With rapid and ongoing business adoption of smartphones and tablets, mobility has become a critical part of the enterprise for most global corporations. The first wave was about devices, then the challenge of managing BYOD. But, as enterprise mobility is maturing, there’s a marked shift to creating business value and increasing innovation with mobility initiatives.
Mobility technology creates business value through customer engagement (improving brand awareness, retaining customers), enhancing effectiveness and efficiency (increasing productivity, reducing costs) and enabling transformation (increasing revenues). However, many businesses have been slow to realize fullest potential of mobility.
It's Not the Hardware, It's the Software
What needs to happen to take business mobility to the next level? It’s not the hardware. Today’s smartphones and tablets are powerful, and highly capable of next-generation mobile business operations.
The innovation gap is on the software side. A number of hardware-based capabilities are largely untapped by most businesses. For example, GPS functionality enables businesses to target buyers by geography. Other device-based innovations allow advanced e-commerce capabilities with social media-based shopping and mobile content marketing.
There are few shining examples of mobile devices and advanced applications coming together, such as mobile payment apps at some popular coffeehouses and retail stores. This technology can be adapted and applied in a number of other industries as well, including a wide array of B2B field-based operations.
One objection business leaders pose to IT is the concern about mobile security. It’s a widely held myth that data is not safe when passing through—or residing on—mobile devices. Despite the concerns, mobile business transactions are just as secure, if not more secure, than PC-based operations.
In fact, wireless technology enables greater security than the desktop, primarily through two-factor authentication. This creative use of technology is most common in the mobile banking space, but expect to see the concept leveraged for multiple other industries in the future, enabled by wearable devices.
In addition to two-factor security applications, wearables will usher in a new age of personalization. Through wireless watches, glasses and other devices, consumers and business people will always be connected. This presents an entirely new landscape of opportunities and challenges for the IT team managing the mobile enterprise.
Mobile users are already demanding more personalized experiences, and expecting increased machine-to-machine functionality as the Internet of Things begins to enable on-the-go control of everything from business-critical devices to home appliances.
IT leaders can create significant business advantages by beginning with a mobile-first, end-user focused experience. This requires a holistic approach to the mobile strategy, from designing the ideal usability experience, to the architecture, integration, development and the post roll-out support and maintenance. In some cases, when internal resources are constrained, it’s wise to bring in a partner to deliver the end-to-end mobile solution.
As you build out advanced mobile capabilities, be sure to connect with your users—whether internal employees or customers—to gain insight into needs, business objectives and goals. Working with this feedback, focus your mobile application development on a comprehensive user experience design that focuses on optimum information and ease of navigation specific to users' needs.
Remember, your end users need an easy-to-use experience that makes business operations quicker, not cumbersome. Combine the disciplines of interaction design, graphic design and web technologies to deliver the most robust mobile user experience.
Mobile innovation provides a competitive advantage in today’s dominating and growing mobility environment. It’s time for business leaders to connect with mobile development experts and create next-generation software to catch up with the sophisticated capabilities of smart devices, to drive business value and ROI.