Much has been said about how smart phone technology has changed society and our personal lives, but their impact on how we work is, and will be, just as dramatic a transformation.
The pace of digital change today is, strangely, almost too much to manage. Digital revolutions might have given us the dramatic power to connect with any audience, collect and store vast amounts of data, and share vital resources remotely, but it has paradoxically overloaded us with opportunities to better run our businesses and maximize their returns. Smart phones and mobile apps specifically dedicated to managing these vast opportunities created by big data, communications, and big storage are increasingly providing answers how to utilize this abundance and changing how we do business in the process.
For one thing, in-house communications no longer have to be in-house. Popular communications applications like Slack connect both desktop and mobile in a single online interface, that functions like any other messaging application, but with business purposes. This is making communications easy to organize and record by creating rooms for specific purposes such as meetings, teams, or projects. More than that, it allows for real time communication with those outside the office such as those working from home or away on important trips. There’s less chance of “sorry, your email was buried in a million others” in such systems and smart businesses will take full advantage of them to effectively prioritize information.
Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) is also moving onto mobile screens. CRM is one of the most crucial aspects of any modern business. It remains one of the most complex and difficult to manage, which means advantages of sophisticated CRM applications simply cannot be understated and are allowing more needles to come out of haystacks than ever before, especially for B2B companies that depend upon well-nurtured sales funnels. Moreover, CRM tools are also manageable through smartphones allowing employees to manage them from everywhere at any time, further decentralising office space and following up leads faster. CRM software like Hubspot and Infusionsoft that serve as central hubs for processing communication from different channels into one managed system. Hubspot, for example, allows you to track all communications and sales funnel activity of a prospective or existing client in one search. Goals and objectives can be set for CRM employees to follow, with easy tracking to manage their results for directors.
Businesses aren’t stopping at purchased applications for company apps, many larger companies have tailor-made their own business enterprise apps to better manage their own specific needs. Delivery services, for example, can benefit from advanced tracking and fulfillment applications that ensure parcels don’t get lost or delayed. HR and accounting departments of firms of all sizes benefit enormously from centralized data management systems for reports and billing records that substantially reduce their workload and allow them to communicate more effectively with company employees from phone or tablet. Many companies are also creating “soldier” or “hero” apps designed to solve a particular problem their company operations face. These can serve a variety of purposes, not least that they are more secure and can be removed from employee phones when they leave the company.
Mobility and Gained Opportunities
What all this application technology is doing more than anything else is moving work to wherever pocket and charger can take it. In many industries this is actually moving work into the field more than in the office. In real estate for example, the ability to show clients virtual tours of properties can greatly increase chances of taking them to those they will most likely buy and allow them to compare as they do so. For project management dependent industries too, like construction, that depend upon extremely detailed planning, reports, and updated progress, time is wasted if progress updates or material deliveries are not reported immediately as they are made onsite. Project engineers are on their feet more than ever before and may have less office roles in the future. In both cases, it simply makes sense for almost all office functions to be done on an outside screen rather than one inside the office.
Screening Out the Future
Smartphones may once have been something to ban from the office, but now they are almost indispensable for employees to carry out competitive company operations. As work within the walls gets smoother, and time spent outside grows, we seem set to witness a future of work as glued to phone screens as our social lives.