Equipped with various applications, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones enable employees to conduct work activities from wherever they are, often with greater convenience and efficiency, rather than being tethered to a desktop in an office.

Keeping with the times

These mobile enterprise solutions impact numerous industries, offering virtually limitless applications resulting from the combination of hardware and software to deliver valuable cross-functionality and efficiency. Mobile solutions are becoming such a game-changer that organizations must adapt to this new enterprise model or risk losing business.

Consider some examples of mobility in the enterprise:

  • Retail: Mobile point of sale has grown exponentially among large retail chains, enabling associates to manage line-busting, cross- and up-sell, access inventory and drive customer engagement.

  • Supply chain/warehouse: Many companies are embracing mobility for supply chain and inventory management, thereby improving order accuracy, boosting efficiency, decreasing waste, redeploying labor and saving money.

  • Hospitality: Restaurants and hotels are equipping staff with mobile devices to expedite tasks including order-taking, bill payment and check-in and out.

  • Health care: Hospital systems use mobile devices to enhance patient care at the bedside (such as medication administration), automate procedures and record data to be integrated with EMR infrastructures, increase accuracy in the lab and improve productivity in the pharmacy.

  • Transportation: Mobile devices facilitate faster, more convenient ticket sales and validation, check-in, boarding pass printing and in-flight sales.

  • Entertainment: With mobile devices, staff can quickly process ticketed entry at live events, read RFID wristbands and manage sales for food, beverages and merchandise.

Before you deploy

Businesses should carefully evaluate opportunities to incorporate mobile solutions, with specific objectives and anticipated return in mind. This no longer is an IT-only initiative, but requires input and collaboration across the organization for success. And when it comes to mobile technology investment, a shift in mindset is necessary, given the shorter product life cycle and faster innovation than the traditional 3 to 5 years.

Furthermore, companies must address concerns such as:

  • Operating systems and software development – Apple® smartphones and tablets dominate in the enterprise in the U.S., but the company must assess integration with other business systems.

  • Bring your own device (BYOD) – While businesses should keep up with employees’ and customers’ own technology, will the company provide mobile devices for work, or permit staff to use their own personal units (which raises privacy and security issues)?

  • Security – With mobile devices used over open connections, the vulnerability of connected devices via the Internet of Things (IoT), various apps installed on employee devices and the potential for lost and stolen devices, security in the form of encryption, identity and access management, data leakage protection, secure remote access and remote wipe are paramount.

  • Mobile cloud platforms – The cloud can deliver greater efficiency, scalability and flexibility, and serve as a hub between mobile devices and existing IT systems.

Integrating mobility into the enterprise delivers multiple benefits to business and customers that transform business.