Mobility: Creating Competitive Advantage

Worldwide, organisations are embracing mobility, and businesses that successfully grasp the impact of this trend are using it as a competitive advantage. Mobility can have a transformational effect on the way employees think about the way they work, and it can drive innovation in process efficiencies and productivity.

Today, there are more mobile workers in the world, than desk-bound employees. It’s not only sales staff and field technicians who are mobile, but also people in a range of jobs we previously thought of as ‘fixed’ or ‘on-site’ (from in-store retail staff to call centre agents).

Competitive advantage put simply, is an organisation's ability to increase user productivity, and reduce demands on its resources. Mobilising its workforce, extending the reach of both office applications, and voice and data communications, is one way in which successful organisations are achieving this. With staff able to operate beyond the confines of the traditional desktop environment, productivity can be enhanced, processes streamlined, with improvements flowing through to customer satisfaction, and profitability.

The Benefits of Deploying Mobility in the Workplace

Reduces cost of doing business: Mobility changes the work habits of employees by allowing them to work from any place at any time, and from the device of their choosing. This flexibility improves business processes and increases efficiency; thus, saving time and money. This saved effort can be channeled toward other business initiatives. Mobility greatly reduces paperwork. By replacing paperwork with mobile forms, businesses simplify the process of data-gathering and collaboration as mobile devices are used to access, collect and submit data in real-time.

Increases employee productivity: Mobility can make the company more flexible and responsive. iPass recently published their Mobile Workforce Report, which found that during downtime 90 percent of employees (on average) check their smartphones every nine minutes. Employees are already bonded to their mobile devices. Mobility increases productivity by allowing them to do work with these same devices - from any place, at any time and with data on the company network.

Improves employee responsiveness and increases decision-making speed: Mobility gives employees the flexibility to communicate and collaborate with customers, suppliers and other employees regardless of location and time.

Increases customer satisfaction: In today's competitive market, it’s a challenge to differentiate a company simply on product alone. Often, remarkable customer service is the differentiator. Mobility delivers the advantage of addressing the needs of customers in real-time and from any location. Employees are more responsive and produce more effective results, which translates into higher customer satisfaction.

Employees are increasingly purchasing their own mobile devices and using them for personal and business purposes, not just email but other collaborative solutions and line of business applications as well. Rapidly shrinking cameras, GPS, microphones and sensors enable users to perform tasks never before possible.

How can your organisation leverage these changes for competitive advantage?

Mobility is Good for Employees

Embracing mobility means employees are no longer tethered to their offices during designated business hours. They can enjoy the flexibility of working wherever and whenever they choose. According to a Cisco Connected Technology World Report:

  • 82% of employees use smartphones to access documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

  • 70% of employees use their smartphones to check their emails outside of business hours.

  • 43% of employees connect their work email accounts to their personal smart phones.

Adoption is no longer an issue, it's now about harnessing this behaviour in a way that benefits both company and staff. How can you make it easier for staff to get the job done when they're not hard-wired into your office systems.

Mobility is Good for the Company

Mobility increases efficiency within the company by saving time and effort. According to a recent Forrester research report, The Expanding Role of Mobility in the Workplace, enterprise mobility increased:

  • worker productivity by 75%
  • employee responsiveness and decision-making speed by 65%
  • customer issue resolution by 48%.

Mobility is Good for Customers

In today’s competitive marketplace, outstanding service is a primary differentiator. The same Forrester survey mentioned above found that enterprise mobility increased customer satisfaction by 42%. Increased employee productivity, responsiveness and issue resolution clearly translates to improved customer service.

Corporate Infrastructure Needed to Support Mobility

Mobility offers countless opportunities, but harnessing them requires expertise. To succeed in the new mobile world, you must know how to create, implement and maximise a mobile strategy, while being open and responsive to all the changes that will occur along the way.

Mobility gives employees the flexibility to access systems from anywhere. However, mobile applications must comply with company security protocols to interface securely with enterprise data and software. This protection benefits both the company and the employees, as it secures sensitive company information from unauthorized access, and protects the privacy of employees' personal data.

Similar to when ERP applications were introduced, mobility has the same potential to change the playing field for how businesses compete. It's not just about making corporate email available on mobile devices, but about enabling employees to interact with business applications from anywhere, at any time.

CIOs realise the potential of mobility to better run, grow and transform their organisations. The CIOs interviewed for Gartner’s 2014 CIO survey ranked mobility among their top three technology priorities. As enterprises' use of mobility becomes increasingly complex, their requirements to protect data and support users will become more complex as well.

Companies can maximise the benefits from mobility only if their users can access all the necessary tools and information needed to quickly and correctly accomplish their jobs. Ensuring enterprise resources stay connected to critical data can mean an increased competitive advantage and better customer service, a more productive workforce and the ability to make more informed decisions at the point of contact.

Mobility is a Competitive Advantage

Mobility represents a sea change in the way we live and work. Forward-thinking companies are leveraging the power of mobility. Those that aren’t will find themselves at a disadvantage. To keep up on all the progress being made in the mobility space, click here to sign up for updates.

Our next blog post will dive a little deeper into how mobility helps to improve staff engagement.

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Rowan Schaaf

About Rowan Schaaf

Rowan has been in the technology sector for over 20 years in business development, strategic planning & business analysis. He is co-founder of Pattern, a software development firm based in NZ. →