Facebook Home: game-changer or bid for more control?

Facebook Home: game-changer or bid for more control?
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Facebook Home is being heralded as a game-changer in the mobile tech space, but it is little more than another example of how the mobile-first strategy is transforming the way companies do business.

All Facebook has done with this new release is show that it wants to have more control of the mobile experience via its software.

What I see as the lessons on offer for business to learn from the Facebook Home application are the extent to which companies are priorisiting mobile strategy. After all, Facebook is not a mobile technology company, it’s a social media platform with firm origins in desktop design, and in the push to mobile it’s turning its business model on its head.

Last month Deloitte said forward-thinking businesses are replacing their “mobile-first approach” with a “mobile-only approach” as rates of smartphones continue to soar globally at a pace that businesses can no longer claim has caught them by surprise. Deloitte says 2013 is “a period in which mobile technologies selectively transform fundamental business models at some companies.”

I’ve always been interested in this idea. It comes down to the difference between innovation versus business model innovation – and Facebook Home provides a timely case study.

Facebook Home isn’t yet a business model innovation for Facebook. The company is still doing what it does to raise revenue – selling advertising – by brining itself to the forefront of the user experience. It will be interesting to see whether Facebook will use its new application as a path towards business model innovation: once the company controls your landing page, will it then start charging for customised content, like news services or product reviews?

There is also the looming issue of whether consumers might start to resent the extent to which Facebook tries to control mobile phone usage. Will people reject Facebook Home and deregister from Facebook to wrest back control over their lives?

In its current form though, Facebook Home provides a great example of how seriously business is taking the idea that you need to be easy and fast to do business with. I strongly believe this should be the mantra of every modern business.

Mobile strategy can be as complex or simple as you want it to be. And this is why it is vital that any mobile approach is created with a clearly mapped, forward-looking customised strategy: that is the only way to add value to your customers and to your business. Facebook has simply built an application that does exactly what its users want it to do – they can share and view content with their friends (and in the process, view advertisements) more quickly and more easily.

A different business might know that its customers will only access its information via mobile to find out its opening hours and address, so why complicate the mobile application strategy with anything else?

It’s my guess there will be a buzz around Facebook Home for the next few months as end users download it onto their Android devices at record-breaking speed.

But as consumers get swept up in the hype, the clear message for business is to invest in a mobile strategy that will deliver useful technology that makes it easier for your customers and your staff to do business with you.

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