Ranger4 DevOps Blog

DevOps and the M Word

Posted by Helen Beal on Mon, May 12, 2014 @ 14:05 PM

I recently stumbled across a piece of research from Vocalink on mobile payments which got me thinking more about the relationship between mobile and DevOps. We know that the massive uptake of mobile devices is a huge influence behind the key driver of DevOps - innovation - and this is reflected in our own work on DevOps trends and patterns in particular verticals (ThoughtPapers to be published soon on Finance and Retail which are particularly pertinent to mobile - and social) and our interest in the mobile components of the DevOps toolchain such as IBM Worklight  - but how can we use this knowledge and data to help our customers make better decisions in their DevOps projects?

The IBM Institute of Business Value reports that there are now 1.4 billion smartphone subscribers in the world, and 79 percent of those smartphone owners use their devices to purchase goods and services.

If you're reading this blog, it's more than likely you work in technology and own a smartphone - 60% of adults in the UK now do (say Vocalink) - you may even be one of the 2% who are on their 6th or more (I am). Like me, you probably use a lot of applications on your phone already - in a typical week I do things like:

- Check my email - and SFDC and HubSpot to keep tabs on our sales and marketing activities

- Use NavMii to navigate my way to meetings

- Check train times and cinema listings - sometimes even booking tickets

- Instant message through Skype when I'm not at my desk

- Online banking - I check my balance on my mobile and make payments and transfers

- Buy and sell items on eBay and manage my Paypal account

- Order cases of wine from Naked Wines - okay - not every week ;-)

- My mobile signal at home is poor even though I live in the city centre but I work from home a lot and spend a lot of time on the phone. I've recently started using the TUGo app from O2 which enables me to use my mobile to make high-fidelity calls for free over my Wifi

- Check the weather forecast

- Take electronic boarding passes to the airport

- Order pizza from Domino's (Papa Johns actually do better pizza but have a sub-standard app) or a takeaway from Wagamama

- Listen to music when I'm walking or play it through my Jambox over bluetooth at home - or my friends do and vice versa

- Take pictures and share them with my friends and family on Facebook and Whatsapp

- Send my friends and families gifts direct to their mobile using Parcelgenie

- Play games - at the moment I'm into Ruzzle and Flutter

In all, I currently have six and half pages of apps on my phone - arranged by colour, naturally.

So looking back on that, I'm probably quite a heavy user of mobile application technology today - how do I compare to the rest of the market, and where's the market being driven next?

Vocalink's research focusses on mCommerce and mBanking - they are a payments provider after all. According to them:

  • 27% of the UK population mBank
  • 43% of smartphone users mBank (only 3% of regular mobile users)
  • 57% of those who own both a smartphone and a tablet mBank

The research shows that when users start using a mobile app to do their banking they use the service more than they do through a browser. The top 5 reasons people like mBanking?

  1. Speed
  2. Time saved
  3. Do it anywhere/any time
  4. No queuing required!
  5. Easier than other methods

But nearly three-quarters of the population DON'T mBank - why not? Here are the top five reasons from the research:

  1. What I'm doing now is fine
  2. Mobiles can be lost or stolen too easily
  3. The screen's too small
  4. It's not secure
  5. I don't trust mobile networks/carriers

So the market's big already, expected to get bigger (the younger the generation, the more take up of mobile devices and applications) and mobile is established already as offering key competitive advantage. So what can mobile application developers do to address the fears users have about losing their money?

The research shows that half the population are either already using mPayments (20%) or interested in doing so (30%). The remaining 50% that aren't interested? Well, that fraction's likely to shrink as today's younger market matures and more digital natives are born.

The people who do mPayments today use a variety of applications (PayPal (64%), their mBanking app (40%), SMS, Google Wallet, Barclays Pingit app, QR codes, Boku, a sticker attached to their phone and contactless payment using the smartphone (12%)).

My dream of no longer having a phone, an iPod, a TomTom, a camera and a book in my bag has come true with my iPhone - but when can I ditch my wallet and cards and cash too? The top 5 reasons people want mPayments?

  1. Convenience
  2. It's quick and easy
  3. No need to carry cash
  4. Saves time spent queuing
  5. No need to carry cards

The top ten things mPayment users pay for today?

  1. 'Things' via PayPal (I do this)
  2. Parking (I've done that)
  3. Public transport tickets (not yet)
  4. Motorway tolls/congestion charges (nope)
  5. Small daily purchases (nope)
  6. Fast food purchases (nope)
  7. Restaurant bills/bar orders (nope)
  8. Sending money to friends and family (yup)
  9. Coffee/sandwiches (nope)
  10. High street shopping (nope)

I said no to quite a few of them - but I would like to say yes. I'm used to using my contactless card in the supermarket and the pub - it seems a small step from there to using my mobile instead. But it's not a service my bank offers me and I am not familiar with the apps that would enable me to do this. And what if the signal's poor? The Vocalink survey identified these as the top ten reasons people were turned off mPayments:

  1. Not wanting to put card details in a mobile phone
  2. No need for the service
  3. Concerned that mobiles can be lost easily
  4. Not believing it to be secure
  5. Not trusting mobile networks
  6. Preferring to carry and use cash
  7. Not believing it to be private or confidential
  8. Phone not having capability
  9. Not being able to use it if battery fails
  10. (And mine!) Issues with network coverage

So, mobile's come a long way in a short space of time but there is still more room for it to exploit all its potential. How can DevOps help with that? DevOps is all about delivering higher quality applications faster and with less pain ultimately enriching the user experience and increasing market share and profits accordingly. Innovation is a key differentiator of one service provider to another. And DevOps' focus on quality will help to allay consumers' fears over security and data integrity as they become more familiar with and put more trust in electronic transactions.

What about you? What would you most like to do on your mobile that you can't today?


Topics: Mobile, DevOps