Mobility is an essential business driver that has transformed the way people work, as well as how businesses interact with customers, partners and employees. Here’s what to consider when developing your mobile strategy.
With the power to increase productivity, customer satisfaction and your bottom line, mobilising your workforce can give your business a competitive edge.
Indeed, with predictions that 70 per cent of professionals will be using personal smart devices for work by 2018, mobilisation is no longer just a trendy catchphrase – it’s a new way of working that organisations need to embrace as part of their core IT strategy.
Before implementing a mobility strategy, it’s important to review your current systems and consider how you can effectively integrate mobile processes into your workforce. Here’s a look at three ways to keep your mobility strategy on track.
1. Plan your mobility strategy
To implement a successful mobility strategy, IT executives need to consider specific services that will deliver value to different areas of the organisation and understand how users will interact with mobile technology on a daily basis. For example, which apps could enhance collaboration within departments? What tools would a salesperson need if they were away all day meeting clients?
Mobilisation also has the potential to drive innovation into new and uncharted territory beyond email and other communication tools. According to Gartner, “Applications such as time sheets, punch lists, site check-in/check-out and employee self-service HR applications are just a few examples. Expanding access and driving innovation will ultimately be the legacy of the BYOD phenomenon.”
“Mobilisation has the potential to drive innovation into new and uncharted territory.”
Introducing mobility to your organisation introduces endless opportunities, so think carefully about how to take advantage of different applications to save costs, increase efficiency and make your employees and customers happier.
2. Make it accessible
At the heart of mobilisation is the ability to work anytime, anywhere. From cloud-based customer relationship management systems, to mobile apps that allow point-of-sale transactions, giving employees the data and tools they need to do their job can make all the difference to customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
Make sure mobile workers have full access to digital versions of every document they need in the cloud or on a virtual private network (VPN). This real-time access will enable employees to respond to client requests faster and work more efficiently across the entire customer service and sales pipeline. Review any processes that require manual sign-offs and introduce digital signatures and approval processes to avoid holding up processes until the work can return to the office.
3. Find a balance
While restricting the types of mobile devices your network will support can affect employees’ productivity, supporting too many devices can lead to major IT headaches. Some experts recommend only supporting three to five mainstream mobile platforms, which gives employees freedom of choice but still allows your IT personnel to effectively manage security, support and application development.
“Experts recommend only supporting three to five mainstream mobile platforms.”
That said, don’t be tempted to limit the mobile device models you support, as this will frustrate employees wishing to upgrade their devices. To get around this problem, consider creating cloud-based apps using Windows Azure or Office 365 development tools, which are compatible with most models and upgrades.
In addition to mobile functionality and convenience, companies also need to take into account software licensing costs, security issues and regulatory compliance for their particular industries.
A good mobile strategy will meet the needs of end users, be flexible and pave the way for further innovation. Like any strategy, this will take time and thought to develop, but the resulting increases in productivity, efficiency and customer service will be worth the effort.