the same time, Forbes reported that 77% of organizations feel as though siloed information and processes are hindering them from achieving optimal performances, and that they don’t have the solutions necessary to break down those barriers.
There are two core consequences for this kind of disconnect.
If there’s no communication between business and IT teams about who the target customers are, the user experience will suffer because app development is not done using company personas and apps are not tested against real user conditions such as switching networks, user load spikes and phone call interruptions.
This is not a small problem. Mobile testing that’s based on assumptions — and the shoddy user experience that inevitably follows — will negatively impact revenue, perhaps even stock price. On the flip side, a joint report from Forrester Research and IBM found that “great apps” generate five times more revenue than “good apps” on average, with the former being defined by mastering reliability, uptime, ease of use and battery usage.
Your brand integrity is also sure to get knocked down by poor digital quality. For example, McDonald’s is an iconic American brand, but on app market data site App Annie its mobile app gets a lowly average of 2 stars along with a litany of negative reviews. There are various root causes for McDonald’s app problems, but with complaints of slow load times, log-in issues and crashes, the app was likely developed and tested in a vacuum.
When IT and business groups work in silos and digital quality suffers, there are external and internal costs.
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Just getting the two teams to talk is not enough. A methodical digital quality plan needs to be at the heart of collaboration between IT and the business. Development and testing practices that are not based on the company’s customer analytics and target personas are effectively being done in the dark.
Making the leap from disconnected to fruitful collaboration can be difficult, but following these three tips can help close the gap more quickly and efficiently:
In today’s mobile-first world, it’s not enough for executives to assume that IT and business departments are working toward the same end-goals. The best way to truly achieve this is by creating a dedicated team that focuses on the digital experience, creates goals that span departments and demands a high-quality UX across all web and mobile products.
Organizations that do this will be on the right path to delivering digital quality of the highest caliber.
Investing in digital experience? Interested in quality best practices? Here are some helpful resources.