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Assessing Low-Hanging Fruit in Your Mobile Strategy

Thursday, May 9, 2013
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Last week, I covered “ The First Steps In Bringing Mobile Learning To Your Sales Team.” In that post, I outlined some key thoughts for framing your mobile learning efforts for sales enablement around the tried-and-true phrase, “Just in Time, Just Enough, and Just for Me.” Cliché? Possibly. Effective? Absolutely.

This week, I’d like to take some time to explore the topic of choosing a project to get started. Just how do you bring some of those experiences mentioned before—just-in-time delivery of sales job aids, performance support and, other sorts of tools—to mobile? What is the decision-making process that informs your decision to choose one option over another? How will you move that content over, and how will you know it’s been successful once it’s in the field?

All too often, those starting mobile learning projects say that they just don’t know where to start. Sure, they may have ported a course or two over from Flash to HTML5 to deliver training on iPads that the corporate office had deployed to the sales team., but that was an answer to a specific call. They simply had to do it, and so they adopted a new tool or rebuilt the content to be mobile-friendly.

How do these teams now move to a more forward-thinking position and lead the charge to measureable performance improvement via mobile to technology? How do they meet their mobile audience with innovative solutions?

Taking inventory

The answer is elusive, but it’s easier to get to it than you might think. For every piece of learning material that has been produced to date, there are accompanying objectives or desired outcomes that precipitated the creation of them in the first place.

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It’s time to take inventory of the content you have, assess the core reason for the piece’s existence, and then make some decisions on whether those core reasons and learning objectives could be better served by being made to a mobile user. Some questions to use to help in the decision-making process:

  • Could the core reasons for why the material exists be better met by offering features and functionality not currently offered in the ahead-of-time training materials already available?
  • Can these new features and functionality be designed and developed by resources we have available (either in-house or outsourced)?
  • Can new training deliverables be created in a timeline that works for our team?
  • Is the deployment path for these deliverables something we can work within, and not get bogged down in?
  • Will the outcomes from deploying these new solutions be something we can measure in order to verify our success and learn where we can improve?

Creating a scorecard

Once your inventory has been completed and the sales enablement training materials have been isolated and reviewed, it’s time to assess them against the questions listed above. If the answers for the solution are definable—and you can clearly visualize a minimum viable product for the project—you may have just found yourself a winner.

This process may require creating a scorecard, of sorts, in which you review, rate, and rank your library. This sort of examination can be time-consuming, but remember that your first effort doesn’t need to be exhaustive. Speed to market is important, but these smaller mobile experiences should take weeks to concept and build, not months.

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Designing a solution

Once the scorecard is complete and your options weighed, it’s time to move into design and development. I recommend following an approach more akin to agile software design and development than traditional eLearning design and development. You must focus on user interface and user experience when moving to mobile. If you do not have a specialist on your team in this area, it’s time get one.

Because of the iterative nature of software design and development, and the relative ease of updating mobile apps and websites, you don’t need to worry about getting it completely perfect the first time. Remember, a key to this process is to measure and verify your success. You can adjust and update as needed based on the metrics you receive from your app’s usage analytics and user feedback—whether through Google Analytics, Flurry, or your preferred analytics platform (we will cover these a bit more in a forthcoming post).

Once your learners have succeeded, you’ll know you have, as well.

Like what you are hearing in this series so far? I hope so. Please join me next week as I delve into appealing to your sales team’s competitive nature. 

About the Author

As managing director of Float Mobile Learning, Chad Udell strategizes with Fortune 500 companies and their learning departments to help deliver mobile learning to employees. Chad also works with universities and other learning organizations to develop their unique visions of where and how to use mobile learning. Chad's focus is on understanding an organization's business drivers and goals and then creating the strategy that can best deliver solutions. Chad is recognized as an expert in design and development, and he speaks regularly at national conferences on design, development and mobile learning. He has been a faculty member of Bradley University for more than five years.

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