Embrace Enterprise Mobility with These Six Solutions
In an ever-connected world, consider these tools to aid a mobile workforce.
Articles published April 7, 2017 by Ron Schmudlach
Thanks to technological leaps and bounds, the way we all do business is changing. Do you remember when corded phones became cordless? How about when cell phones became the new normal? Or, when all we had was dial-up internet and Wi-Fi wasn’t possible?
Smartphones, Wi-Fi, and bluetooth connectivity are a few of the major advances in technology that have not only changed how people go about their everyday lives, but also how organizations run.
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. Modern technology makes it possible for employees to be agile and work from anywhere.
This shift towards enterprise mobility has been gradual. Granting mobility began with an individual productivity focus — by giving employees mobile devices (laptops, cell phones, tablets) so they could stay connected. Then the focus of mobility transitioned to team productivity, and organizations started utilizing applications and services designed for groups of users to collaborate and communicate. Now, the scope of mobility is even wider. It’s evolved to include 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.
IBM reports that the global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people — or 42.5 percent of the global workforce — in 2022. That means the trend of making applications, systems, and processes mobile is not going away.
If your organization is looking for ways to enable or enhance workplace mobility in the near future, here are six solutions to think about.
Hosted PBX & VoIP
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 uses call forwarding and simultaneous-sequential ring options, allowing employees to receive calls on alternative phones. It also lets employees place calls from a completely 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
One of the most important mobile technologies for organizations to adopt is a Virtual Private Network (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 to safely conduct business from afar. For mobile or remote employees, a VPN is essential to getting their job done effectively.
3. Customer-facing Mobile 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. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 96 percent of Americans own a mobile phone, and 81 percent of Americans own smartphones. With the world quite literally in the palm of their hands, developing a way for customers to get their questions and problems resolved on their mobile devices is imperative. This improves your customer experience, which in turn can boost customer loyalty, satisfaction, and retention rates.
4. Back Office Software Integration
A mobile workforce management system makes it easy for employees to safely access the data they need when they need it. When implementing mobile processes and software, consider how they will integrate with your current systems. Make sure the systems are compatible and can communicate with each other, so you can avoid regular maintenance and updates. In addition to compatibility, ease of use and scalability can also play an important role in determining the best solution for your organization.
5. SaaS Solutions
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 best for your organization.
6. Meshed WAN Network
Meshed WAN combines voice, data, and video into one network, resulting in improved performance and the flexibility needed for additional growth. 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. You can keep your business mobile and competitive without taking on the additional responsibilities of internal management when you outsource to a managed mobility provider. As more organizations embrace the mobile workforce and adapt their processes and infrastructure to the cloud, it’s important to consider how mobile technologies will benefit your organization.
How would your organization benefit from business mobility solutions?