Ask the experts: How much should I invest in mobile technologies at my business? (via Business in Vancouver)

April 22, 2014

Mobile technologies a must to stay relevant in changing business landscape

 

Laura Ballance: President, Laura Ballance Media Group

In the 1990s, the Internet emerged as the new technology that was going to transform our businesses and our lives forever. Many businesses remained cynical about the Internet’s impact, reacted too slowly and ended up having the “offline-to-online” shift eclipse them. Twenty years ago, the thought of living in a world where you could access information and stay connected with anyone at any time on a hand-held device was inconceivable. Today, the transition from browsing the web on personal computers to mobile devices continues to move at an astonishing speed.

Investing in mobile technologies in the workplace is a vital component of any successful business. There are numerous reasons for today’s businesses to invest, quickly and significantly, in mobile technologies, but here are a few of the most compelling:

  1. We have a unique relationship with our phones. For most, it is an emotional connection that creates countless opportunities for businesses to build strong relationships with clients and consumers.
  2. We have our phones with us constantly. In my business this means that at any moment throughout the day, my firm can reach and engage with our clients’ audience. The old adage that news doesn’t stop is even more appropriate in a mobile-centred world.
  3. We are still early in the digital communications revolution, and your competitors likely aren’t reacting as quickly as they should. As enhanced mobile technologies emerge, this is likely to be the greatest business and technology growth story of our lifetime. Future growth in mobile technology is inevitable, fuelled by new classes of devices, expanded networks and advances in collaboration and connectivity.

 

James Maynard: President, Wavefront

Many organizations are deploying application architecture as if desktop and traditional web-based applications still dominated. Recent ComScore (Nasdaq:SCOR) data shows that mobile and tablet Internet usage has surpassed traditional desktop data and is continuing to accelerate. Businesses can no longer afford to run a mobile strategy that is not integrated with the business strategy.

To assess the appropriate level of investment depends on your business goals. Is it about driving better business insights, decreasing costs, improving user experience, or all three?

Employee productivity, customer engagement, cost reductions, supply-chain logistics and asset productivity are all areas where wireless and mobility solutions can create value for your business. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) assesses this “value at stake” in Canada at $50 billion in 2014 – a large financial reward for those companies that move quickly and choose wisely. Those that implement wireless and mobility solutions strategically and ahead of or alongside other tech or business approaches will be the forerunners.

A clear understanding of your mobile users is also critical to determining your strategy. If the millennial generation is your target demographic, your scope must be broader. Connectivity, a seamless experience and the ability to access information at any time on any device, is a basic expectation from this generation.

With higher consumer expectations and mobile literacy, one-off “vanity apps” and mobile on the cheap are dead. Both productivity and consumer-oriented solutions must now tie into back-end business systems, accessing data that drives truly engaging experiences.

 

Margarita Lurye: Senior manager, digital banking, Coast Capital Savings

According to a recent study by Catalyst Canada, 55% of Canadians own a smartphone, a number that continues to grow. That, and the fact that some 40% of gen-Ys admit to feeling anxious without their smartphone, means if you’re a business owner who isn’t harnessing the power of mobile technology, you will soon be archaic.

How much you invest depends on the circumstances of your business, such as its size, whether your product or service naturally lends itself to the mobile platform and, obviously, what you can invest financially.

No matter the answers, the bottom line is: start investing now. Technological shifts are swift. If you aren’t keeping up, no one is going to wait for you.

Here are my top three reasons to invest in mobile technology:

  1. You’re open 24-7. Your customers have their phones with them all day, every day. Whether in bed, in the car or, yes, even in the washroom, the phone is a constant. If you’re not open at 2 a.m. when I’m ready to make my purchase, do my banking or book my appointment-the next guy will be.
  2. You’ve got global reach. You’ve never done business in South Korea, Russia or Norway? Well, you’re about to. Your market potential grows exponentially once you are up and running on mobile platforms.
  3. You’re a trailblazer. The mobile revolution is moving quickly – but it is still early in the movement and if you’re an early adopter, you’re setting yourself up for nothing but success.

So, how much should you invest? That depends on your available resources. Start small if need be, but in the name of your future success, start now.

 

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