Some of mobility’s impacts will likely directly affect people, changing the way individuals and teams work together, and the ways customers receive service and support. Others will likely affect how companies manage their internal process flows and their alliance relationships, changing the nature of business processes and opening the door for new, transformational business models. Mobile technology will likely also require changes in the systems and infrastructure that support the business, with implications for networks, devices, databases and applications.
These changes are both interrelated and interdependent, requiring the commitment of all parties involved. Workers will need to adapt to new methods of collaboration. Companies will need to recognize the potential for new approaches to task management and be open to establishing systems that allow more direct and immediate communication with their supply chain partners. IT departments will need to support a broader portfolio of devices and operating systems in a more open architecture, while ensuring that security is maintained and privacy protected.
To imagine what this future looks like, we need to consider the mobile enterprise from six perspectives. Mobile technology will likely affect workers, customers and processes, as well as business operations, computer applications and technical infrastructure. In each of these areas, the mobile enterprise will likely do business in ways that are different from what’s done today.
Impacts on People
In the enterprise of the future, mobilization affects individual workers in a number of ways. With location independence, people work from virtually anywhere and access the same resources they have in a traditional office. That means workers have more flexible schedules and perform work as needed, on demand. Employees in such an environment can be more easily rewarded based on performance, and management’s focus has shifted from monitoring attendance to evaluating results – from activity to productivity. In the mobility future, the idea is not just to put in time, but to get things done more quickly.
The mobile enterprise of the future is also realizing incredible savings because of the influence that mobility has on reducing cost structures. Mobilization has also had an impact on how people work with each other, and how work teams are organized. Ad hoc virtual teams bring together gatherings of geographically separate people, letting them work toward a single, common objective. With real-time location and status awareness, teams are working together virtually, just as they do in a single location. New collaboration technologies, integrating voice, web and video, are supporting on-demand adaptive workspaces and social collaboration so teams can acquire and utilize resources more easily. This has a positive benefit for productivity, as well as for morale and employee satisfaction – when people have the right tools, they can get more done and take more pleasure in their jobs.
From the customer’s perspective, mobility means higher quality service, and that leads naturally to increased customer satisfaction. Mobile queries provide real-time access to accurate inventory information, even in the field. On-demand order placement, management, fulfillment and payment processing now occur at the customer’s premises, with remote status monitoring and order modification. Customers are issued real-time alert notifications of special events, something that adds value for them while driving additional revenue. These are potential examples of the kind of transactions enhancers mentioned earlier.
Mobile customers of the future are also benefiting from improvements in support and customer care. Mobile-enabled field support teams respond more quickly, since they now have direct access to corporate diagnostic tools, manuals and training – all examples of knowledge enhancers in action. Remote support employees are able to tap into expert collaboration networks with presence capabilities, seeking the advice of technical experts and delivering faster, smarter responses in the field. Remote monitoring and diagnostics are dramatically improving the overall support experience, since monitoring devices have been embedded in the products themselves, allowing machine-to-machine transactions.
Impacts on Process
In the mobilized future, the technology has changed the way businesses manage their internal and supply chain relationships, primarily in terms of information flow. Work task context awareness has brought improvements in the way tasks are assigned and performed, since status information is dynamically monitored by performance alerting support systems. Mobile data capture and viewing provide real-time visibility for “live” information streams, while optimized data delivery supports many kinds of end devices. These new information flows allow for very precise asset management, and data from tagged assets is tracked in-transit so problems can be recognized and reported in real-time.
Mobilization has also changed the business process at the task-management level. With remote task administration, work is centrally assigned, modified, optimized and redistributed to available resources. Mobilized workflows have increased self-sufficiency and decreased time to completion, and real-time monitoring has reduced downtime. Managers make better decisions more quickly, given the improved access to real-time situational information represented by mobile reporting enhancers. Mobilization also supports on-the-job training within a real work context. It has changed the way companies support internal operations and improved asset utilization. That means better supply chain management and more dynamic inventory control. As the workforce shifts to remote and mobile modes of working, the need for office space is being progressively reduced.
These process concepts are all examples of workflow enhancers, and good examples can be seen in the technology that supports express delivery services. It’s already possible to follow a package as it moves through the system, traveling from warehouse to transport hub to the van in your own community. With that model extended to other kinds of business, and further enhanced with workflow logic, automated alerts and machine-to-machine communications, we see even greater efficiencies. In manufacturing, wireless smart-sensor technology has allowed the integration of scheduling, parts control, inventory management, equipment maintenance and dozens of other routine activities, as well as the dynamic monitoring of key performance indicators to support continuous process improvement.
Beyond the changes in internal operations, mobilization has changed the way companies are working with their business partners, leading to the development of business “ecosystems.” Companies have developed trusted integration and interdependence networks that allow real-time information flows across corporate and partner systems. The free flow of information means greater innovation, as partners collaborate under a shared vision supported by an integrated infrastructure. The synchronization of mobile workforces and central information systems is a value-add for all participants, providing new and better ways to orchestrate the development of global markets.
Impacts on Technology
In a mobilized future, business systems have been enhanced to accommodate the potential of a mobile business model. The new technologies have improved the way in which workers interact with core business systems. Personalization lets workers set application and device preferences to customize their interaction, in terms of work flow, content, formatting, accessories and features. Over the Air provisioning improves the control of mobile asset software, firmware and related parameters, making it easier to manage existing devices and facilitating the deployment of new ones. It also lets companies maintain field-based technology without the use of depot services.
To make the most of the new environment, mobile applications have adopted new design principles. Applications are device agnostic, leveraging cross-platform tools to minimize the cost and time required for deployment and administration. They can accommodate dynamic content delivery and formatting, with auto-sensing of end-device specifications in order to deliver an optimal display based on form factor, content type and user role.
Finally, the art of database management has embraced a new, more dynamic feature set. Real-time data processing and monitoring lets Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other databases return data on demand or incorporate alerting systems that distribute data as required for prompt response and action. Applications have been modified to deliver a high degree of interoperability so they can interact with ordering, supply chain and customer systems. Mobile-enabled systems also have powerful authentication protocols, helping customers set the appropriate level of security at network, application, server and device level.
Share us on: