First order of business: My last post contained an open solicitation for your cheesy tourist photos. Rest assured, there are some wonderfully terrible pictures out there! As long as you feel like sharing them, I’ll be pleased to show a few favorites; here’s the first. If you’re hearing a shifty-eyed Susanna Hoffs singing in the background like I am, you too may be hopelessly stuck in the ‘80s. The solution: walk like an Egyptian over to a new subject; like this one.
Last month, Forrester Research offered up a different take on the mobile technology topic courtesy of analyst, Josh Bernoff. His report – “The Mobile Mind Shift Index” – presents a new framework to segment and group people based on their mobility demands and expectations.
To calculate a Mobile Mind Shift Index (MMSI) rating, Bernoff relies on usage characteristics: device ownership, frequency of access, and diversity of access locations. With results aligned on a 100-point scale, people get assigned to one of six different classifications. Disconnecteds are at the low end (MMSI below 20); Perpetuals are at the top (MMSI 60+); and a mix of Dabblers, Roamers, Adapters and Immersers fits in between the two extremes.
Fanciful names aside, the point and the message behind Bernoff’s efforts are clear. Mobile usage is increasing at a rapid pace and users are demanding more as a baseline. Already, some groups expect mobile technology will allow them to use any device to get what they need, when they want it, wherever they are. Whether those expectations are reasonable or not, the bar is moving higher for those who deal with mobility-minded people.
So where does that put the smartphone and tablet users at your firm? Forrester admits that age, affluence and gender factor into MMSI scores. According to Bernoff, roughly 41% of the U.S. population older than 45 are Disconnecteds … and “still think their cell phones are for talking.” Even with firm leaders more dependent on mobile devices than ever before, you need to think about where senior partners and decision makers fit on the MMSI scale. If mobile expectations are out of alignment between younger fee-earners and those who hold the purse strings, you could be facing some difficulties sooner than you’d like or anticipate.
In much the same way, mobility expectations also impact the relationship management strategy at your firm. From a mobile mind-shifted viewpoint, if you discover, track and manage your professional relationships differently than you do personal ones, those differences are entirely artificial. Say you run into someone new from your neighborhood at the gym, or strike up a good conversation with a frequent flyer on the last plane out of O’Hare. Once you both agree to stay connected, you’ll be exchanging information and updating Facebook and LinkedIn before you’re back home at the desktop. While you’re still together, you may even discover that both of you share some mutual friends on the social media sites. Looks like the relationship is off to a good start.
Why should your working life be any less enabled from a mobility standpoint? There’s no technology reason preventing you from capturing contact details in real time, or using your smart phone to understand “who knows who” to support a business discussion and strengthen a relationship. The gap between Disconnecteds and Perpetuals may seem insurmountable, but understanding user expectations at the firm is a good starting point. Factor in client expectations and preferences as well; some customers may be higher than you on the MMSI scale. And, keep looking toward the future since conditions are always changing. It’s a smart idea to get ahead of user demands, especially if your mobility approach delivers a competitive edge and helps bring in new business.
As always, we’d be glad to hear your thoughts on this topic. Drop us a note at email@example.com and let us know how you’re seeing mobile demands shaping up at your firm.