For digital teams at banks and credit unions, building a mobile strategy to win, serve, and retain customers is a major undertaking. But even after executive leaders approve a mobile strategy — after the congratulations, confetti, and champagne fade away — digital teams at banks face the challenge of executing on that strategy. The latest chapter in Forrester's Mobile Banking Strategy Playbook outlines how digital business leaders at banks can meet customer needs and business objectives with a mobile banking road map

Our report lays out many commonly-encountered obstacles to mobile banking execution success and how digital teams can overcome these obstacles. Here are a few of the areas the report looks at:

  • Overly ambiguous — or nonexistent — business goals. Clearly articulated business goals should be part of a bank's mobile strategy. But a successful road map also lays out the business objectives and records specific goals for each initiative. As one eBusiness executive at a bank told us, "We literally have a section we call 'What's in it for us?' and we use sticky notes to write out what we think we can gain from each action."
  • Legacy systems and back-end integration. Technology may well be the largest obstacle to executing a mobile banking strategy — especially for larger, traditional banks. As such, successful mobile road maps need to outline how initiatives will plug into existing or soon-to-come platforms and systems.
  • Teams that don't apply Agile principles or don't work in sprints. Our research shows that a digital team that cannot implement Agile practices as part of its mobile development efforts will have difficulty maintaining high-quality mobile offerings. In addition, we believe digital teams should think about release scheduling as a series of sprints: an approach that will mean far more than one or two releases per year. 
  • Distractions that are "bright and shiny" (or what we call “BS”). This might be the most understandable, but it can also be a major barrier to success. Tantalizing and well-hyped features can be compelling to a digital banking team — and other departments within the bank often push hard for "bright and shiny" ideas they hear about. Although wanting to innovate is a good impulse, prioritizing "BS" features without outlining the business objectives or needed resources can been dreadfully problematic for banks.

Mobile road maps fail when digital teams fail to tackle these and other issues up front – or at least to account for these obstacles and make a plan to deal with them. We recommend starting by mapping out multiple mobile “routes” that account for different options: For example, a digital team at one bank has developed a road map that separates initiatives into those focused on affluent clients and those focused on "mainstream" deposit account customers, while another bank maps every mobile initiative in relation to the bank’s wider multichannel efforts.

What obstacles or issues have you encountered when executing a mobile strategy? Let us know in the comments section below.