Rowan is the co-founder and CEO of Pattern.
Mobility - improving business productivity
In today’s business climate, competitive pressures drive the need for ever greater operational efficiency, productivity improvements and improved customer service. Smartphones are being used by most employees for both personal and business reasons.
Employees not only communicate and collaborate freely, but also connect with their core business applications while on the move. Constant growth in the functionality of mobile devices means businesses are continually given opportunities to ‘mobilise’ processes for increased worker productivity.
Enterprise mobility is the enabling of business information and processes on mobile devices, such as sales orders, workflow and time recording. It’s becoming an essential business tool for on-demand access to information and real-time communications. People are fundamentally changing the way they conduct business, and in order to remain competitive, organisations are making corporate applications accessible through mobile devices.
More and more organisations are realising the benefits of extending the office into handheld devices (over and above telephony and mobile email), with technology that provides robust infrastructure, speed and security to mobilise business processes. IT organisations need to make the business benefits of enterprise mobility available, while keeping costs down and without threatening the security of enterprise data and infrastructure.
A good user experience promotes user buy-in and consistent use across a workforce. Mobile devices can integrate with cloud-hosted services which provide users with the ability to respond to schedule changes and emails on the fly. When decision makers are able to communicate approvals to employees, regardless of location, tasks are successfully accomplished more quickly and efficiently.
Careful consideration needs to be taken when determining which applications will actually provide benefits if made accessible via mobile devices. The challenge is to create a system capable of working offline, and syncing seamlessly from the cloud to mobile devices. It should combine the features and functionality of an enterprise solution with the ease of use of a mobile app.
Mobile applications are having a significant and increasing impact in the workplace. From professional services to technology, from consumer goods to retail, organisations in all types of vertical industries are realising the value of giving users anytime and anywhere access to key business information and processes. Manufacturers improve the efficiency of warehouse operations with mobile devices for data capture to workers on the move. Professional Services companies improve productivity by providing consultants with mobile access to client information, and time and expenses booking. CPG organisations use enterprise mobility to improve process efficiency and data accuracy for retail execution.
An Arthur D. Little white paper detailing mobile productivity in vertical industries states that, due to the complexity associated with large construction projects, it makes sense to equip project managers, engineers and site supervisors with project management, safety and other mobile apps to help them stay aligned with project specifications, whilst managing worker activities.
Roles within the organisation including sales, field service, finance, HR, marketing, operations and distribution can all benefit from the use of mobile devices and enterprise apps. Enterprise mobility can be used to improve operational efficiency, such as in warehouse data collection or to capture proof of delivery. Productivity gains can also be made in HR with more flexible and immediate access to time and expense booking applications. Sales teams are using enterprise mobility to grow profitable customer relationships and abbreviate sales cycles with anytime, anywhere access to the tools and information that they need. Service organizations are using enterprise mobility to enable timely and efficient workforce scheduling, and to provide the information and tools necessary to support effective customer service activities.
Sales Team Enablement
Among the roles where decision-makers see the greatest potential for leveraging enterprise mobility for productivity gains is within the sales organization. As Brendan Cournoyer points out in a recent blog for Brainshark, “with salespeople spending so much time in the air and on the road, they are typically the most mobile operatives within a company.”
Other reports demonstrate the benefits of mobile sales enablement. For instance, Profitable Channels recently published a report on the topic. It finds that many organisations that have adopted mobile technologies are seeing top and bottom line business benefits from their investments in mobile sales enablement programs. This includes increases in productivity and financial payback in areas including revenue growth, sales effectiveness and improved customer experience.
The number of smart phones and tablets in use by employees has exploded in the last couple of years, and this hard trend is accelerating. At the same time, the costs of deploying business intelligence in every function is dropping precipitously, while the capabilities of our smart devices, of our wireless networks, and of private and public clouds, grows. So with costs decreasing and functionality increasing, the time to act is now. Companies that transform their business processes to leverage the benefits of mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now.