One technology has had more of an impact on business than anything else in the past 5 years. This is mobile technology. Since it’s had an even bigger impact than cloud technology, business leaders must learn to embrace it – there’s no other choice. It plays a core role in how people work, play, and influence one another today. This isn’t something we can underscore, especially in the rise of millennials who are now becoming the biggest demographic.
Transitioning to a mobile business model is both complex and opportunistic. It’s more than simply building mobile apps for smartphones and tablets for business. It’s about being “future ready,” which is a commitment to thinking beyond the app – especially if you want your business to succeed. Preparing your business for this requires you to understand three things: the people who work for you, how they do their work, and the product or service you’re selling. In other words, it’s about being ready, valuing change, and enabling the infrastructure to keep up with you.
Although we spend a lot of time talking about mobilizing our workforce, we still hold on to our traditional behaviors and beliefs. There are many reasons for this including:
- Understanding our employees‘, customers’, and partners’ desires
- Having both the willingness and the ability to change
- Inappropriately placing the responsibility for driving change solely on IT instead of mobilizing in a top-down fashion
It’s imperative that we design mobile solutions in a way that makes people not only want to adopt them but also want to reach out and use these first. This is what makes them successful. Of course, not everyone who works for you will always be ready to make this leap. This is why The Sepharim Group says you need to ask yourself certain questions, including:
- What mobile use patterns already prevail in your workforce? With your customers? And with your partners?
- Who are the first people to reach for their smartphones and tablets first? Why? How’s this changing?
- Who’s the last to reach for their smartphones and tablets? Why? What are they afraid of?
- What do people want to do with their smartphones and tablets?
- How will these smartphones and tablets make valuable changes to your business?
You’re sure to fail if you don’t answer these questions, canvas your employees, and get the information you need before you start.
Second in importance only to the people who actually work for you, the products your company creates must also be future ready. In today’s business world this means seeing your IT technology and solutions portfolios as a product suite. This requires you to think beyond the app itself and focus on infrastructure readiness and evolution instead.
Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must realize that mobile isn’t the new desktop. It’s actually changing the traditional functions of IT because there are new software packages (SaaS), platforms (PaaS), and applications (APIs) available. These things offer challenges beyond what your business can control, monitor, and remediate when a problem does occur. At the same time, it’s also answering the demand for creating consumer-like experiences. It’s important to make sure they’re evaluated for scale and agility though. In doing so, remember that consumers are looking for things that are easy to use, timely, and with which they don’t have to worry about the infrastructure. These are expectations that future-ready enterprises embrace.
Some businesses separate the infrastructure from the presentation. This lets IT certify and support their technical integrity. Non-technical staff then feel empowered to configure the functionality without getting in the way of the IT staff. The key is to take a fresh look at the infrastructure’s scalability and agility so they can extend, enhance, and evolve in what they do. This is especially true in the areas of networking, applications, compliance, InfoSec, disaster recovery, IT management, and support.
Processes and Technology
Clearly, all of this is based on a process that depends on technology. It makes everything easier. For instance, screen sharing apps will save your time, as smart time management is a must. This is just an example of what we need to remember as we design the process flow, which should flow around people and outcomes – not devices. Treasury Today even takes it so far as to say that we should use a combination of desktop/laptop, tablet, and smartphones to have a lot of power and mobility available to us each day.
Future forward organizations need to evaluate what technology they’re currently using. This is the starting point in deciding how things can be improved. It also helps find ways of mobilizing the business. You must remember that this mobilization must occur in two ways:
- Mobile only processes are those that you can move completely off of your computer. This is usually best for workforces that spend most of their time with customers – including nurses, electricians, plumbers, retail associates, hotel lobby personnel, airport and flight personnel, financial planners, and real estate agents just to name a few.
- Mobile also processes are best for customer relationship and management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) solutions. Some of the other great matches include travel planning, conference call and webinar solutions, cost management, IT management, disaster recovery, and email.
In order to be successful here, you must understand the impact of these metrics: the value of your business and its employees vs. their willingness to adopt new technology. It’s important to keep this in mind as you help them stretch and grow. Forcing them out of their comfort zone too soon or too fast is bound to backfire. This will also have a negative effect on your business and may even cost it some of the income you’ve come to depend on. Customers will notice when things aren’t running smoothly, causing them to question things as well.
Being future ready means being committed to being mobile today. The road to this destination is complex. Your business needs to understand everything that’s involved before it starts heading towards this “final” destination.