How To Take Advantage of Mobile Business Technology
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Mobile is everywhere, but capitalizing on it requires planning

If you’re one of the 64 percent of U.S. adults who owns a smart phone , you’ve probably come to consider your mobile device an extension of yourself—ever-present and infinitely useful. That same ubiquity and utility can be just as handy for your company as a whole. “Mobile technology is no longer just a unique novelty option for businesses,” says Erin Morgan, senior vice president, digital strategy at Regions. “It’s a must-have resource.” In fact, Morgan says, mobile technologies can help your company respond more quickly and directly to current and potential customers, allow your employees to be more productive, and provide data-driven insights to better serve your market and improve business processes. Here are five things to keep in mind as you build your company’s mobile strategy:

  1. Meet – and exceed – your stakeholders’ expectations. Increasingly, consumers are expecting to conduct business via mobile whenever and wherever they please. Inevitably, this same expectation will extend to B2B customers and employees as well. “Every time customers are exposed to a new experience, their expectations go up a notch,” Morgan says. “That’s a strong driver for any new technology adoption.” But it’s not the only driver. “Whenever we consider a new technology, there are two questions we ask,” she explains. “The first is, ‘what is the added value for customers?’ and the second is, ‘is this the best way to deliver that value?’”
  2. Develop a strategy. “All businesses should include mobile technology as a primary solution for their sales or services strategy,” Morgan says. “It has become table stakes for any technology initiative. The rule is now, ‘mobile first.’” Your strategy should revolve around customer expectations and the best way to meet them. Consider doing research such as an analysis of mobile offerings from diverse industries like airlines, financial institutions, or retail stores. Additionally, conduct formal or informal customer polling to establish which mobile capabilities to prioritize.
  3. Reach for the cloud. The great news about mobile is that unlike previous generations of technology, you may not have to build anything in house. (Exceptions to this would be strategies that hinge on creating a unique mobile product such as an app.) Most cloud-based services such as customer relationship managers (CRMs) or accounting packages include secure mobile access for employees and even customers. As you consider migrating business processes to these services, keep in mind how their mobile capabilities can transform your customers’ and employees’ experience interacting with your company.
  4. Protect your data. When giving access to your company data to employees and customers, security and privacy should be your top concerns. You can address these with a combination of education, policy, and technology. Begin by educating users, whether customers or employees, with best practices for safeguarding information. Back that up with a clear written policy that spells out the consequences of any violation. And finally, make sure that your technology reinforces these best practices and policies by, for example, requiring strong passwords or multi-step verification, limiting access to need-to-know data, and remote-wiping data from a lost or stolen device.
  5. Consider the back end. Simply automating the front end or customer-facing aspects of your business is not likely to offer real improvement, Morgan notes. Where would online retail giants be, for example, if their online ordering systems weren’t backed up by highly automated warehouse and delivery processes? As you develop your company’s mobile strategy, use it as an opportunity to re-think and streamline processes throughout the value chain.

Mobile computing offers an exciting new frontier for businesses, but it’s up to individual companies to choose which capabilities they should offer customers, employees, and other stakeholders. The litmus test should always be creating value for the end user as well as the company as a whole.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.