There’s a sense of urgency about mobile adoption, but it’s the approach companies take to the shift that determines their success, executive director of Telstra Home & Premium Services, John Chambers, says.
“The worst kind of mobile adoption is to think, ‘well, we’ve been on the net for a while and now we’ve got to go mobile because that’s what everyone is doing’,” Chambers says. “You have got to have the customer at the centre.”
Customer-centric mobile adoption
Customers want the ease of experience that mobility provides. And businesses stand to profit, too. Referring to a recent client, Chambers says: “A tree-lopping company, for example, has hundreds of people in the field. Rather than use paper, they’ve said ‘let’s package everything into a simple tablet application’.”
The app provides training and health and safety information as well as business systems. “Everything the person in the field needs is in one place, always available,” Chambers says. The result is rapid growth. “They’re winning more business because people are amazed at the pace they can deploy quality people, and it’s all done through their mobile app.”
Mobile offers a new world of customer engagement and employee empowerment. Both rely on access to data that allows mobile employees to solve customers’ problems faster, make sales more easily and understand their corporate objectives.
But mobile is no different to any other technology initiative – unless staff are clear about the business goals and measure the results, mobility will not change key metrics.
Companies are establishing specific and quantifiable goals, such as a percentage increase in sales or fewer errors, to show a clearer return on their mobility investment.
The worst kind of mobile adoption is to think, ‘well, we’ve been on the net for a while and now we’ve got to go mobile because that’s what everyone is doing’.– John Chambers, executive director, Telstra Home & Premium Services
Partnerships to deliver mobile
Customers expect offline companies – such as the tree surgeons mentioned above – to become partner with the online world and become mobile, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The report, Connecting Companies: Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age, highlights the “always-on” consumer. “Consumers are moving effortlessly between the real world and the digital world,” the EIU’s John Ferguson says. “The research was to understand how companies view that revolution.”
The research showed companies embracing digital disruption. “We asked how does your company perceive digital disruption and 38 per cent said they embrace it,” says Ferguson. “Another 24 per cent said we are responsible for that change. People showed no fear.”
British bike company Brompton’s, for example, partnered with the trusted British postal service, Royal Mail, which launched an e-commerce site in China selling distinctively British products. Entering new markets is now the second biggest reason for entering digital partnerships.
Changing people first
Established companies face a challenge from new competitors that are born mobile.
“Much of what businesses are doing is embedded in old systems,” Chambers says. But it’s not just about legacy software. “Changing people’s ideas, moving them away from their desk and saying ‘you can be free’ can be quite problematic.”
However, home mobile technologies such as Fitbit are helping to change attitudes at work. “It’s exciting,” Chambers says.
Some professions are of course taking to mobile with enthusiasm. For district nurses, the ability to start the day by logging in from home and uploading case notes means they can spend more time with the people who matter most – their patients.
Idea in brief
- Mobile offers a new world of customer engagement and employee empowerment
- Consider how customers interact with your app at every stage of development
- Set specific and measurable goals to see if your mobile investment is paying off
- Some companies establish unexpected digital partnerships to enter new markets