The way we do business has changed forever and it’s largely due to a device that fits in your pocket — the smartphone.
Smartphones are a condensed device powerful enough to run an entire business from if you want to. You book transport and accommodation; speak to colleagues or clients ‘face-to-face’ across the globe; order stock; manage invoices and finances; use email and interact with customers via social media; share files and collaborate with colleagues and much more all with just one handheld, intuitive device. You can even pay with your mobile device in stores and online so forgetting your wallet isn’t the headache it once was!
Not called smart for nothing smartphones automatically organise emails making life simpler and ‘that thing you need to find but can only remember vague details of’ easier to search.
Work collaboration has been revolutionised by digital innovations but the smartphone has taken it one step further as thanks to the advent of apps there doesn’t need to be a set standard piece of kit for your colleagues and clients to connect and share. Your contacts in Asia can just as easily dial into a videoconference on a $50 phone as your American client in a $10,000 conferencing suite. You can access files from the cloud in a meeting and project them onto a bigger screen or even share your mobile screen — no more printing off everything before the meeting ‘just in case’.
Possibly the most impactful result of the instant connectivity smartphones gives individuals and business is how it has evened the market. Technology is a great leveller and the innovators and entrepreneurs of the future can access the market almost as well as an established business through the power of a lithium-powered device that cost a few hundred dollars. The software required to get up and running in accounting, administration and productivity can cost $100 for a desktop version yet a smartphone version will cost $5–10 and do everything a start-up needs.
For businesses with field executives smartphones are a heavenly gift. They’re economical and easily replaced. It once cost thousands of dollars to equip a field sales rep and often there were security risks of carrying around a laptop, but with a smartphone everything can be instantly backed up to the cloud and remotely wiped if the device is ever lost or stolen. The impact to the business with the old way could be significant, now it’s reduced to the inconvenience of cloning a new phone and the nominal cost of a replacement handset.
Mobile devices not only mean we can take our work anywhere but also allow us to combine mundane tasks with more productive activities. Smartphones let us reply to emails, write a day plan or to-do-list and prepare for the day ahead on our commute; they also let us listen to music or podcasts when we need a little motivation when doing a repetitive task.
People in the movies still have to rush to the office when an emergency crops up because it helps drive the plot as they ‘randomly’ bump into another key character but in the real, modern world powered by smartphones this isn’t the case. When work emergencies crop up you don’t waste valuable time driving to the office, you make a cup of tea, settle into your favourite chair at home, access the company network and get straight to solving the problems via your smartphone.
Before smartphones, businesses were stuck if an employee was on holiday or out sick and stuff hit the proverbial. Clients would often be waiting in furious limbo as businesses desperately tried to work things out with the absent employee. No longer. Now your account managers can keep your clients happy with a few thumb swipes from the beach and help keep things running smoothly. And when they come back they’ll not only be a hero (rightfully rewarded for taking time out of their holiday) but also not have that usual post-holiday stress that undoes all the Zen they got on the beach.
Mobile technology is constantly evolving and continuingly offering businesses new ways to collaborate, grow and save money.