Business Mobility

Business mobility is not a new idea. Ever since laptops and wireless connectivity became commonplace, businesses have weighed the value of mobility and built IT infrastructures to support mobile computing. But today’s mobility is new, and it is different. It is mobility built on high‐powered, hand‐held mobile devices. It is based on technology that is always on, always connected, and in the hands of 80% of the people on earth. Today’s mobility is also changing how people communicate and what they do with mobile devices. Businesses have realized the need to be mobile both internally and externally because…. competition, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction are driving forces combined with the need to decrease expenses, increase revenue, protect investments, and prove ROI on existing assets.

Mobility is impacting every aspect of information‐driven business process. In addition to changing how people work inside the company, mobility is also changing how companies relate to their customers. Some traditional business services are becoming mobile applications running on customers’ & employee’s smartphones. Here are a few examples specific to a few domains:

  • Healthcare: Some medical applications enable remote monitoring of patients via smartphone or tablet devices. Technology not only enables people to become more active participants in their own healthcare, it delivers better care at lower cost.
  • Insurance: Some insurance companies have downloadable mobile applications that enable customers to get quotes, buy policies, and invoke claims processing directly at the accident scene, and if the policyholder has any questions, he will invoke a video call with the adjuster or agent.
  • Sales: Companies are looking at arming salespeople with real-time information from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), supply chain and inventory systems from a mobile device to provide better customer service, a trusted relationship and higher margins through better decision making.
  • Customer Support Services: Imagine cable service technicians in the field who can offer promotion packages during service calls based on the customers’ interests. If technicians can create an order and provision the service on the spot, customers get the personal touch and immediate satisfaction. Mobile field service applications also help technicians resolve problems faster and serve more clients per day, creating potentially higher sales revenue for the company in the process.
  • Human Resources: Workflow applications are very useful in human resource departments, where approval bottlenecks often impede processes and paperwork.  Allowing employees to fill out and submit time sheets, vacation requests and expense reimbursements from their mobile devices speeds the process; letting managers provide approvals the same way frees them to use their time more effectively. In some cases, the faster pace can measurably lower costs.
  • Manufacturing: When plant managers have mobile access to the spare parts database, they can determine immediately whether the broken valve on the production line is in stock. As an added measure,  RFID tags on the spare parts allow plant managers who have a GPS-enabled smartphone to not only verify availability but also determine exactly where (closet, shelf and bin) they’ll find the part they need. Such applications return the production line to service as fast as possible.

From these few examples we notice that business information is core data that everyone (executives, mangers, workers, customers/consumers) depend upon and share in real time. This core information flows in both directions. Data coming in from field sales reporting, remote operations, customer activity, financial activity, and other sources becomes immediately accessible to those who depend upon that information for their own decisions. Companies have started realizing the value and are in the phase of either mobilizing their current processes or evaluating their business strategy and re-engineering their processes to mobile enable their enterprise.

So where the money in Mobility is and what jobs should we expect in this market space?

Enterprises are starting to jump on the app bandwagon to reach customers and bolster their brand. To achieve these ambitious plans, companies will have to reach out to traditional IT service vendors and specialized mobile developers due to lack of in-house expertise. The mobile apps services market is expected to reach 17.1 Billion by 2015. There are three segments of services that will exist in the market. The first segment will center on creating and developing mobile apps. This is projected to be $5.6 billion/year market globally by 2015. People interested in specialized development work should consider this segment. As the apps take on more mission-critical features, firms will look outside for help managing the apps and the hardware and security. This segment will make up $3.9 billion of the global IT services market by 2015. People looking for corporate IT jobs should focus in this segment. And the last segment is around re-inventing the business processes and back end systems to completely digital end–to-end business processes which will grow to be $7.6 billion in revenues by 2015. This sector will favor people looking for consulting portfolios.

–Namrata Damani

MSIS, Class of 2011

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