I have been ignoring this white screen for the past week, intimidated by the idea of coming up with an interesting technical blog on something that I have become passionate about over the past 6 months, enterprise mobile computing. The reason I qualify this latest buzzword term with the adjective “enterprise” is that CTOs are not going to come to Perficient asking for imitation lighters (the first app my son downloaded for rock concerts) or an app for slow corporate meetings (example: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2010-05-10) whereby attendees can slingshot birds at evil green pigs (ie. Angry Birds) . Instead, they will be coming to Perficient asking:
• How can we tie mobile computing to our current client-facing Internet offerings into a comprehensive mobile/Internet strategy?
• How do we support our own mobile workforce?
In the case of bullet point one, a good example is the current Walgreen’s commercial:
that I just saw the other night, using the power of smartphones and mobile computing to provide Walgreen-branded apps that tie their clients more closely with the company and provide a channel to offer a variety of next-generation marketing opportunities and products.
Bullet point two revolves around mobiles apps for such groups as:
Field force automation
- Especially those using dedicated devices (ie. Symbol)
- Work order, status tracking
- Product manuals
- Sales and product data
- Product availability
- Order status
- ERP and CRM (sales and product data)
Matt Jagst, a product manager at Thomson Reuters, wrote an excellent piece (http://www.accountingweb.com/topic/tax/mobile-computing-takes-accountants-new-level-productivity) which I will take an excerpt from as a conclusion to where I see the direction that Perficient clients will be heading and looking for an IT firm to partner with as they start out:
The first steps for many firms who adopt mobile computing are mobile connections between employees and the company network, allowing key employees to work from outside the office. This has a number of obvious benefits, including:
- Positioning your firm as tech-savvy practice that utilizes cool technology. This can help attract new clients and attract or retain employment talent.
- Accessing real-time information – whenever you want, from wherever you are – allows you to service your clients faster and more effectively.
- Conveniently using a mobile device with instant-on capability (rather than a laptop) helps you make better use of your time – with time at a premium, this is a key consideration, especially when mobile access frees staff from the burden of always being in their office.
- Performing brief tasks outside of the office (time entry, project status updates, etc.) allows you to be more efficient with your time and stay up to date on relevant projects so deadlines aren’t missed. This flexibility can also help professionals in their continuing battle to strike a balance between life and work.