Robin Neidorf Vendor Chaos in the Mobile World: A View from the FreePint Community of Practice
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By Robin Neidorf

Abstract

A challenge in the mobile space is that content vendors are all over the place, with regard to what they enable, what they can do, and how far they can support your strategy. FreePint's Community of Practice: Mobile Deployment in the Enterprise explores the reasons for this, as well as what you can do to address the chaos effectively.

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FreePint's Community of Practice: Mobile Deployment in the Enterprise focuses on the challenges and opportunities of mobile deployment of content in the enterprise. Robin Neidorf reports on the recent session which concentrated on the challenges faced by content vendors and publishers when developing their strategies for tackling the mobile opportunity.

Many publishers don’t even seem to have a strategy for tackling the transition to mobile, and that in itself is part of the block to opening up opportunities for them and opening up content to a wider audience of purchasers and users. As the Community reports, if you don’t know where you're going, then just about any path will take you there... eventually. And to make life more challenging, there are many flavours of "publisher", some you may deal with directly and some through third parties.

When developing a mobile strategy, ideally your partners should have a view on what they think excellence looks like, so that you can work together on agreement about the overall direction. However, if a vendor has its strategy so rigidly defined that there’s no deviating from it, that’s not going to work very well in an area of technology that’s still rapidly changing and emerging.

Multiple Projects Make for Slow Mobile Progress

Even good vendor-partner relationships won't necessarily mean speedy progress on mobile projects.

Consider a company like Alacra, which has a reputation for being a very good partner in working out mobile and other technology challenges: a vendor aiming to be a good partner may have 15 or 20 projects much like yours in process at any given time, each with its own requirements. They might have developed centralised strategy for mobile  - or they might not yet have a formal strategy at all - but either way mobile deployment is going to take up a great deal of vendors' resources, the same way your project with that vendor competes with other demands for your resources.

Moving into the Mobile Space

But it's also important to step back from these specific, “How do I work with a vendor?” questions and look more broadly at what vendors and publishers of information products are facing when they try to move into mobile space. The strategic decisions will range from which device platforms to focus on to which content or products to make available first, whether to use an existing platform or a bespoke, and how to price and market the new offerings.

I think that regardless of who you're working with today, having the knowledge of the challenges you're likely to face supports you in building better projects in the future. It will help you create more appropriate RFPs and better understand what vendors mean when they respond to them.

Being armed with a mobile strategy will help you to set your expectations, the vendor’s expectations, and - dare I suggest - even your leadership team’s expectations around what's possible and how long it's going to take.

FreePint Subscribers can log in to view three in-depth articles on mobile deployment:

Who Can - and Should - Participate in this Community of Practice?

This CoP is designed for information managers responsible for content selection and delivery within their organisations.

Whilst there are no direct costs for joining the CoP, your organisation must have an active FreePint Subscription at the "Team" level or higher to join.

Learn more, and then get started by emailing me (robin.neidorf@freepint.com). I will send additional information, including registration materials.

The first session took place in February 2013 but a limited number of seats are still available. If you don't yet have a FreePint Subscription, start the conversation by completing our online form, "How Can FreePint Help?" And if you are unsure if your organisation has a subscription, contact us for assistance.

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