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  • 1. June 29, 2010How To Build A Mobile Web Siteby Julie A. Askfor Consumer Product Strategy Professionals Making Leaders Successful Every Day
  • 2. For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals June 29, 2010 How To Build A Mobile Web Site Choosing An Approach To Meet Your Objectives Cost-Effectively by Julie A. Ask with J.P. Gownder, Vidya Drego, Brian Walker, Seth Fowler, and Laura WiramihardjaExec ut i v e S u mma ryThe browser-based mobile Web experience is more important than ever, with dramatic growth inthe usage of the mobile Internet — especially from smartphones — in the past 24 months. In 2009,consumer brands built iPhone applications; they are now asking what’s next. The answer for many isto improve the quality of their mobile Web site. The first step is developing a business strategy to guidea vendor requirements document. Working through the mobile POST process forces brands to answerstrategic questions before making technology decisions and thinking about vendors. This will be aniterative process, as requirements are right-sized to budgets. Once in place, consumer brands can selectone of five approaches to building or improving their mobile Web presence: outsourcing to a managedservice provider; licensing a mobile platform; leveraging existing partners, such as eCommerceplatforms; working with an agency; and building with in-house resources.tab l e o f Co n te n ts NOT E S & RE S OUR CE S 2 Five Choices For Building A Mobile Web Site Forrester interviewed 2ergo, Digby, dload, 6 Strategic Decisions Must Drive Mobile Vendor iconmobile, Kony Solutions, Little Springs Decisions Design, Mobiqa, Netbiscuits, Razorfish, Sapient, The Hyperfactory, Usablenet, and VML. recommendations 9 Decisions Should Flow From Your Business Related Research Documents Strategy, Not Vendor Offerings “Case Study: Steve Madden Invests In Mobile10 Supplemental Material Fundamentals” June 22, 2010 “The POST Method: A Systematic Approach To Mobile Strategy” April 9, 2009 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester®, Technographics®, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please email clientsupport@forrester.com. For additional information, go to www.forrester.com.
  • 3. 2 How To Build A Mobile Web Site For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals Five Choices for building a mobile web site Mobile data isn’t just about apps: The mobile browser-based Web is more important than ever. Increasing adoption of smartphones with desktop-quality browsers, more advanced browsers on nonsmartphone devices, and the broad availability of high-speed wireless networks has created a high-quality mobile Internet experience that consumers like and will use.1 After languishing at just 3% to 4% for years, daily mobile Internet usage among US adult cell phone users grew from 7% at the end of 2008 to 10% in mid-2009 and to 15% in mid-2010.2 Consumer brands looking to build a mobile Web site must choose among the five types of solutions available to them (see Figure 1). They will narrow down their choices based on their budgets as well as the type of Web experience that they want to deliver. There are pros and cons associated with each approach (see Figure 2). Some of the companies that build mobile Web sites do not fit cleanly into one category, but we placed them where they fit best.3 The five solutions are: · Fully managed services. Fully managed services give companies the opportunity to outsource their mobile Web development, hosting, and maintenance completely. Buyers who say that they have no internal bandwidth typically choose this type of solution. Fully managed services vendors primarily offer transcoding or content optimization services — they take existing Web content and logic and translate it into defined wireframes and formats that fit a small screen size. They offer device detection, content hosting, and content optimization. This type of solution was especially popular before smartphones, with their more advanced browsers, gained such a foothold in the US market. Vendors charge ongoing service fees, with some upfront professional service fees for the initial setup. Buyers benefit from the turnkey nature of the solution. · Licensed technology platforms. These platforms, also known as mobile enablement solutions, are gaining substantial traction in the US. The business model involves licensing a technology platform that offers device detection, content hosting, and content optimization. They offer some analytics and integrate with Web analytics companies like Omniture and mobile ad networks like AdMob and Millennial Media. In addition, they have Web-based development tools that minimize the need for more technical development or coding expertise. Companies can license these platforms and build their mobile Web sites in-house; agencies can also license these platforms on behalf of clients. Vendors have traditionally charged licensing fees but may also include a higher mix of professional services fees if they build at least the initial Web site. The benefits here come from the advantages of scale and the ability to easily customize your Web site. · Existing solutions providers. Existing solutions providers — such as eCommerce platforms, customer service solutions, and email service providers — either license mobile capabilities from a third party and incorporate them into their solution or add elements of mobile to existing solutions. Venda, for example, recently partnered with Digby to offer mobile to its June 29, 2010 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  • 4. How To Build A Mobile Web Site 3 For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals existing base of more than 200 customers. RightNow Technologies is helping its clients format content — FAQs and chat dialogues — for mobile devices. This is a small element of a much larger infrastructure for many companies, but it helps mobilize content and functionality from existing Web sites. Buyers benefit from tight integration when choosing these vendors. · Agencies. Agencies offer end-to-end mobile Web site development, beginning with mobile strategy in some cases and continuing on to concept creation, design, development, user interface and site quality assessments, and maintenance. Buyers can choose between traditional and mobile-focused agencies.4 Anything is possible with agencies. They will work with managed service providers; license platforms on behalf of their clients or use an in-house version; or build from a client’s existing infrastructure. Buyers receive potentially excellent experiences but at a premium. · In-house builds. Companies that build in-house may leverage all or just a part of the approaches listed above, except for fully managed services. They may license a mobile platform and use those tools to build their own site. They may hire an agency for user interface design and then bring the build in-house. Companies that decide to build some or all of their mobile Web site in-house do so for a couple of reasons. Some decide that “mobile competence” in its broadest definition is of strategic importance, and they want that expertise to be exclusive and on call. Hiring mobile expertise is difficult because it is scarce — companies building in- house are developing their own. They view paying contractors as paying someone else to learn. Relatively few companies we’ve surveyed are doing their own device detection, which can be characterized as time-consuming but straightforward. In-house builds offer the most control for those that can afford this approach.© 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 29, 2010
  • 5. 4 How To Build A Mobile Web Site For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals Figure 1 The Five Categories Of Mobile Web Providers 1-1 Most mobile Web providers fall into one of five categories Fully managed services An outsourced approach offers Web site transcoding services and/or other services that simplify or automate the creation of a mobile Web experience. Licensed technology This is primarily a technology or development platform with Web-based platform tools for simple mobile Web construction. Existing solutions provider Existing eCommerce vendors or other solution providers build capabilities and partner with a mobile platform to extend their services. Agency Full-service agencies offer design, development, build, quality testing, and maintenance. In-house build Built in-house either entirely or in part. May leverage agencies or other vendors for portions of the solution and experience. 1-2 Each approach offers many vendor options Fully managed services Licensed technology platform Existing solutions provider Agency In-house build 57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc. June 29, 2010 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  • 6. How To Build A Mobile Web Site 5 For Consumer Product Strategy ProfessionalsFigure 2 There Are Pros And Cons Associated With Each Approach Managed services Licensed platform Existing vendor Agency In-house Pros • Covers all devices, • Mobile expertise • Offers deep • Differentiates on • Offers ultimate including the long • Optimizes content integration quality of flexibility and tail and new for all devices, with existing Web experience, control along with devices as added including long tail infrastructure and especially on more tight and • Relatively low • Optimizes media business solutions sophisticated streamlined total cost of for small screen • Knows client devices integration into ownership organizations, • Marketing existing and • Web-based design planned • Quick tools minimize processes, and capabilities implementation technical expertise personnel well, • Full services from infrastructure • Low impact on requirements given they are strategy to • Cost control in internal IT existing partners development to fixed salaries, • Offers potential for department user inteface • Removes anxiety robust QA testing outsourcing to of “we need to get • Integrates with emerging markets customization by combining something done” existing business • Develops with an agency or • Allows elements solutions and Web in-house mobile professional of content or infrastructure expertise — services services to be viewed as a mobilized competitive advantage by some • Offers platform for differentiation Cons • Mostly a subset • Tying experience • Lacks mobile • Potential to be • Historically, of desktop to any third-party expertise and may highest-cost innovation experience platform limits be ultimately alternative, originates in small, • Less ability to pace of innovation partnering or depending on nimble companies leverage unique to third party outsourcing scope • Not lowest cost device features • Use of common (e.g., Venda with • Less mobile • Expertise hard to • More standard platform makes Digby) experience unless hire — often must and text-based, differentiation • Little a dedicated be developed vertical user more difficult experience — few mobile agency internally interfaces • Proprietary projects versus a • Creates • Decision-making • Usability and QA markup languages few hundred — dependency on subject to internal testing limited unless it leverages third party for financial planning a partner’s changes, and organizational experience maintenance, issues rather than and additions simple purchase orderTypical Four to eight Eight to 12 weeks Driven by Weeks to several Ongoing, full-timeproject weeks approach used months initiativeslength by partner and scope of project57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc.© 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 29, 2010
  • 7. 6 How To Build A Mobile Web Site For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals Strategic decisions Must drive mobile vendor decisions Companies need a mobile strategy before they can begin to choose an approach to mobile Web design. Too many companies are drawn into buying what a vendor is selling before they have a mobile strategy in place. Forrester recommends that companies use its POST process to develop a mobile strategy methodically.5 A number of strategic decisions must be made as part of the “S” (strategy) or tactical planning portion of the process that will eventually guide the selection of a vendor approach (see Figure 3). One of the outcomes of the POST methodology should be a vendor requirements document that is based on a company’s needs, rather than what is possible. Getting to this point will require an iterative process in which companies must come to a set of aligned strategic decisions on each of several dimensions (see Figure 4). These include: · Reach. The key question here is, “Should we have a tiered approach with experiences customized to more sophisticated mobile phones or should we opt for a one-size-fits-all approach?” Nearly one-quarter of US cell phone owners have a smartphone, but about half of all mobile Web traffic is on smartphones.6 With their touchscreens, HTML5, and accelerometers, smartphones offer the opportunity to create user experiences that take advantage of unique handset features. · Offering. Mobile is not simply about shrinking the desktop experience to a smaller screen or removing rich media to create a text-based site easily navigated via a 12-digit key pad. The purpose and resulting complexity of the site can vary greatly. At the lowest level of complexity, mobile Web sites may simply be landing pages that support a mobile ad campaign. At the other end of the spectrum are mobile commerce sites, which have deep integration into existing commerce platforms, product catalogs, customer databases, content management systems, and customer service solutions that operate in multiple regions and languages around the world.7 Mobile phones also offer unique features, such as cameras, user location, and accelerometers; more advanced browsers with HTML5 can increasingly leverage these to create more contextual and enhanced experiences. The more complex the offering, the higher the cost of the build (see Figure 5). · Investment. Many factors come into play when determining a budget for building a mobile Web site. The desired site features, selected approach, organization, and mobile-readiness and compatibility of existing infrastructure will have an impact on costs (see Figure 6).8 Timing requirements and the availability of internal resources will also drive budget needs and affect the choice of approach. If the needs requirements driven by your reach and offering decisions don’t fit within available funding constraints, you must revisit them as part of an iterative process until you reach a set of aligned decisions. · Value chain. Each company must decide how important mobile expertise is. One of the top reasons that companies give for spending on mobile marketing applications is learning. Mobile expertise is hard to hire even in 2010, as the number of open job postings shows. In-house expertise provides more control over innovation and costs in the long term. June 29, 2010 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  • 8. How To Build A Mobile Web Site 7 For Consumer Product Strategy ProfessionalsFigure 3 Strategic Decisions Must Drive Mobile Vendor Decisions Mobile strategy development process People Review the Mobile Technographics® Profile of your target audience. Objectives Decide on your goals. Strategy Determine your approach to meet your objectives. Technology Choose the technologies that will enable you to implement your strategy.57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc.Figure 4 Strategic Planning Will Be An Iterative Process Until You Find The Right Balance • How much can we afford to • What do we want to mobilize? spend? How much do we need • Level of integration? to spend? • Use of unique device features? • How much internal bandwidth • Geographies? Languages? Offering Investment do we have? • What is our timing outlook? Offering/ Cost experience • Do we need a vendor that can • What percentage of our provide applications in audience do we want to reach? Reach Value chain addition to mobile Web sites? • Should we have a two-tiered • Is mobile expertise a core approach that customizes the competency that we need? experience for more • How important is mobile sophisticated mobile devices? versus company or industry expertise?57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc.© 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 29, 2010
  • 9. 8 How To Build A Mobile Web Site For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals Figure 5 Site Complexity Further Narrows Your Vendor Options 5-1 Choices will be limited by budget and site features Simple campaign Simple Marketing Back-end Complex sites with landing pages as site builds applications or integration as custom UIs leveraging part of mobile at smaller other simple sites well as use of many unique handset Agency marketing agencies with few unique device features features, deep integration campaign project experiences into background, and complex Web-level services Licensed Some free tools Typical Complex sites Possible, but platform available for sites with substantial not typical simple projects traffic Simple sites with Simple- to Complex sites; Managed minimal medium- includes platform professional complexity setup plus Possible, but service services sites with ongoing not typical upfront setup hosting/ features maintenance $10K–$35K $35K–$75K $100K–$200K $200K–$500K $500K–$1M $1M–$3M 5-2 Once you’ve made these strategic decisions, vendor selection will be easier High Agency Internal resources required Site complexity Typical Platform Managed services Simple $10K–$35K $35K–$75K $100K–$200K $200K–$500K $500K–$1M $1M–$3M 57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc. June 29, 2010 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  • 10. How To Build A Mobile Web Site 9 For Consumer Product Strategy ProfessionalsFigure 6 Your Strategy Will Affect The Amount You Need To Spend Element Cost drivers Site features • Quality of user interface • Geography and languages supported • Media, content, and services on site • Use of unique device features Approach • Vendor approach • Tiered versus single-solution approach Organization • Level of mobile readiness — is there a strategy in place? • Mobile IQ of organization • Clear and well-understood leadership Infrastructure • Mobile readiness of content (e.g., media) • Customer databases • Product information (e.g., inventory, catalogs) • Existing eCommerce platform • Analytics solutions • Content management systems • Etc.57134 Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Rec o mme n d at i o n s Decisions should flow from your business strategy, not vendor offerings Too many companies base their mobile Web requirements on vendor offerings rather than their unique business needs and resulting mobile strategies. Design approaches are available across a range of budgets and timing needs, as well as the availability of internal expertise. In general, there is no single best approach — there is only the best approach for you. Once you have selected an approach and are evaluating vendors, be sure to: · Navigate between single-source and best-of-breed solutions. All vendors offer more than Web site services. Each vendor interviewed for this report had the ability to design, develop, and distribute mobile applications, and most offered mobile marketing services ranging from platform services to campaign development and implementation. Their approaches to building applications paralleled that of mobile Web sites. Managed services and platforms will optimize basic content for any device, while agencies focus on custom development for smartphones as well as creating solutions for the long tail of devices. Choosing a single vendor for all of your mobile Internet needs will make efficient use of your resources by simplifying the sourcing and development processes. However, you may need to compromise by forgoing best-of-breed development on any one platform.© 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 29, 2010
  • 11. 10 How To Build A Mobile Web Site For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals · Understand that the available offerings remain immature. No vendor offers company, industry, and mobile expertise. Those vendors with mobile expertise have likely worked across many industries, but they will not know your company or existing infrastructure and processes well. Your existing partners — whether an agency or an eCommerce platform — will know your company well but will typically have less mobile expertise. Building mobile services will require patience and working with your partner to fill in the knowledge gaps. Even building in-house means developing expertise — and that takes time. · Make a conscious choice between innovation and risk. The most innovative mobile vendors may be smaller than your traditional agency or eCommerce platform partners. Along with that smaller size comes a degree of risk — working with low-scale suppliers can create uncertainty about your project. Information on smaller suppliers’ financial stability or performance is not available in public documents. Credibility and experience will be found in your trust of a few key individuals as well as in their portfolio of work. If your goal is innovation and deep mobile expertise, you may find it in your larger, well-known partners, but be prepared to work with smaller, lesser-known entities that will grow and mature in their experiences with you. Supplemental MATERIAL Companies Interviewed For This Document 2ergo Netbiscuits Digby Razorfish dload Sapient iconmobile The Hyperfactory Kony Solutions Usablenet Little Springs Design VML Mobiqa Endnotes 1 Adoption of smartphones by US mobile phone owners grew from 11% at the end of 2008 to 17% at the end of 2009. See the January 14, 2010, “2009: The Year Of High-End Phones” report. 2 In six months, between year-end 2008 and mid-year 2009, daily use of the mobile Web went from 7% to 10%. The year before, year-end 2007 to year-end 2008, saw daily use grow from 4% to 7%. That is to say, in six months the frequency of use of the mobile Web jumped more than the 12 months previous. Recent advances in handsets, networks, and offerings have rapidly accelerated the frequency with which cell phone users access the Web. This data is taken from a forthcoming Forrester report, “Making The Case For The Mobile Internet.” June 29, 2010 © 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  • 12. How To Build A Mobile Web Site 11 For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals3 Managed service providers and technology platforms also offer professional services. Agencies are licensing third-party platforms to build mobile Web sites for their clients. Some agency projects entail user interface (UI) design while the development work goes in-house. Some agencies have developed their own platforms. Moreover, everyone’s business mix is evolving. More than one platform provider, for example, revealed that they now derive the majority of their revenues from professional service fees, not licensing fees.4 Agencies fall into two categories — traditional and those with a mobile focus. Traditional agencies may have built a company’s existing Web site in addition to offering all of the services involved with marketing, such as creative and media placement. Mobile agencies will have less company or Web experience but will have deeper mobile expertise. Many offer a range of services — from end-to-end marketing campaign delivery through to designing and building mobile applications and Web sites. Some, such as The Hyperfactory, have their own proprietary platform as well.5 POST is a methodology that Forrester has developed to assist companies with strategies that lead to the services and technology solutions most appropriate for their target audience. See the April 9, 2009, “The POST Method: A Systematic Approach To Mobile Strategy” report.6 Among those individuals surveyed in Forrester’s North American Technographics® Online Benchmark Survey, Q2 2010 (US), 47% of US online adults with smartphones browse daily versus only 15% overall. In AdMob’s April 2010 report, which is based on 18.0 billion ad requests worldwide, 45% of its requests came from smartphones. In the US in April 2010, AdMob received 7.5 billion requests, 49% of which were from smartphones. Our interviews revealed that some companies are now taking a multitiered approach that combines agency or in-house builds for smartphone platforms with a managed service for the longer tail of handsets. Agencies reported that custom Webkit development was growing quickly, while the expected increased use and adoption of HTML5 would change how they build going forward. These reported trends from across agencies supports their claim to be doing an increasing amount of mobile Web development. Source: AdMob (http://metrics.admob.com).7 Operating in different countries around the world is not simply an exercise in language translation. Countries and regions have unique wireless networks, regulations, policies, and handsets that require local knowledge. The number of handsets grows with the number of countries. In some countries, consumers pay with credit cards; in others, they pay through the carriers. Both content and taskflow preferences will vary by country.8 Whether scraped from an existing Web site or built from the ground up, mobile Web sites are not standalone collections of code. They rely on the same content management systems and eCommerce platforms as Web sites. There are additional requirements. Content, for example, must be appropriate for a small screen. Images must fit small screens, while text must be proportionally larger than on a site designed for a PC. Last, finding the nearest store with a 3G 64 GB iPad is a great use of mobile, but the service must first have access to accurate inventory that is tagged with latitude and longitude coordinates.© 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 29, 2010
  • 13. Making Leaders Successful Every Day Headquarters Research and Sales Offices Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester has research centers and sales offices in more than 27 cities 400 Technology Square internationally, including Amsterdam; Cambridge, Mass.; Dallas; Dubai; Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Foster City, Calif.; Frankfurt; London; Madrid; Sydney; Tel Aviv; and Toronto. Tel: +1 617.613.6000 Fax: +1 617.613.5000 For a complete list of worldwide locations visit www.forrester.com/about. Email: forrester@forrester.com Nasdaq symbol: FORR www.forrester.com For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at +1 866.367.7378, +1 617.613.5730, or clientsupport@forrester.com. We offer quantity discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions.Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR)is an independent research companythat provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders inbusiness and technology. Forresterworks with professionals in 20 key rolesat major companies providingproprietary research, customer insight,consulting, events, and peer-to-peerexecutive programs. For more than 26years, Forrester has been making IT,marketing, and technology industryleaders successful every day. For moreinformation, visit www.forrester.com. 57134