What would a shift to a mobile enterprise solution mean for your business? How big of a shift would mobile represent for your business?
A mobile enterprise is a mobile-enabled business that relies heavily on devices (tablets and smart phones primarily) to conduct part or all of its business functions. Tasks conducted using mobile enterprise solutions include company email, project management, calendars, document sharing, and internal tracking software for sales, invoicing, work orders, employee timesheets, and payroll. Additionally, companies can develop business-facing or customer apps specific to their needs.
The key advantage of mobile is also its greatest disadvantage. If a wireless network connection is available, tools and databases can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Security is still taken care of at the server level. Lost or stolen devices can pose a challenge, but password protection and remote wipe apps will protect your business against unauthorized access. Security issues tend to happen more as a result of user error. Employees who do not correctly follow security protocols are usually the greater risk. It’s always a good idea to include a well-written usage and security policy with training on new systems.
The disadvantage? The Internet is the foundation of the mobile enterprise. If a connection is not available in a remote location, or is disrupted for any reason, such as a natural disaster, the mobile enterprise system does not function. For employees in the field who rely on their mobile device to conduct their day-to-day work, this can be disastrous. The Government of Canada promised in the summer of 2014 to ensure access to high-speed internet in remote and rural areas, but as anyone with a cottage can attest, there are currently still a surprising number of grey zones where access is non-existent or spotty. Reliable, wide-spread access is coming, but until then, businesses who rely heavily on mobile to provide, say, data in the field to their sales force, might consider having a back-up solution that does not rely solely on the Internet.
Still not convinced that you should look into a mobile enterprise solution for your business? Consider that mobile is a great way to attract employees and improve employee satisfaction and retention, especially for the younger, tech-savvy workforce. Employees are empowered by real-time access to data at point of sale or during meetings, and having the autonomy and agency to close the business transaction loop on the spot translates into happier, more engaged staff. The use of mobile can increase productivity by as much as 45 percent and reduce redundancy by 27 percent.
The bottom line on mobile enterprise solutions? If it’s not something you’re considering now, start looking at your two and five-year business goals to see how you can start to transition to mobile. Start with moving a few small functions online if you think your workforce will be slow to adapt. And remember, simpler is better. Make sure that employees can access what they need very quickly, with little download time, to really benefit from mobile’s clear advantages.
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