Sometimes you can feel a little old when you think about how life was without smartphones and tablets. This is how I felt recently when I returned from a rewarding business trip. Columbus had just announced the acquisition of the company Dynamics Anywhere, a leading mobility software company. When I came home and told my 17-year old son about the acquisition and the fantastic opportunities it offers our customers, his enthusiasm was not quite the same as mine.
For a moment, I felt like a relic of the past, but I actually think that it was a meeting with the generation gap. My son never experienced what life was like without the extreme mobility and immediate accessibility to the surrounding world, we have at hand today. Mobility has revolutionized our lives and our consumption. And in the same way it is in the process of revolutionizing the way, we do business.
Roughly speaking, you can say that if a company does not have a mobile strategy, it does not have a strategy for the future. An ordinary consumer expects that the supplier is present and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Multiple everyday activities aredone mobile and socially. The consumers communicate, read newspapers check stock prices, transfer money, go shopping, report tax and VAT, book plane tickets, train tickets, vacation and restaurants via mobile phone. The consumer is more powerful than before, because the market is more transparent. And that trend has an impact on all businesses.
However, mobility is not only about optimizing customers’ interaction with the company. It is increasingly about making the company’s employees mobile. Or to put it another way, the employees’ need for mobility is a consequence of the consumer’s mobility. Employees have an increased need to interact with the business data at all times from all kinds of devices, whether it is the responsible manager, a sales executive, a technician on the road, a logistician or an employee at the plant.
Today many companies prioritize mobile applications for employees as high as mobile applications for customers. Employees’ mobile interaction with business data speeds up the decision process, it increases efficiency and improves customer service.
Mobile e-commerce is in its infancy, but in a few years, mobile e-commerce will make up the majority of the total e-commerce. Companies must be ready for this. My son does not share my enthusiasm, because he, as most consumers, does not have the detailed knowledge of the challenge in creating a link between mobile applications and the company’s IT systems. However, his generation will on the other hand set the new standards for mobility. Companies need to make sure that their mobile strategy ensures seamless integration between mobile applications and the company’s back-end systems. Only by doing this, you get the full effect of mobility.
Currently, many companies are going through a dramatic journey, as the market and its opportunities quickly change in character. It is all about being ready to meet disruption, especially before the competitors. As a leader, you should be able to foresee these drastic changes. But what does disruption exactly require from you as a leader?
Today, the walls of the corner office have fallen. Along with Millennials entering the labour market, technology has overtaken the exchange of knowledge and admiration has disappeared. This imposes new requirements to the manager including a significant change in leadership style.