Ten years ago, small businesses struggled to attain the new software big businesses were using to improve their sales, efficiency, and customer service. Often cited as being too costly or complex, new technology was sequestered to the realm of Big Business, leaving many small businesses behind the technology curve. Since the emergence of mobile technology in the business marketplace, however, small businesses have been thriving.
Mobile technology – that is, smartphones and tablets – have revolutionized how small businesses do business. Technologies and capabilities that were once reserved to those in the Fortune 500 club can now fit comfortably in the palm of the small business owner’s hand. Almost every software in today’s market has a mobile option, extending the capabilities of small businesses beyond the walls of the office. Smartphones and tablets are more than just cool tools some companies use to prove their technological advantage; when used correctly, they can actually help your business better achieve the goals you have set out to achieve.
Is the Popularity of Mobile Technology Exaggerated?
Before we discuss how you can benefit from using mobile technology in the workplace, you need to understand just how prevalent mobile technology is. Many businesses doubt the popularity of mobile technology, chalking it up to just another “business technology hype.” However, this belief couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Every year, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and AT&T conduct a poll to find out what technologies small businesses are using. The most recent poll revealed some interesting information and trends on mobile technology in the workplace. Take a look at some of the findings from the poll:
- Mobile technology saves business owners more than $65 million dollars a year, collectively.
- Two-thirds of small businesses reported saving at least 150 hours each year by using mobile apps.
- The majority of small businesses that use mobile apps to increase productivity estimate that they save an average of $6,000 per year.
- By using smartphones and tablets, business owners save around 2 billion hours per year, collectively.
- The number of businesses using smartphones to conduct business is up to 94% (85% last year).
In addition to the above findings, a study dating from last year revealed how small businesses are using mobile business solutions to assist with business functions. According to the study:
- 73% use smartphones and tablets for social media marketing
- 71% use smartphones and tablets for email marketing
- 44% use smartphones and tablets for advertising
- 34% use smartphones and tablets for mobile websites
- 18% use smartphones and tablets for mobile/POS systems and
- 18% use smartphones and tablets to manage operations
So How Should My Business Be Using Mobile?
Based on the numbers above, we feel that it is safe to assume your business is using mobile technology in some capacity. Are you, however, using it enough to truly benefit your business? Businesses who use mobile business solutions regularly report improved productivity rates, increased efficiency, and completed sales goals. Here are some ways modern businesses are using mobile devices in the workplace to achieve these results:
- Sales personnel can start using mobile sales applications (apps) to access data in your company’s CRM and/or ERP system while they are on the road. These apps allow them to view important customer information, complete orders on-the-spot, and even accept payments. This will eliminate the need to rush back to the office between sales meetings to “complete the order”, allowing your sales teams to utilize the time they are out in the field.
- Employees can connect their email accounts to their mobile devices, allowing them to reply to conversations even when they are away from their desk.
- Executives and managers can view reports in real-time on their tablets and smartphones, allowing them to make educated decisions quickly and easily.
- Warehouses have started adopting mobile technology to automate the shipping and receiving process and eliminate the errors associated with manual data entry. Many even use their smartphones for barcoding purposes!
- Depending on the software they use, many businesses are able to access their company’s ERP system directly on their mobile phone, allowing them to work whenever and wherever.
The truth is, mobile technology is extremely beneficial to today’s businesses, and we are just touching the surface of what it can do. To learn more about the benefits mobile business solutions could bring to your business, contact us today. From Sage 100 ERP mobile apps to mobile warehouse management, we can help you start achieving your goals today.