The demand for access to business information and applications through mobile technologies such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, devices running Google Android and Windows 7 Mobile or using RIM Blackberry is surging as consumer preferences and behavior spill over into the business workforce. The massive growth of adoption of these technologies around the world has many business managers wondering how to effectively position their firms to benefit from the trend. The drive for mobility is part of the business technology agenda for most companies today. Obviously, however, in a business rather than personal context, more types and complexity of information are needed, ranging from access to documents and presentations, to status on initiatives and processes, and for specific application needs to perform various business intelligence functions.
Against this fast-moving mobile background it is clear that just having mobile access to e-mail is profoundly insufficient for increasing productivity and producing better-informed employees. The integration of mobile devices such as laptops, tablet computers, PDAs and smartphones, along with their various applications and software, make it easier than ever for workers to collaborate and businesses to communicate with staff, customers, and vendors.
Mobile technology allows people to use company data and resources without being tied to a single location. Whether your staff are travelling to meetings, out on sales calls, working from a client\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s site or from home anywhere on the globe, mobile devices can help them keep in touch, be productive, and make use of company resources.
Mobile IT devices can also change the way your company does business - new technologies lead to new ways of working, and new products and services that can be offered to your customers. They can make your team more efficient, more creative, and more valuable to your clients.
Every day businesses are learning more about the ways mobile technology can be used to increase their productivity and lead to increased profitability. Below are some of the key areas in which mobile technology can be useful:
Networking / Communication
Mobile technology allows companies to have an unprecedented level of connectivity between employees, vendors, and/or customers. Workers can download applications on their mobile devices that allow them to connect with others through social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter; or the firm can use native or web-based applications to enable direct communication with these audiences in a variety of ways.
Real-time communication with the office can be important in delivering business benefits, such as efficient use of staff time, improved customer service, and a greater range of products and services delivered. Examples might include:
- making presentations to customers, and being able to download product information to their network during the visit
- quotations and interactive order processing
- checking stock levels via the office network
- interacting with colleagues while travelling - sending and receiving emails, collaborating on responses to tenders, delivering trip reports in a timely manner
Because of the interactive nature of mobile technology, sharing information through this medium allows businesses to get immediate feedback on products and services from customers. This speed and accessibility have led to faster research and development for companies, an important part of staying ahead of the competition. It has also led to product upgrades moving at a faster rate. In addition, customers and clients feel as if they have a more direct role in a company\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s development.
Mobile technology has introduced a new dimension into advertising and marketing for businesses worldwide. Potential customers now see business advertisements on mobile phones thru a wide variety of mobile marketing technologies including: SMS (text) messaging, mobile websites, mobile applications, banner ads, QR codes, IVR messaging and more.
These advertisements can be customized to reach a more specific, targeted audience thanks to software that "reads" the website or information individuals are seeking on their mobile device and displaying advertisements that relate to that information. Marketing is made more effective by this customization, and because most customers / potential customers always have a mobile device handy, their exposure to advertisements is increased.
Studies indicate that:
- 97% of mobile subscribers will read an SMS (text) message within 15 minutes of receiving it; 84% will respond within 1 hour. (do you know any other medium that gets your target\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s attention that fast? I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t!)
- Average campaign response rates are typically 12 - 15% (as opposed to direct mail which averages 2 - 3%); some companies are seeing response rates as high as 60%+!
- Mobile is NOT just for teens and twenty-somethings; prime purchasers in the 35 - 44 and 45 - 54 age brackets are also strongly embracing the use of Mobile
- While 65% of email is spam, less than 10% of SMS is.
- A recent study by Compete.com indicates that almost 40% of consumers are extremely interested in receiving mobile coupons for a wide variety of services / purchases!
- Demand for mobile websites is expected to exceed PC accessible websites sometime in 2011; if you don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t have one, you need one very soon!
Tickets can be booked and cancelled mobile phones using a variety of technologies. Users are then able to use their tickets immediately, by presenting their phones at the venue.
Mobile vouchers, coupons and loyalty cards
Mobile technology can also be used for the distribution of vouchers, coupons, and loyalty cards. These items are represented by a virtual token that is sent to the mobile phone. A customer presenting a mobile phone with one of these tokens at the point of sale receives the same benefits as if they had the traditional token.
Content purchase and delivery
Mobile content purchase and delivery mainly consists of the sale of ring-tones, wallpapers, and games for mobile phones, and is evolving into the purchase and delivery of full-length music tracks, video, books and more.
Knowing the location of the mobile phone user allows for location-based services such as:
- Local discount offers
- Local weather / news / sports
- Tracking and monitoring of people
- Traffic reporting
A wide variety of information services can be delivered to mobile phone users in much the same way as it is delivered to PCs. These services include:
- International and national News / sports
- Stock quotes
- Financial records
Banks and other financial institutions use mobile commerce to allow their customers to access account information and make transactions, such as:
- check bank balances
- process bill payments
- transfer funds between accounts
- verify deposits and other transactions
Stock market services allow the subscriber to react to market developments in a timely fashion and irrespective of their physical location.
Merchants accept orders from customers electronically via mobile device thru mobile websites and/or apps. In some cases, catalogs delivered via mobile.
Mobile technology can improve the services you offer your customers. For example, when meeting with customers you can access your firm\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s customer relationship management system - over the internet - allowing you to update customer details while away from the office. Alternatively, you can enable customers to pay for services or goods without having to write a check or swipe a credit or use cash. More powerful solutions can link you directly into the office network while working off-site to access such resources as your database or accounting systems. For example, you could:
- set up a new customer\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s account
- check prices and stock availability
- place an order online
Mobile technology leads to great flexibility in working - for example, enabling home working, or working while travelling. The growth of cloud computing has also impacted positively on the use of mobile devices, supporting more flexible working practices by providing services over the internet.