With the mobile revolution at hand, it’s surprising how many companies simply aren’t ready for it. A survey of more than 700 organizations over the past 12 months showed only 4% of respondents are in the process of developing apps for the plethora of mobile devices hitting the market. That’s odd, given that 100% of them agreed that at least half of the businesses in their particular industries would be doing business via mobile by the end of 2015. Disconnect much?
Does your business have a mobile strategy for the next two years that will enable you to make the most of the advances in technology that we’re seeing on a daily basis, and if not, why not? Here are the main points you need to know to formulate one.
All About Apps
The first thing that enters the mind when you think “mobile” is applications. Apple, Samsung and Blackberry have created a market for apps that can do everything from banking to buying coffee and counting your calories. There are flashlight apps so you’re never in the dark, traffic apps that tell you where to avoid patrols and design apps that let you see what your garage’s interior will look like after choosing storage equipment and furnishings. Your mobile strategy shouldn’t focus solely on apps though, although these are a big part of the process. To use technology for a competitive advantage, your mobile strategy needs to include transforming your business processes to realize new levels of success.
Paving the Way for Process Transformation
So, to pave the way for business process transformation, your strategy needs to cover not only the obvious functions such as marketing, but areas such as:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM), such as seamless connection to your client database from any location to access information vital for managing the client’s account.
- Productivity monitoring, such as the ability to track performance using a variety of measurements and upload directly to the corporate systems. Gone are the days of punching a time clock, for example, when every employee has a mobile device that connects smartly to the internet.
- Collaboration, including enabling mobile sales people to connect with their managers to strategize on deals in real time, work jointly on issues ranging from a customer’s concerns to political worries and pooling their knowledge and experience to identify solutions for clients.
- Synthesizing knowledge. This is an increasingly popular method of using technology to combine up-to-date analytics and data with templates to present information attractively on the spot. This enables team members in the field to make decisions based on factual data rather than guessing, regardless of where they are when the information becomes available.
- Communication using email, messaging systems and social media to be “always on” and receive messages and notifications anywhere—and respond to them without delays.
- Content delivery. With the ongoing emergence of content as a strategic method of communication, building thought leadership and client education among other things, mobile apps that use location-based functionality and pull data from your system make it possible to deliver customized content at the right time and place to the right people. Mobile devices also promote more convenient and less invasive methods of consuming content, such as a sales person showing a presentation or video to a client without requiring access to the client’s internet and network or having to be hauled out and set up.
It’s Not Just About Software
While the focus is currently on developing apps, there are in fact two revolutions taking place in the mobile environment: a hardware revolution as well as a software/applications one. With the burgeoning number of smart phones, tablets and other web-enabled devices (think: digital cameras, e-readers and more) the need is also increasing for apps that operate across a range of platforms. At this point, there aren’t any common platforms that are accessible to more than one or two types of devices at any given time. This means if you’re moving into mobile technology, you have to do it in such a way that you’re available to a majority of your customers.
Don’t miss out on the mobile revolution. Analyze how mobile is likely to fit into your operations in the next few years, and start working on a business strategy to capitalize on it—before you get left behind.