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Make No Mistake: Mobility Will Transform Business

Mobile technology is transforming business—way beyond company email on our smartphones. Mobile’s next phase promises new and exciting business opportunities that challenge our notions of what’s possible.

In the past, talk about mobilisation has focused on the workforce or the customer. But now we know the opportunity is bigger than that. What companies really need to do is consider how mobile can improve every aspect of their operations.

At first, mobilization in business was reactive: employees started bringing their mobiles to work and IT tried to keep up with the trend by keeping things secure.

Now, there’s an opportunity for companies to be proactive: step back and strategically consider everything they do in light of how mobility can improve it.

IDG and SAP (my employer) have a new mobile playbook about this very thing. It’s called How Mobility Can Transform Your Business, and it’s the first in a three-part series of playbooks that I’ll be profiling this week and next.

There’s also a shift in focus from “consumerisation” and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) coping strategies to a platform-centric view. From the guide:

Here’s a sure sign that mobile application development is rising in importance: Gartner has coined a new term for it. The analyst firm is moving away from older mobility infrastructure terms—mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) and mobile customer application platform (MCAP)—and embracing mobile application development platform (MADP) as a new category for its Magic Quadrant.

So, yes, mobile will help employees work more efficiently, by allowing people to get work done when they’re out of the office just as if they were in the office. That’s an easy one, and largely already realized. Going a step further, mobile can help workers communicate and collaborate, make common business tasks (like holiday time-off requests or timecard approvals) easier and faster. It may also help salespeople access real-time inventory when they’re sitting with customers, place orders on the spot and close deals faster.

Or, in the case of Standard Bank of South Africa, it might even be able to open up a previously untapped market, render brick-and-mortar infrastructure unnecessary to reach it, and shorten the time it takes to sign new customers up for bank accounts from 28 minutes to less than 10. (Results: 7,000 new bank accounts opened every day.)

See what I mean about opportunity?