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.
Thomas Honoré is Chief Executive officer and President of Columbus.