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Expert opinion: The rapid rise of business mobility

Expert opinion: The rapid rise of business mobility

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The introduction of mobile solutions within the workforce is allowing for improved scalability, flexibility and productivity. Leigh Moody, SOTI UK MD, talks to us about the importance of businesses adapting to a mobile workforce to keep up with the pace of Digital Transformation in the modern world.

Mobility is having a profound impact on how global organisations are operating. It has changed how people and businesses connect, transforming customer service and remodelling how businesses manage their mission-critical processes.

With access to increasingly powerful mobile devices, intuitive and immersive applications and robust networks, the way organisations structure their workforces has significantly changed. With more than 50% of the workforce now mobile – representing 1.7 billion workers – mobile solutions are no longer a luxury but rather a necessity for many workers to perform well.

Be it field service technicians, delivery drivers, nurses or first responders, many of these workers are frequently dispatched to remote locations to provide acute care or services – and they depend on their devices for real-time access to critical information at the point of interaction.

However, this new era of ‘mobile-first’ does not come without its challenges. Dealing with scale, diversity, interoperability and remote support for all the new devices and endpoints that are now deployed throughout a workforce are just a few elements that an organisation must contend with.

Catering to an evolving workforce

Today, workforces are distributed and digital, and mobilising a workforce is critical not only for employee satisfaction and productivity, but also for an organisation’s bottom line.

Mobility solutions empower employees to work ‘smarter’ while improving productivity by providing the required information on the go. Organisations everywhere are revamping business models to equip employees with solutions that support a variety of applications including; dispatching, customer relationship management, asset management, mobile point of sale (POS), medication administration and warehouse management – to name just a few.

The benefits associated with these investments are equally diverse as it can increase workforce performance efficiencies, enabling flexibility, improving customer engagement, streamlining operations and improving decision making so organisations can maximise their competitive advantage.

It also affords greater creativity, redefines operations and ultimately aids business growth. But the shift to business mobility is not just about cutting costs, nor jump-starting revenues – it is also about serving and delighting customers and building future businesses for the digital era.

Mobility is no longer just a new business trend – it’s a means of working that is being embraced by employees and customers alike; helping to provide people with more personalised and efficient services, while enabling employees to realise new levels of productivity.

The mobility management challenge

Regardless of size, any organisation with a mobile workforce must have mobility management software in place. Smart and rugged devices are now critical to business and must be managed and supported efficiently.

For the most part, devices and apps work smoothly, but sometimes things go wrong. Even one dropped connection or poorly performing application per shift can translate into an annual cost of almost £16,000 in support and productivity loss per mobile worker. The consequence of each failure incident can result in up to 100 minutes in lost productivity or 23% of a daily shift.

There is no doubt that the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets has made business mobility more complicated. With a huge range of makes and models of mobile, tablets and special-purpose devices that often run on different operating systems, organisations that aren’t leveraging an integrated mobile approach could see significant losses in revenue.

While securing and managing a multitude of devices can be difficult, once business mobility is deployed, it is often the company’s network connectivity issues that are the leading cause of failures. This includes anything from basic cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity glitches to secure VPN problems. Almost as troublesome are software errors, specifically application issues, operating system problems and security/access control complications.

It should come as no surprise that the biggest concern for ongoing business mobility initiatives is data and file security. With new data privacy regulations such as GDPR in play, companies are more concerned than ever about keeping sensitive data secure and private.

As companies broaden and deepen their mobility deployments, real-time security and management of mobile devices, apps and their connectivity are more critical than ever.

Embracing business mobility

Mobile technology has become increasingly paramount to the success of a business and while improving workforce productivity remains the leading business-critical mobility investment driver, organisations are similarly leveraging these investments to drive revenues, improve real-time decision making and introduce competitive differentiation.

With almost 80% of organisations believing that their employees cannot do their jobs effectively without mobile technology, it is imperative that organisations understand business mobility is about much more than just the device. It is intrinsically about recognising and appropriately responding to changing user demands and behaviours.

The most successful business-critical mobile solutions consider all the key factors influencing performance – from mobile device and application capabilities to network performance and ultimately, user experience. Understanding and addressing the key challenges that affect the success of mobile solutions in the field – from application performance to network latency, data throughput, among others – is similarly important.

In response to new mobility capabilities being introduced to the market, coupled with improved organisational awareness of the wider benefits associated with a more comprehensive strategy, organisations are increasingly looking beyond device management to gain competitive advantage.

The demand for enterprise mobility solutions shows that the market has evolved significantly. From a capability perspective, enterprise requirements are evolving as organisations increasingly look to solutions that can help them not only manage a mobile workforce, but also empower users through mobile application management capabilities.

Meeting the needs of a modern workforce

Digital Transformation has had a profound impact on how organisations are operating. As customers continuously demand a better, differentiated experience and employees expect new ways of working that reflect the digital era we live in, the mobile device has been at the centre of this disruption.
Improving employee productivity, enhancing service experiences, generating new data and insights, and transforming business processes are key to any Digital Transformation effort. It should therefore come as no surprise that mobility is a key component of many of the Digital Transformation initiatives global organisations embark upon.

Not only does business mobility enable employees to be more efficient, it also gives them the freedom to multi-task and work creatively, improving productivity and meeting their appetite for cutting-edge tech in the workplace. However, as worker expectations evolve, organisations must recognise the impact that these demands will have on their workplace – and be ready to meet the needs of tech-savvy future workers who will comprise the workforce of tomorrow.

As employee requirements can differ significantly, specifically for mobile workers who require access to critical customer or asset information in real-time, the reliability of their mobile solutions comes at a premium. It is therefore imperative that organisations embrace the technology that will facilitate the mobilisation of the modern workforce, striking the right balance between keeping staff happy and realising new productivity efficiencies.

The nature of mobile and wireless technologies, and the environments they are used in to support business-critical applications is not straight forward. However, there is an opportunity for businesses to place mobility at the heart of their workforce. And with correct planning and execution, it can elevate an organisation above its competitors.

Organisations without a mobile strategy in place will soon be left one step behind and it is important that businesses take a close look to ensure that they bridge their mobility management gaps. Business mobility combines people, processes and technology to not only manage mobile devices, but also derive true business value from the digital age. It allows businesses to rise to the occasion by becoming truly mobile.

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