To gauge how far organizations have come with their mobile initiatives, Forrester conducted the Q4 2011 Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey among executives in charge of their companies’ mobile strategies. 

Since 2010, fewer companies report not having a mobile strategy in place. Between Q3 2010 and Q4 2011, the percentage of companies we interviewed that have no mobile strategy or are at the early stage of defining one has significantly decreased, from 57% to 31%. C-level executives are increasingly in the driver’s seat, and mobile is moving away from a test-and-learn approach to fueling companies’ corporate goals. Mobile is primarily viewed as a way to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.

 However, the majority of companies face organizational issues and struggle to allocate the right resources for mobile and to measure the success of their mobile consumer initiatives. The main obstacles they face are these:

 ■ Lack of measurable business goals clouds early success.

 ■ Limited investment, resources, and expertise slow progress.

 ■ Cross-functional and cross-geographical complexity cause inefficiency.

 There are plenty of new disruptive platforms emerging from tablets, from game consoles to connected TVs, but mobile will be the primary platform for global product innovation. Only mobile phones can offer such a global reach.

 To prepare for the accelerating pace of mobile disruption, product strategists should help other internal stakeholders rethink the life cycles of their mobile applications and services and drive innovation via smarter apps, richer data, and converging technologies.

 Mobile phones offer the most persistent computing experiences. Computing is not happening just within more contexts — the technology itself is becoming more context-aware. Indeed, new mobile technologies and sensors embedded into devices, coupled with more data intelligence and predictive analysis, will enable new consumer experiences. Product strategists wishing to create these experiences should explore ways to harness these trends:

 ■ Smarter mobile apps and services will emerge. A host of new technologies and new sensors reveal more about the user’s environment. The phones will also act as modems, relaying or interpreting information from other machines or from attachments with sensors. Physical products will increasingly ship with digital companions, enabling brands with no physical retail presence to engage with consumers in a new way and to stimulate post-purchase interactions.

 ■ Richer data will drive context-based experiences — and not just on mobile devices. Coupling more accurate local data with user context and other sources of information will enable developers to create new algorithms bridging the digital and the physical worlds. Such a model, linking consumer behaviors with local data, will foster the development of crowdsourcing and predictive analysis.

 ■ Mobile disruption will come from converging technologies. The most disruptive threats and opportunities come from the combination of multiple technologies to create new, more efficient business models or radically better customer experiences. It is rarely a technology on its own that helps invent new products. More often than not, new entrants are the ones that disrupt existing ecosystems by rethinking the benefits delivered to consumers.

 Clients who want to know more about this can download my new report, "Drive Product Innovation To Mature Your Mobile Strategy."