Realistic Mobility - What You Can and Cannot Achieve

By Dani Magestro
Updated: June 11, 2012

Realistic Mobility - What You Can and Cannot Achieve

Workforce mobility is changing the way the world does business. Can you run your business by fully going mobile? Most likely not but there are benefits if you decide to provide some sort of mobile solution to your staff. By going mobile you open up the doors to infinite data availability meaning your field staff can now work more efficiently. Being on the go no longer means you have to wait until you back at the office to do your job. There are quite a few things your business can achieve by going mobile. The key is being realistic in what you need to achieve and knowing your limits.

By going mobile a company can attempt to beat out their competition by providing real-time service. If your business is to repair items and your employees need specs to do this, they can download them with ease. In fact you can house several books or manuals and they no longer have the need to lug the paper copies around with them.  If your company has inventory, the staff can now see that inventory on the go. No more waiting to process quotes once they get back to the office thus reducing the time for your competition to swoop in and take the prospect. Another benefit of mobility is field staff can also put in trouble tickets on the go and communicate with other departments within seconds via email.

Another thing your business can achieve when going mobile is the availability to use a CRM tool out in the field. This gives your sales staff the ability to take notes and add in comments for any meetings or visits they have. In the past, relying on paper for note, or worse no notes at all often left many qualified leads untouched. The connection in all of this is the CRM then allows you to plan a follow up call sending a reminder to the sales staff next week to talk to the prospect.  It becomes as simple as a calendar entry that will send the sales staff a text or email reminding them to do the task. There is no forgetting, no remembering and it reduces the margin of error greatly.

There are some limitations to also think about when going mobile. If your entire business is reliant on mobile technology and you don’t have a home office with hardwired connection, you are then at the mercy of the technology. It used to be that if bad weather came in and you lost your connection you were dead in the water. With wireless mobility you now have the option of using another connection but that connection is also apt for failure. If you are simply using Wi-Fi, power outages can leave you hanging. If you are using a 4G data connection and the network goes down, you are also left with no connection.  If you rely heavily on one solution you are also putting all your digital eggs in one basket. It’s a good idea to have a backup if you feel that losing a connection to your data will stop all business transactions out in the field.

Another limitation in becoming mobile is security. Security has the potential to be a huge drawback in the enterprise mobile world.  There are security holes to avoid and the risks seem to be announced daily. Security itself is actually an issue internally as well as externally. Everyone knows that using open WiFi, or any non-home network connection is risky but what about the person using the device? Giving your staff mobile devices that allow downloads and personal communication opens the doors for a floodgate of security compromise.  You can’t guarantee this won’t happen but you can do things to limit the possibility such as locking down devices and enforcing policies from an HR perspective.

So what other limitations does mobility have? The biggest is that it is currently impossible to provide mobile integration with every system you normally use in the office. While there are many apps available for most popular software solutions if you use an in-house or proprietary solution it may take some hard work to get it integrated with any mobile designs. Investing in solutions like this can be cost prohibitive even if they do bring in sales. More than likely launching a small mobile plan into your IT infrastructure can benefit your business. Just pay close attention to security concerns as well as costs and keep a realistic view on what you want to accomplish.

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