No Two Ways About It: Integrating Mobile is a Game Changer

Businessman using a mobile deviceSmartphones and tablets untethered us from desktop computers, TVs and even our houses, making us mobile in ways we didn’t imagine a few short years ago. Mobile is an integral part of our daily lives. For businesses, too, mobile is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. In fact, a guest post on The Atlantic says that mobile computing is a real game-changer for companies.

Guest writer Ed Brill, Mobile Enterprise Marketing Director for IBM, writes that companies on the leading edge of applying mobile technology know that it’s more than an effective way to connect with customers. Smartphones and tablets are driving employee productivity, dishing up amazing insights and sparking new business models and services, according to an IBM study. Mobile leaders, it found, are using mobile to fundamentally change the way they do business. They’re using mobile to make it easier for employees to be mobile and respond quickly to customers. And they’ve learned to analyze mobile data so that their mobile initiatives pay off.

Smartphone subscribers (to the tune of 1.5 billion!) mean mobile opportunity for companies of all sizes. Brill suggests a few steps to make sure you’re taking advantage of them to move ahead:

    • Develop a strategy. Just as in the early days of the Internet, many are taking a hit-or miss approach to mobile. This results in projects and technology that isn’t connected. Start at the beginning and develop a comprehensive strategy from the ground up.
    • Focus on the customer. Always ask the fundamental question: How can we use mobility—and smart devices—to improve our operations and ultimately, customer service?
    • Build a foundation and build on that. Make sure you’re mastering the fundamentals: Integration, design, security and analytics. And, Brill says, don’t be afraid to think big.

Mobile offers pretty much limitless possibility for all businesses. But Small Business Computing asks the question, “What does mobile really mean for small business?” Contributor Jill Billhorn says that while mobile devices are changing the way small businesses operate in positive ways, it can be especially challenging for them to manage the integration of these devices.

Billhorn cites research in which 94 percent of small business mobile device users agreed that mobile technology makes them more efficient, and over two-thirds of those said their businesses would lose competitive ground without them. But like their larger counterparts, small businesses often lack a cohesive mobile strategy—especially when it comes to mobility for employees, which is now critical for small businesses.

Billhorn says what small businesses need is an MDM (mobile device management) strategy that will simplify the deployment, management and integration of all mobile technologies. There are the devices themselves, sure, but many other choices like carriers, content management, and ongoing support for users and applications. It probably makes sense for most small businesses, then, to consider infrastructure and mobility issues collectively: Networking, storage, computing and security. Mobile adoption and management involve five critical components:

    • Plan
    • Enable
    • Protect
    • Support
    • Empower

If you’re just getting your arms around mobile for your business, one of the first places to make the move is mobile web integration. Deluxe’s Small Business Blog points out that even though customers may be looking in brick-and-mortar stores, chances are that they’ll purchase online. Having your website optimized for mobile and in tip-top shape increases the chances that once they visit your site, they’ll stay to buy. This is a great reminder for all small businesses in the holiday shopping season! It’s the perfect time to take a pause and review your site’s design, navigation and checkout process to make sure your customers have the best possible mobile experience and you get the sale.

Image courtesy of Chaiwat /

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