It feels as though technology has changed more in the last ten years than it had in the thirty before. The biggest shift has been in mobile technology. Hands up who has had to face blank expressions from teenagers as you explain how you used to arrange to meet friends in a particular time and place pre-mobile? They just can’t comprehend how you could communicate before you had a mobile device clamped to your hand.
Mobiles have been the biggest noticeable change powering how we interact with each other; tweeting, texting, emailing. We stay in touch wherever and whenever. What’s been slow to catch-up, though, is business.
If you think about it, it isn’t that much of a shock that enterprise lags behind the consumer. Say you’ve just treated yourself to a new piece of kit, a new tablet or smartphone for example. You’re happy to take the time to integrate it with everything else you’ve got, perhaps a mobile device, games console, laptop or desktop. You’re happy to experiment with video streaming, cross-checking email or doing a little work.
But business doesn’t have the luxury of that time to make sure every bit of kit works together. It’s time-consuming, it can be expensive and it might not even work. Consumers are much happier to take a risk, business is much more wary.
Yet it’s time for enterprise to change and firms need to start making their technology shift in a more mobile way. Consumers are thinking a bit more social, a bit more mobile and a bit more cloud oriented. The service they expect is changing. Business needs to keep up.
The Aberdeen Group has just published a paper saying they believe companies that get ahead of the curve and add what’s called a ‘SoMoClo’ dimension to their work could reap dividends. Exchange hosting is already helping them to coordinate their work across the company more effectively, which inevitably means a better service for clients.
Say you’re a department store or retailer with a warehouse site. Better communication means that any problems or delays on getting products out or collating orders can be sorted quicker, which means there is less of a delay. It becomes much easier to make sure clients have the most up to date information available to them. How frustrating is it when you’re making an order on a website only to be told on the phone that the product is out of date?
The technology you use to facilitate that improved communication is up to you. It might just be in terms of shared tasks and calendars with your Hosted Exchange email account, or you might want a more efficient ordering or project management process. Whatever the programme, it is the change in approach that marks the biggest shift.
When consumer attitude starts to shift, business should not lag too far behind. Consumers are finding communication easier and easier, using a wide variety of devices to get their point across and stay in touch. If they’re ordering goods and sourcing information while they’re on the move, then they expect the company their essentially investing with to be doing the same. The first firm’s that start to do it will find that they reap the regards and stay one step ahead of the competition.