The use of mobile devices and mobile technology has quickly become the norm for people in both their personal and work lives. If we lose or forget our mobile phone at home, we feel as if we are missing something--we feel naked just like if we were to forget to put on our wedding ring or watch, for example. I don’t see mobile computing slowing down any time soon, because as consumers, we have invested our lives in our mobile phones and can only expect new ways to manage our life.
Important Stats to Know When Implementing Mobile Business SolutionsThe following statistics are solid evidence that businesses must embrace and invest in mobile computing technology to remain relevant and competitive:
- Worldwide, smartphone users have surpassed desktop computer users
- 80% of Internet users search with smartphones
- 89% of total time spent on mobile devices is on mobile apps & 11% on mobile Web
- 97% of smartphone users send text messages
- 88% of smartphone users utilize mobile email
- 46% of mobile users say they cannot live without it
If you take nothing more away from these numbers, please accept this truth: Your employees and customers are already mobile savvy.
Why You Need Mobile Technology to Thrive as a Business
It is a safe bet that your employees will expect you to offer mobile technologies, and your customers will demand it. While the rise in mobile business solutions is in part a result of consumer acceptance of smartphone and tablet devices, it was the simultaneous advancements in wireless networks (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) and the embracing of these technologies by the application development community that drove this adoption. Without the combined influence of these three technology groups, mobile computing would not be where it is today.
Where You Should Start
Mobile technology is a broad subject and can provide significant positive impact in many areas. If you are just getting into mobile computing, the best place to start is generally with commonly used applications that are readily available in the mobile environment. Email is the one such application, as nearly everyone uses email today and it is readily available in a secure mobile footprint. Starting out with such an application requires minimal technical and process introduction risk. However, it will introduce you to the broader requirements that mobile solutions require, such as:
- How do we address BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?
- Who pays for the devices and network costs?
- How do we provide secure mobile access to corporate assets?
- How do we plan for and deliver application updates?
- What happens when a device fails in the field?
Implementing Other Mobile Business Solutions
After you have some experience under your belt, then you need to look at your operation from both your customers’ and employees’ point of view, and determine which processes or activities that you perform today will benefit from the implementation of mobile technologies. Some examples include:
- Providing your sales team with mobile computers to access inventory and place orders in real time
- Supplying field service personnel with mobile computers that provide parts catalogs, how-to videos, the ability to create invoices or give directions to their next service call
- Replacing paper ordering binders with mobile computers to reduce errors and speed up the ordering process
- Providing your inspectors with electronic inspection forms to reduce paper and data entry costs
- Enabling your customers to use their smartphones to request quotes or schedule service calls