Cue the App-lause: you can run your business from your phone
The smartphone in your pocket or the wearable on your wrist is no longer merely a way to keep in touch with people; it can now be a control centre for your whole life – including your entire business writes Raj Mistry, VP of EMEA Sales Engineering at Salesforce
Current trends like globalisation, collaborative working and employee mobility are all coming together, making it more important than ever for employees to be able to work effectively from their phones. And I really mean work effectively, because access in the world of work is no longer just about checking emails on the fly.
Innovations in IT, like the smartphone and wearable devices, mean organisations have a great opportunity to reinvent the way they work, becoming more flexible and also more collaborative.
The key to this however, lies not in the mobile device itself, but rather the apps that run on it.
Just as external apps allow businesses to engage more easily with their customer base, internal apps also enable company employees to work more efficiently. For today’s on-the-move worker, mobile apps are critical to completing day-to-day tasks and making informed decisions. These apps don’t just help organisations work – they actually form the backbone of their business, from closing sales to answering complex customer queries and doing payroll. What’s more, these mobile apps can deliver real competitive advantage. For example, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) was able to cut the amount of time it took to sign up new customers by 60% through an app that allowed sales reps to perform vital admin on-the-go, meaning employees spend more time meeting customers and making sales.
Social networks deliver greater collaboration
For organisations that want to remain collaborative as their workforce expands and changes, one of the most important apps to ‘mobilise’ is the enterprise social network. Delivered via mobile devices, it is improving collaboration, and therefore productivity, for thousands of companies around the world. One such business is the Financial Times. It uses the social enterprise app Chatter to enable employees to see everything that is going on at the company and to remain aligned to customer needs. Colleagues across all departments are able to share information, solve problems, and work together to provide the best possible experience for customers. At the same time all this interaction is helping to strengthen the company’s culture.
Smaller organisations are also taking advantage of social collaboration apps. For luxury lifestyle brand Quintessentially, the specialist knowledge of its consultants is vital to the service it delivers. Therefore, its London Nightlife team knows about new club openings months before they happen. Thanks to its enterprise social networking tool, insights like these are shared instantly with employees in 60-plus countries – regardless of whether they are at their desks or out and about – allowing Quintessentially to deliver unsurpassed customer service.
A single dashboard interface
While a range of mobile business apps can give you the data required to make informed decisions and collaborate, they can also be cumbersome to use. Accessing many apps individually on your phone isn’t really effective working. To improve the mobile user experience, organisations should look to create a single interface or platform to access the different apps their employees need.
For example Just Eat has used apps to help it thrive during a period of massive growth; automating processes that were becoming more cumbersome with expansion – and at the same time improving the customer experience. To further improve the employee experience and reap even greater benefits from its approach, the company has created a single platform that provides access to the apps via a single dashboard. The outcome? Managers are now saving several hours a week.
The ongoing boom in mobile connectivity, not just from smartphones but also from wearables and the Internet of Things will be the biggest catalyst for change in the way businesses operate since the birth of the Internet. It’s an exciting place to be – and one where organisations can truly empower their employees to run their businesses from their phones. And that, I believe, is worthy of an app-lause.
Raj Mistry, VP of EMEA Sales Engineering at Salesforce