Mobile will be the focus of branded digital experience in 2017: Forrester

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It’s November, which means the 2017 predictions for the telecoms/IT sectors are starting to roll in. First on our radar is Forrester Research, which predicts that mobile will be the main face of the branded digital experience in 2017. Also, apps are pretty much done.

According to Forrester’s just-released 2017 Mobile Predictions report, 2016 was the year mobile “evolved from a stand-alone channel to a baseline for all branded digital experiences”. That trend will continue in 2017 as mobile becomes the battleground to win, serve and retain customers.

The catch, writes analyst Julie Ask, who serves eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals at Forrester, is that the “mobile moment” – what it is, when it appears, etc – will become a nebulous concept as mobile shifts from apps on smartphones to platforms and connected devices and, at some point, a personal consumer ecosystem:

App usage as we know it has likely peaked. In 2017, platforms will expand in importance as consumers continue to consolidate their time into fewer places on the smartphone. Already, they spend 84% of their time in just five apps. These experiences that we loosely still refer to as mobile (but not for much longer) experience will lives as fragments on third party platforms [OTT messaging services like WhatsApp, WeChat and iMessage, for example]. Consumers will still use apps for in-depth experiences with brands, but will increasingly use fragments to get quick things done.

Meanwhile, Ask says, the use of virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant to orchestrate content and services will move beyond the current early-adopter stage. Assuming their interfaces become increasingly conversational (which they are expected to do), they’ll “extend their ability to serve customers in their mobile moments beyond native services by opening their platforms to third parties.”

For brands hoping to capitalize on all this, Ask recommends that they get started now on building those experiences, which will depend on agility, continuous learning and automation to succeed. To that end, Ask predicts that we’ll see three particular trends in 2017.

First, consumer app fatigue will push enterprises to build a portfolio of mobile experiences to serve customers, as well as reinvest in their owned mobile moments with renewed investment in the web to support that breadth.

Second, as mobile becomes more mission-critical to their business, enterprises will take more ownership of designing mobile experiences rather than outsourcing mobile-related projects to third parties.

And third, they’re going to need faster and more modular apps-oriented architectures, Ask writes:

Consumer-demand for messaging, app fragments, and better browser experiences will push digital business professionals to work with technology counterparts to create more flexible apps, architecture and infrastructure. Next year is the year functional programming evolves from academia to the enterprise. Application infrastructure powers this change. Instead of building objects that interact with each other, developers will use Lambda architectures to code reactions to environmental changes.

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