What is the Last Mile?

In telecommunications, the last mile refers to the final step in the process that connects the end customer to a network. In the broader business world, last mile refers to the final, often expensive and time-consuming step necessary to bring a product to a customer.

How Does the Last Mile Work?

Let's say Company XYZ has developed a new technology that helps people use medications more effectively. It has completed a working prototype, but it relies on private, confidential information from doctors in order to work. Company XYZ is stuck on the last mile -- figuring out how to get a customer's medical information into the product so that it can make the final link between the business and the customer.

Why Does the Last Mile Matter?

The last mile is often the most expensive, time-consuming part of product development, but it is the most crucial because it cements the connection between a business and a customer. In many cases, it can be far more expensive to tackle the last mile than to do any of the work that comes before it.