Enterprise Mobility Is About Business Process Transformation

Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

Capitalizing on mobile is at the top of most IT and business leaders agenda.  Unfortunately, mobility for many businesses is still too often a dialogue about “What devices and operating systems should I support?”, “Will tablets like the iPad replace PCs?” and “Should I let employees connect their personal devices to the network?”

While these topics are important, they won’t answer the key question of how mobile can help firms improve the business.  Companies need more than just a mobile device and apps strategy.  Businesses need a strategy that takes advantage of mobile’s unique capabilities such as location, presence, and the upcoming availability of sensor data to power transformation.

Mobile changes the number and type of devices that employees, customers and partners will use to connect with a business. This in turn allows businesses to collect data from mobile devices and even sensors, and analyze new data points that weren’t previously available, including location of activities, equipment status, and environmental conditions.

As IT looks to reconstruct applications, they should build in hooks for access to location data but also to other sensory information such as direction, vibration, humidity, and sound.

For example, logistics companies can use temperature sensors on trucks to monitor the condition of produce during shipping and route optimization to avoid inclement weather and traffic.  Mobile also adds new methods of interaction and engagement for both customers and employees such as SMS, push notification, native mobile apps, and social features such as check-ins.

For example, some universities and schools are using SMS and push notifications to alert students and parents of closures and safety alerts.  Leading retailers want to use geofences and check-ins to understand when customers have entered store and offer customized promotions as customers browse.  Equipment, such as telepresence rooms and defribulators will have presence and location information associated with it, allowing employees to find and reserve equipment with next generation collaboration systems.

Mobile also blends the digital with the physical in a way that couldn’t be done with PCs.  Augmented reality applications on mobile devices, once considered just a consumer feature, can be integrated with business processes.  What would this look like? A service technician could receive a push notification for the location of their next appointment, click to map the location and review the overall account information from the CRM application.

On site, the technician could use a smartphone or tablet with a camera to identify a piece of equipment. The reality browser could surface a list of common problems collected from the repair company’s collaboration system and offer links to download manuals and view tutorials.

Mobile is more than just an access method and a device. Mobile and its related technologies offer a way to enhance business processes and create competitive differentiation.

Maribel Lopez is the founder of Lopez Research.  She can be reached at mlopez@lopezresearch.com, @MaribelLopez, or at 415-894-5781.
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