If you could transport the average man or woman from the early 90s and walk them around the streets of modern Britain, the first thing they might notice, other than the preponderance of hitherto unknown chains like Starbucks and Nando’s, is the fact that every second person seems to be jabbing at handheld devices, and ignoring their surroundings. The mobile revolution has happened so fast that even those of us living through it have been taken by surprise. These days phone boxes and fax machines are museum pieces as nearly everyone is carrying a mobile device or smart phone around with them at all times.
Phones and mobiles are not just being used to swap gossip and cat videos. No, thanks to fast wireless broadband, and the cloud, they have become essential business tools that allow workers to keep up to date with what’s going on in the office, chat to colleagues and clients, schedule work, edit documents, video conference and…well yes, share cat videos (this is the main point of the internet after all).
But this mobility and mobile platforms are changing and adapting all the time. So let’s take a look at what could be in the pipeline for your small or medium business.
Round the clock mobility is transforming the way business is done.
Mobility is already having an affect on your business, whether you like it or not. Even if you are a luddite who works in the most old-fashioned of sectors, your customers and staff might not be, they want to connect with you in the same way they might order a pizza or an uber cab. So embrace mobility, it has its advantages. Your staff can free up time that was once wasted on desk-based administration, carry out some tasks on the go and be able to answer customer queries and deal with emergencies out of hours. Rather than avoid the topic of mobility, you need to take control by talking to your customers and staff as to how they are using mobile devices to interact with your company and then put together a mobility roadmap.
Make sure you’re getting your apps right
If you have already embraced mobility you’ll know that it’s apps that really boost your business. Apps are being developed to meet nearly every need and sector, improving office processes and customer services. But if you’re thinking of developing your own apps, you’ll have to make that important choice between native platforms (installed via an app store like Google Play or Apple’s App store and designed for a single platform) and HTML5 (which enhances the ease with which content can be structured and presented online. Of course both have their own distinct advantages – with native platforms it tends to be performance and alignment with platform UI, with HTML5, development tends to be faster as it is cross platform. But what is actually more important is how ready your enterprise systems are for mobile, whether you have the mobile skills among your team and which system your development team prefers.
What’s more, most businesses will need multiple apps and this is where choosing between native and HTML5 becomes a bigger issue. Before you invest you need to closely examine your needs, talk to experts and consider what you need from mobile apps to ensure you get the tools you need.
Don’t ever forget about security
The idea that mobile technology is somehow less secure than more established tech is one thing that keeps many business owners from embracing the technology wholeheartedly. And security should be a concern, your staff can lose their phones and tablets, get sloppy when it comes to securing their Wi-Fi or could simply be unlucky and get mugged. All of this can put your precious company data at risk. But things are changing fast in this area, so as a business owner you shouldn’t be put off going mobile by security concerns. There are all sorts of methods you can use to ensure safety, including state-of-the-art encryption, remote wipes, identity and access management and, secure remote access to name but a few. It is well worth talking to someone with expertise in this area, like the team here at Damson Cloud, if you have worries about security, but good sense, employee training and vigilance should ensure that you enjoy safe and secure mobile computing.
Use mobile cloud platforms
If you are making more use of mobility, you need to remember that the cloud offers more efficiency, scalability and flexibility, and can act as a hub between the mobile devices of your team and any existing IT systems you are running. When your mobile solution is making use of a mobile cloud platform, all infrastructure, data and processing happens outside the mobile devices so that any new applications such as context aware social networks can be enabled. Mobile cloud platforms can also leverage smartphone features such as GPS and location information. What’s more, using mobile cloud platforms developers can work on apps without having to install new infrastructure and data.
There’s no denying that smartphones and tablets are here to stay, so you need to make sure that your business is ready. It is worth taking a long look at how your team works together and how your customers connect with your business to ensure you get the most out of mobility. If you feel that it sounds like a lot of work or is an intimidating process going mobile, it is well worth talking with experts who can help you put a road plan in place to thrive in this more mobile world.
Want to know more about how mobility can boost your business? You should come and talk to the team at Damson Cloud IT and we can help you out.