Telecoms: A mature mobile industry?
When we recently took a look at the opportunities available to financial services organisations investing in Salesforce mobile apps for enterprise purposes, we reported that the sector was named second only to telecoms regarding the verticals most likely to embrace mobility in 2016.
As we approach the end of the year, it seems like an appropriate time to turn attention to the telecoms industry’s mobile maturity, and provide some insights for those businesses feeling the pressure of the fast-moving, ever-changing market place.
Neglecting mobility is a mistake too costly to make
These days it seems silly to suggest there aren’t huge opportunities being presented to virtually every sector when it comes to leveraging mobile technology. Around 80% of work is now reportedly ‘deskless’, so the concept of a traditional office employee working in a fixed location and spending all their time in that position is extremely dated. But statistics can be misleading, and trends often move a lot faster than the majority of the businesses they’re supposedly affecting can keep up with.
So what does this actually mean? Well, firstly, it means that while the demand for being able to work in a deskless environment – whether that’s at home, on a train, in a partner company’s office, or on the beach during a family vacation – is growing exponentially, it will be rendered ineffective unless businesses are able to provide tools capable of allowing employees to take full advantage.
In contrast to that demand, only 10% of spending on enterprise applications is currently being attributed to mobile according to Gartner. By failing to see where the true value lies when investing in digital solutions for their employees, most modern businesses are missing out substantially by not adjusting.
This significant gap is something Salesforce is actively trying to help fill. With the release of its App Cloud Mobile earlier this year to bolster application development across its ecosystem, Salesforce is doing everything in its power to encourage its enterprise customers to leverage mobile technology to deliver genuine business transformation on a strategic level.
The difficulty Salesforce faces is helping those companies understand that there are ways to overcome the risks, and there are solutions to overcome the challenges which are associated with enterprise mobility. Once this begins to happen on a wider scale, IT budgets will surely begin to move in the right direction, which is of course towards the mobile-first business landscape employees are so desperately craving.
Salesforce mobile apps are a natural fit
Being inherently concerned with technology, it’s hardly surprising that an industry such as telecoms would be a good fit for the use of enterprise mobile applications. But it’s important to understand that apps within a business should be governed by both the vertical conventions, and the horizontal functions they serve, in tandem. For a mobile app strategy to succeed it must be carried out in one comprehensive approach, allowing employees to comfortably manage any and all deskless work as conveniently as possible.
That’s not to say there aren’t individual use cases within telecoms organisations which are perfectly suited for the introduction of a mobile app, to reduce time on task, reduce human error, reduce expenditure, and improve the overall running of the business as a result.
Opportunities to innovate
With large workforces made up of off-site workers in a number of various roles, telecoms businesses need mobile apps built to individual specifications, designed to meet the requirements of each user, even in challenging physical and technical environments. Some of the leading examples include:
- Aligning field-based data directly with back-end systems: Giving workers an app which allows them to input data from the field directly into a company database, such as Salesforce, eliminates time-consuming paper-based form completion, and ensures that the back-office teams are instantly updated with important customer details. Apps can be customised to streamline the process of data entry and mirror the workflow of the users, producing more accurate reports from better-informed employees.
- Real-time communication between field-based engineers and dispatchers: This creates faster responses to customer issues, and allows the most qualified engineers to be sent to jobs which require specialist skills or equipment. This also reduces internal communication time, leaving more time to be spent on the actual work.
- Instant remote access to important content: Taking away the need for heavy, extensive sets of instruction manuals and training material, a mobile app can vastly speed up a technician’s ability to find the information they need, making their task completion quicker, and the organisation’s customer service far better. This also reduces corporate spending on paper-based resources company-wide, which in some cases can be thousands per year. When including videos and 3D demonstrations, the quality of each employee’s work will also greatly improve.
- Scalable sales enablement: A recent Adobe study revealed that more than half of respondents (54%) believe that sales enablement mobile apps are now mission critical. Similar to the opportunities presented to field technicians and support staff, sales reps are also capable of significant improvements in their fundamental responsibilities when given apps to support their deskless work. The availability of highly detailed company and service information, as well as on-site product demonstrations, insights into customer accounts, and many more interactions with in-depth data and analytics can be the difference between success and failure in crucial sales situations.
Looking deeper to unlock true value
As mentioned previously, these examples of where mobile apps can make an impact in horizontal use cases will be far greater if the business aligns its wider IT strategy to give its workers exactly what they need. For example, leveraging Salesforce as the single back-end IT infrastructure, using a single data store, and one cloud platform on which to build all enterprise applications.
This greatly cuts down IT spending, and takes away a huge amount of pressure regarding maintenance and management. Consequently, the majority of resources can be devoted to developing apps customised to each individual workflow, to deliver the maximum value to each set of users. Utilising numerous specific Salesforce clouds to mobilise a business in mission critical areas, while keeping all the IT systems within the same back-end, provides a truly transformational change to the enterprise.
Seeing the whole picture
Of course, some organisations still see far too many obstacles preventing them from making such a decision. This explains the staggering reluctance to invest in mobility despite the obvious benefits. However, there are businesses out there proving that leveraging the Salesforce platform to achieve mobile success can be done with both simplicity and speed.
Those leading the way will have enlisted the help of specialist solution providers, or consultancies, to help them achieve the desired results by introducing the right mobile apps into the right business processes. Third-party organisations with a full understanding of how to deliver true business value, while retaining the technical intricacies required, are able to remove the daunting challenges associated with enterprise mobility. This is often done by:
- Providing the skills to build complex apps and design a simple user experience
- Developing the necessary capabilities and functionalities within the apps
- Lowering the cost of consistently meeting the ever-changing user demands
- Removing the technical pain, and extensive financial effort, of supporting the apps post-deployment
Witness this in action
There are plenty of fascinating examples of businesses across all different industries and sectors reaping the rewards of a more strategic approach to their Salesforce mobile applications. Read our exclusive case study to learn how a leading retail brand has successfully leveraged the Salesforce platform to build custom, complex mobile apps, gaining competitive differentiation, significant financial benefits, and innovative improvements to the daily working experience of its employees in doing so.