It’s easy to say “hey new mobile devices for everyone” – but are these devices proactive business tools or simply toys? Do mobility devices increase productivity or sales? Is it important for organisations to have a plan around incorporating mobility into the workforce, or is it something best left to evolve?
Increasingly mobility and the ability to demonstrate working mobile access is an important function. But, saying mobility is important can be a motherhood statement unless it is backed up with action and intent to make it an integral part of a daily work environment. Providing a workforce with mobility devices will obviously overcome an initial hurdle and that is familiarity. However, to maximise the use of these tools also requires an organisation to provide applications, enable integration and encourage exploration. Playing with technology, as though they are toys, is an important factor in learning tricks and tips, but playing alone will only go part of the way to proving their effectiveness. Providing a workforce with mobility will often lead to outcomes which are unintended, and this is helped along by the disparate nature of hardware and that rarely do things go according to plan.
Technology is always looking at ways to meet our demand for exchanging information as quickly as possible. We are squeezing the proverbial orange to extract the maximum use of our time. We thirst for instantaneous information and mobility is another step in the direction of connectivity that allows us to share information rapidly.
Yet mobility is not only about speed. It also allows us to capture information at a source which would prove very difficult by conventional means. Stock-taking is a classic example, whereby a hand-held device is used to scan items on a warehouse floor. In this case, it is the application that proves most useful, not simply the device alone. Unless a mobility device has a purpose, an application and (possibly) a process, it will be reduced to the base level of a glorified toy.
With CWR (Congestion Window Reduction) enabled devices, applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be displayed on mobile devices, such as iPhones, Blackberries or Android platforms. By providing CRM based applications to be accessible on the road, provides some obvious benefits, but this also requires a change in thinking to make it a reality. The salesperson needs to re-organise their work patterns to make use of the mobility when out of the office.
Where mobility is given due consideration and is encouraged as part of an overall business process improvement, it can yield both tangible and intangible benefits.