Mobility remains the hottest trend in IT. The move to mobile computing is having an astounding impact on the way we think about technology and on the way people want to access and react to technology. The entire focus of the CIO, Chief Information Officer, is changing. Organizations are being forced to move from a closed environment to one that is accessible from the web, apps, smartphones, and tablets all over the globe.
We see this transformation around us every day. Whether you are waiting at a stoplight or at the hardware store, everyone is on their mobile device. Texting, gaming, emailing, Foursquare-ing, Facebook-ing, Twittering, or something, everyone is busy. The impact on society in general and social interaction is complex, but what about the impact on your business?
If you sell to consumers, you have probably already considered the power of mobile and the importance of making it easy to do business with you on a mobile device. And most likely have a social media marketing plan.
Those of us who sell to other businesses often think we are exempt from this mobile movement. We don’t have those teens and twenty-something’s to attract to our product. We aren’t selling stuff on Groupon, Amazon and Alibaba. We are in a niche, right? We only sell in a particular region to other businesses.
The truth is, my mother-in-law and my parents have tablets and smartphones. Yes, we may not sell to consumers, but we do sell to people. People want to be mobile. Look around at Starbucks on a weekday. How many business people do you see working on a tablet or phone? Is it likely some of them have purchasing power? What if they find your website, and can’t even navigate through it on their tablet or phone. What if your competitor has an app that works great on their mobile device and quickly provides them with valuable information about their project, delivery of goods, or something new?
This is something we have been thinking about here at CTaccess, and we are beginning with updating our website, including making it mobile friendly. Here are 6 actions to make your business mobile attractive:
1. Check yourself out on Google from a phone or tablet. Can you find your company easily with a search? Does a map show up? Can you click once to dial your phone number? If not, you may need to update or create a Google+ account or Google Places for Business account.
2. Make sure your website is friendly on a phone and tablet. Can you navigate easily? Do all of the features show up? Is it readable? If not, you may need to have your website converted to a “responsive” site. This means the web programming behind your site allows it to adapt to a variety of smaller screened devices.
3. Get your business on social media. The big social media sites are all responsive and have mobile apps. If you are on these sites with an attractive presence and valuable information, you are available in a mobile format. Just being on social media makes your business presence more mobile attractive. The important sites to consider are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and maybe even Google+, Foursquare and Instagram.
4. Adapt to the buying habits of your customers. Are you in a business where people would benefit by having 24x7 access to schedule a call, or make an appointment, or see the status of an order? Often your web presence can provide this type of mobile access. If your website isn’t the best solution, a custom developed app for the iPhone and Android platform may be what you need. App development sounds difficult and expensive, but there are several local developers who make this easy. Apps are the rage and will continue to be, so if you can develop one with real value, it is not only a great tool for your customers, but great for marketing.
5. Take a look at your internal work process as well. Is there a way to allow team members, customer or vendors access to information on their mobile? For instance, could my manager approve payment of an invoice via their mobile device? Could QA sign off on product inspection via mobile? Is your team able to schedule, view contacts, and update projects via mobile? There are many ways to allow this type of access, but the benefit is great, and the workforce is becoming more and more mobile active. It is rapidly becoming a necessity not a luxury.
6. Consider your security. All of the mobile access and even people wanting to use their own devices to access company information heightens the need for security. As you consider going mobile, take a look at your security and how you manage mobile access. There are best practices for security that should be in place, as well as some extra measures for controlling mobile access and BYOD. There are ways to protect information on the mobile device, allow it to be cleared on loss or theft, and even track GPS coordinates of the devices.
Mobility is here to stay. Gartner predicts tablet sales alone to be roughly equal to PC sales in 2014, and sales of phones is predicted at six times more than PCs. Some of us have some adapting to do to fit this mobile world. Even at CTaccess, we have some work to do to make it easier for our customers and our own team to operate on mobile devices. The impact of mobility on our world is yet to be fully realized, but it is unquestionable that we all need to plan to meet the demand of mobility.