6 Ways You Can Embrace Business Mobility Do you remember when corded phones became cordless? Do you remember when cell phones became the new normal? Do you remember when Wi-Fi wasn’t possible? All of these major technology advances have changed how organizations run and how people go about their everyday lives. In line with these breakthroughs is the technology that allows organizations to be mobile and work from anywhere. Today there are many different kinds of services and solutions that allow organizations to be mobile with their day-to-day functions, and together they are completely changing how business is done. This shift to business mobility has been happening for a while. It started with an individual productivity focus by giving employees mobile devices (laptops, cell phones, tablets). Then it transitioned to team productivity, where organizations utilize applications and services designed for groups of users to collaborate and communicate. Now it’s evolved even further to business mobility, which is the shift to mobile processes and operations to increase productivity, streamline processes, and reduce mobile workforce costs. According to a VMware study, mobility strategies, such as business mobility, are creating better workflow, boosting employee productivity, and even producing a return on investment (ROI). Organizations that have implemented mobility services have seen a 72 percent improvement in overall IT staff efficiency. A Sage Research study found that a mobile voice solution led to a productivity increase of 3.9 hours per week, per employee. VMware also revealed that those same organizations have seen a 150 percent ROI. This trend of making applications, systems, and processes mobile is not going away. IBM believes that 44 percent more organizations will move their workloads to a hosted cloud solution over the next four years. IDC predicts that the mobile workforce will be roughly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce. If your organization is looking to implement solutions to enable workplace mobility in the near future, here are six solutions to think about. 1. Unified Communications Hosted PBX A hosted PBX phone system, which runs Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) eliminates the need for traditional telephone lines by delivering both voice and data over a single, private broadband connection. Such solutions can improve communication and collaboration among remote offices and employees working from home. Find-me, Follow-me This uses call forwarding and simultaneous-sequential ring options, which allows employees to receive calls on alternative phones. It also lets employees place calls from a different phone, as if it were an office line, complete with Caller ID. Application Integration and Online Portal When working from home, application integration grants access to personal and group calling lists, along with other features, conveniently from an integrated toolbar in Outlook or a web browser, so that you can continue to collaborate and call co-workers and clients. Many VoIP systems offer an online portal for mobile employees to access, so they can still download and view information, such as missed phone calls and voicemails. More advanced portals may include a smartphone app option and Instant Messaging (IM) integration, so that collaboration and access is even simpler. 2. Virtual Private Network (VPN) One of the most important mobile technologies for organizations to adopt is a VPN. This lets remote workers securely log-on to the organization’s network from any location. Having this in place allows your employees to establish a secure connection, while still being able to get their job done effectively. 3. Customer-facing Apps A unique way to be mobile is to allow your customers to be mobile with you. This means creating an application that your customers can use to interact with you on-the-go. Business Insider reports that 78 percent of adults in the U.S. use a mobile device, so developing a way for them to get their questions and problems resolved on their device makes sense. This improves your customer experience, which in turn can boost customer loyalty, satisfaction, and retention rates. 4. Back Office Integration When implementing mobile processes and software, consider how it will integrate with your current systems. Field Technology Magazine reports that the ability to work with current back-office systems is the top criteria when choosing a mobile workforce management system. Make sure the systems are compatible and can communicate with each other, so you can avoid regular maintenance and updates. 5. Standalone vs. Web-based When considering what type of mobile software to use, it’s beneficial to think about whether your organization would install it as a standalone service, or as a web-based service (Software as a Service – SaaS). Standalone services require maintenance to install and upgrade, while SaaS solutions will provide that as part of the service. It’s best to weigh the pros and cons and decide which solution is the best for your organization. 6. Meshed WAN Network A Meshed WAN network creates a totally private and customized network, and is an ideal solution for organizations that have two or more locations. This helps organizations bridge remote locations and makes new ways of doing business possible. Since a Meshed WAN network runs “in the cloud,” you benefit from professional management, advanced security, and flexibility, allowing employees and customers to communicate on one network. Taking the time now to research and invest in mobile technologies can help your team work better together and have a positive impact on your organization. As more organizations embrace the mobile workforce and adapt their processes and infrastructure to the cloud, it’s important to consider if there are any mobile technologies that can benefit your organization. Would your organization benefit from business mobility solutions? Rob Andersen Rob Andersen is a sales executive for Aureon Technology, where he has worked for the past seven years. He has helped contribute to Aureon being recognized with a 360 Award, for their end-to-end technology solutions. Rob is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he received his Bachelors degree in Marketing. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, spending time with his wife, and watching the Chicago Cubs.