A delicate but business critical transformation
For decades, technology has shaped how we perform our work and conduct business. The introduction of the car has led to decentralisation and local ecosystems. The introduction of digital technologies in the 80s and 90s has led to globalisation dissolving the geographical barriers to communicate and interact. With the current mobile technologies and innovations, we’re merging the physical with the digital world, allowing for communication and interaction anywhere anytime without spatial barriers delivering a huge potential in how we shape and conduct business: Enabling enterprise mobility.
Enterprise mobility is not about transforming your entire business to mobile devices, it is about complementing and implementing critical processes through the use of mobile technologies, allowing employees to tap into the company’s resources anywhere and anytime resulting in:
- Unified communications
- Ubiquitous supply and access to up-to-date business information
- Process efficiency improvement
- Quality enhancements
- Employee satisfaction
Although above benefits are achievable, mobilising your workforce shouldn’t be underestimated. The development and implementation is a delicate process in striking the right balance between usability, connectivity and security; areas companies constantly struggle with.
In order to create, deliver and implement mobile services/solutions that are of real benefit and highly relevant for employees, a perfect understanding of the end-user is needed. By involving employees in all stages of the development process, it is possible to uncover their behaviour, values and needs. This will ensure that all choices are based on the actual insights of the end-users, making it possible to validate, create and deliver solutions that tap into all relevant touch-points of the end-user, resulting in active employee usage and adoption of the platform.
The success of mobile employee solutions can only be achieved by improving and speeding up workflows and processes, instead of creating additional or new ones. Crucial and at the same time very critical to enhancing these workflows is connecting and integrating existing systems, applications and databases. By enabling enterprise and solution architects to engage with key systems, suppliers, stakeholders and assess API availability and quality, it is possible to create and map a clear system architecture and integration plan. This will deliver a clear insight into how to integrate and optimise existing systems, resulting in a better performance and workflow.
Mobile enterprise solutions tend to have access to critical and confidential business information, and mobile devices are more vulnerable in getting lost, stolen or hacked, security therefore, is one of the biggest challenges and concerns in developing mobile enterprise solutions. To reduce this vulnerability, it is key to understand the risk rate of specific information and functionalities within the platform. Once a clear risk profile has been determined, a tailored security plan can be put in place and validated via penetration and security testing, enabling security measures like data encryption, password and biometric protection, token authentication, and remote device management.
A great example of mobile enterprise solutions is Shell’s Sales Enhancement Platform, designed, developed and deployed by MOBGEN. This Sales Enhancement platform is a multi-platform solution used by Shell’s global sales representatives and distributors. The platform consists of the following the platforms:
- Native iOS (iPad) app
- Native Android (SAFE compliant devices) app,
- Web Portal (PHP frontend, IE8 compliant),
- CMS (PHP frontend, IE8 compliant),
- Back-End REST API (PHP).
The platform provides Shell’s global sales representatives and distributors access to (always up-to-date) sales materials such as price-lists, tools to calculate the benefit of Shell products in comparison with competing products, discovery sheets to instantly make meeting notes, videos, audio, images, 3D interactive product demonstrations, and more providing the tools to conduct solid commercial conversations and presentations with existing and prospective customers. This ultimately results in growth in new and existing businesses both accessible on- and offline. Besides using Shell provided sales materials, representatives are able to add and upload their own presentations and materials. They can also instantly share relevant information (meeting notes, PDF’s, calculation etc.) with the client or prospect.
Via the sales enhancement platform, Shell’s worldwide sales team can conduct productive sales meetings with just one touch device, instead of bringing laptops, brochures, excel calculation sheets etc. to a meeting, allowing them to travel light, and sell fast. This platform demonstrates how mobile enterprise solutions can benefit any company in about every industry improving productivity, knowledge and engagement. Although the penetration of mobile usage does vary among industries, and whether or not it is about improving business processes or servicing existing clients or prospects, mobility will and is transforming enterprises, resulting in an increase of mobility investments. This is something we’ve also experienced within MOBGEN in recent years. The design, development, and implementation of mobile applications is to improve sales, customer relationship management, training, employee motivation, healthcare process optimisation, human resource and financial management. A strong, consistent and long-term mobile workforce enablement will strengthen the relationship between companies, employees, and customers by leveraging on mobile technologies and innovations.
A few examples of mobile workforce enablement:
(How drones are helping companies perform inspections in a safe and speedy way)
(Great example on how mobile and virtual reality can help educating employees/trainees on a global scale with a minimum investment)