THE last decade has witnessed a spate of disruptions underpinned by the application of technology to alter almost all aspects of life including how we communicate, consume goods and services, manufacture and market our products, engage in personal and business interactions, just to name a few.
Mobility (i.e. the use of mobile devices to communicate or conduct a ubiquitous amount of transactions using voice, data or video) is one of the key enablers of the disruptions we are witnessing in this era. Mobile devices have become more prevalent, powerful and capable as they are replacing traditional means of accessing data, internet and content (Sports news, fashion etc.). The rise and rise of mobility, is changing how information and ideas are “consumed”, modifying the way people connect with technology, blurring the bridge between IT and the physical world.
At the end of 2008 about 1% of the world’s Internet traffic was on mobile devices; whereas, at the end of 2012, more than 12% of the world’s Internet traffic occurred on mobile devices. In the middle of the last decade the number of connected devices surpassed the number of people on the planet: about 12.5Billion devices for 6.8Billion people.
Globally, IN JUST 60 SECONDS, mobile phone users send 98000+ Tweets, post 510000+ new Facebook comments, send 168mn Emails, make 370000+ Skype calls, make 695000+ Search Queries and download 13000+ iPhone apps. (Source: Go-Globe.com). It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 50 Billion connected devices, 1.5 Billion connected vehicles and $1.2 Trillion revenue generation (Source: Ericsson Report).
Our dear country, Nigeria, with a population in excess of 170 Million, and once infamous for its poor tele-density ratio, is now ranked 7th largest mobile subscriber base in the world (more than 150 Million mobile subscribers from 78,740 in the year 2000). Number of internet users currently put at over 93 million (Source: NCC).
It is pertinent to ask, ‘what is the major driver of this change?’. A simple and logical answer is The Evolution of consumer needs. The need to communicate with another individual irrespective of time and location as well as to meet the varied needs of increasingly sophisticated consumers on-the-go has necessitated the increasing adoption of collaborative tools (Skype, Face-time), social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, WeChat) and an uptake of digitally enabled consumer business transactions (Online banking, E-commerce), transportation (Uber), navigation (google maps), healthcare (carlcare, BMI Calculator), research, food, fashion, games, etc. Herein is cause of the sharp increase in the number and sales of smart devices. A significant amount of human related activities are now (or can now be) carried out on a smart device, hence the mobile device has become the main channel for digital connection for many people.
Increasingly powerful, portable and inexpensive smart machines have reached beyond the computing industry to transform mainstream businesses. Indeed, such technology escaped the desktop and made its way into our pockets several years ago and is now all-pervasive, with even the simplest of consumer devices featuring LCD displays and some form of wireless connectivity.
The explosive growth in the number and variety of mobile devices is well accepted as a defining trend for business and society. People, (whether customers, business partners or employees) now expect to be able to access important information and interact with friends, service providers and suppliers wherever they are.
Mobility is also helping to bridge the digital divide. Low-income families that cannot afford a computer now use smartphones for digital access—from surfing the Internet to downloading apps. In the digital world, companies need to pursue delivery channels that “meet people where they are” to enhance the service experience.
Advances in smartphones and other mobile devices are transforming them from channels of convenience to the primary means of digital interaction. Mobility will not just connect more of the marketplace to the web, but also push the barriers of what is possible in e-commerce. By incorporating mobility in product design and organizational processes, companies can unleash the huge potentials in customer and employee engagement.
Mobility is creating new opportunities for companies and manufacturers to develop electronic products that incorporate cutting-edge technology, with many enterprises now taking advantage of the Internet of Things (i.e. connection of disparate devices within an environment) and exploring a “Make Your Own Device” (MYOD) concept.
Similar to other developments in human endeavor, adopting mobility requires that a number of challenges are addressed to facilitate better adoption. These include: security of information, device performance, multiple device types and operating systems, operational issues, seamless integration with back-end systems and interoperability with other systems, timely updates, keeping pace with digital advancements, etc. a number of which are already being addressed.
In order to derive sustained value from mobility, companies need to adopt a strategic approach to deploying the right set of mobile capabilities in order to improve workforce productivity and better cater to the interests of traditional and emerging digital friendly customers. Succeeding is not just about technology – that’s the easy part – it’s about communicating value, adapting to and influencing customer behaviours.
Using mobility to drive business innovation is embedded in the “SMAC” Framework concept:
Social (How things are discovered): Social media refers to how people network to share and discover information, typically through websites and applications
Mobility (How things are consumed): Typically refers to the ability of users to consume information from applications and websites, typically on their mobile device from just about anywhere
Analytics/Big Data (How insight is created): Ability to glean insights from this data
Cloud (How things are delivered): Cloud computing in its simplest form, allows companies to access IT based services, including infrastructure, applications, platforms and business processes via the internet
Industries with high volume of transactional services such as banks, travel agencies, ecommerce have been able to leverage the use of various mobile apps to expand their service channels with higher than average levels of adoption. Businesses seeking to replicate this can take a cue from Accenture’s proposed four-phase approach for a mobility adoption strategy:
Awareness. The first step in mobile app adoption is generating awareness for what the app does, how they help and where to get them. To do this, mobile app leaders use integrated marketing campaigns with calls to action around the use of mobile apps.
Understanding. Once people are aware of mobile apps, they must understand how to access and use them.
Acceptance. To get people to consider mobile apps over other channels, mobile adoption pioneers push links to apps through Quick Response (QR) codes, secure text and email. The focus is on making it as easy as possible for people to download apps.
Ownership. The ultimate in mobile app adoption is when it becomes second nature for people to use them, and they choose this channel consistently over all others when it is available to them. Automated notifications that push essential information—think flight schedules or bank account updates—and incentives are very effective here.
Recent Accenture research shows that high performing businesses and organizations seek to drive real business value and change their business model by leveraging mobility as:
Productivity Enabler: i.e. leveraging mobility to help run their businesses more efficiently. The key drivers for this are productivity, faster response time, and brand image with employees. Some examples where these have been adopted include: User enablement, Mobile BI, Field Force enablement, Store locator and Remote monitoring
Revenue Enabler: speaks to growing enterprise business through mobile technology. The key drivers for this include increased revenue, increased customer satisfaction and engagement, customer attraction &/or retention, brand image with customers. Examples are Sales Force automation, Mobile POS, Mobile couponing (already de facto in developed countries and now gaining momentum in emerging countries like Nigeria)
New Business Model: business owners want to leverage mobile technology to transforming their businesses especially in the areas of generating new revenue streams, prospecting new markets, disrupting business models, creating new products and services. Examples include Connected Car, Connected Home, Retail Geofencing (creating or targeting or engaging customers/prospects via their mobile devices with relevant contents based on real time location)