I remember when I first got access to email. At the time, the technology was so exciting that I sent messages just because I could—not necessarily because I needed to. The novelty of being able to contact friends and family through the ether—instantly—was more important to me than the message itself. But eventually, that changed. Email wasn’t a novelty, it was a necessity. Such is the case with mobility in today’s digital marketplace.
In truth, all technologies go through this type of novelty phase before becoming a part of our everyday culture. Right now, the way we look at “mobility” is similarly evolving. Many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are starting to see that mobility is more than just the ability to use mobile phones, tablets, and laptops—or the chance to work from home when the need arises. No, true mobility is about using mobile tools strategically to meet business outcomes. And as we evolve to a world of augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), SMBs that embrace mobility as the tool and culture it is will have a tremendous advantage over their competitors. Those that don’t? They’re probably get left behind.
The Mobile-Only Mindset
Though it’s true that many employees at SMBs are still working on desktop computers, the truth is that the shift from mobile-first to mobile-only is already working its way through modern business. Almost 70 percent of business emails today are opened on phones, not computers. And there’s good reason. Mobile allows employees the freedom to do more—in meetings, during their commute, and even over their lunch breaks—than they’ve ever been able to do before.
The SMBs that thrive in today’s business climate will have no choice but to adopt a mobile-only world view. The thought can be daunting, especially for smaller companies that don’t have the budget to hire fancy IT personnel and who aren’t educated in AI or machine learning. But here’s a secret: I believe mobile and as-a-Service cloud-based tech providers will be the great equalizer for today’s smaller companies. Here’s why.
Mobility: The Great Equalizer?
Cloud-based products like Salesforce and Adobe Document Cloud help smaller businesses gain the skills they don’t have in-house—while making those tools available throughout the enterprise, no matter how far or wide that company might geographically span. Tools like Salesforce provide AI that can vet leads and create detailed analytics to improve your outside sales. And on the internal side, tools like Adobe Document Cloud allow companies to share and route documents, sort and find information, and sign and secure documentation even faster and easier than ever before. You no longer need to hire an expert. You have access to every piece of advanced tech imaginable—often, right from your mobile phone.
Is Your Business Ready?
This is the question—and likely the most important question you can answer in the digital age. Is your SMB ready to adapt and adopt a more mobile culture? Are you ready to cut down any silos or legacy-era habits that might limit your ability to adapt to a mobile—every changing—business view? Here’s how you know.
Are you forward-thinking? Do you spend most of your IT budget on keeping systems running, or on asking how you can use mobile technology to serve your clients and employees better?
Are you comfortable putting employees first? Today’s workers love mobility because it gives them more freedom to live happy and fulfilled lives. Are you ready to loosen the reigns to allow your employees to work off-site, submit quotes off-site, and make decisions out of plain view?
Are you willing to take chances? Companies that embrace mobility have an entrepreneurial spirit. They encourage employees to try new things—to fail fast and often to find the next great thing. Are you open to encouraging failure? Could you be?
In short, creating a culture of mobility depends on SMB leaders, just as much as it does their customer base or the greater society at large. Now is the perfect time to build a mobility strategy—not just as part of your marketing or IT plan—but as the basis of it. As an SMB, you are small enough, and hopefully nimble enough, to do it faster and easier than your larger competitors. The question is: will you?
This article was brought to you by Adobe Document Cloud . Opinions and thoughts are those of the author.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.