According to Dictionary.com the word mobility means, "the quality of being mobile". The word "mobile" when used in the context of digital technology means, "pertaining to or noting a cell phone, usually
one with computing ability, or a portable, wireless computing device used while held in the hand,
as in mobile tablet; mobile PDA; mobile app".
So what do we make of the word mobility? Well in layman's terms it basically means the use of a mobile device which gives us the ability to be mobile.
In our modern society, all we need to do is look around to notice how mobile devices have crept into daily life almost overnight. Even children who are barely able to speak, already know the basic fundamentals of using a mobile device.
Mobile devices are not a new concept by any means. Since the first mobile phones were released into the market they have served their purpose and served it well. That purpose is for communication. Businesses were then able to leverage this new found tool and never before seen accessibility to gain a competitive edge because the turnaround time for mundane administration became that much shorter.
Skip ahead a few short years and a new company bursts onto the scene with the ability to deliver your email into your hand. Of course I refer to Blackberry, a radical concept which gained huge following in the business world. The release of the iPhone, a touch screen based device would once again change the game. Social Media platforms have in turn allowed people to use mobile devices to achieve a greater level of social cohesion. Mobile phones are personal by nature and by content, it is no surprise that the extent of the use of mobile phones thus far has mostly advanced in the personal space, what can "I" do with my mobile.
What we see very often today is people carrying one device which is their "Private" mobile and possibly one or even two others which are their "Business" device/s.
At this point in time, the business world is only now starting to realise the possible benefit of also turning the mobile phone into a tool which can be used for far more than just making and receiving calls and to read and respond to email. It is very fast becoming an integration tool to be used as an alternative channel to achieve tasks that would normally only be possible from behind a computer screen.
In business, time is money. Even a slight delay due to non-availability of a human resource or a real time mechanism can have a huge impact on lost revenue, missed deadlines and even lost opportunity. Real-time data and statuses make the difference between a happy and an unhappy customer. Since a mobile is already a device which almost everybody carries around, why not try to leverage that and use it as another way of performing the business tasks that need to get done while on the move? Just like a quick Facebook update, or a tweet is done while on the move. Why can the quick purchase order release or work order timesheet capture not be done in the same fashion?
As the mobile market is evolving at an ever increasing speed, so too, is the business world. Many businesses have already spent a large portion of money ensuring they have the best that their money can buy them in terms of I.T. infrastructure. SAP/Oracle/Microsoft. Enterprise Resource Planning systems to run their organisations.
The concept of mobility is not here to redesign your business process, no, it is here to give your business options: Getting the job done faster, giving you the insight you need to take the necessary decision. Since many companies have already spent that money to buy the best engine that they can afford, why not just leverage those processes that are already built. Have that premium as the process driver and add a layer of mobility giving your people access to that process.
I believe that the combination of mobility when coupled with big data will change the game once again for businesses who want to be on the cutting edge. Those who are forward thinking enough to use all the resources at their disposal to move forward.
Are there challenges? Of course. Mobility is still a very new corporate idea. Many companies who have already invested lots of money on I.T are cautious to not go and invest an almost equal amount of money on a mobility concept which, according to them is not yet stabilised or to continue to partner with existing companies who are not clear on a mobility strategy. Can we blame those partner companies for not having a 10 year plan? With new mobile devices and software being released on an almost monthly basis, how can they have a plan that sees that far into the future? In fact, how can they have a plan that sees more than 2 years into the future. The current culture of "here today and gone tomorrow" for many tech companies is proof of the ever changing landscape. Blackberry, who have a good product and who were market leaders a few years ago now struggle to keep their relevance.
So this blog aims to set the stage of mobility as a concept and what it is that we as TOKN have to offer. I believe that Mobility should be offered as a service. You pay a fee for what you consume and if you feel it is no longer relevant, you use something else.
So what is TOKN and how can it support your business to achieve the level of mobility you need?
Well TOKN is a mobility platform. What that means is that it is a software concept where businesses are able to design their own applications and the services that those applications will consume in a central place. Those apps can then be deployed to mobile devices without the need to actually install individual applications from one of the stores. The applications are designed/built once in the central location and are device agnostic. This means that you do not need to do any native development on iOS/Android or Windows Phone. Your own internal IT team can take advantage of this and you don't need to employ any additional specific skills.
It is designed and built around the "Bring Your Own Device" concept. So a personal mobile is then enabled to be used for business purpose without cluttering the phone with app after app since it is one client application that gets installed and all the business related activity happens within that app. This then has the ability to remove the multiple device culture.
The concept works seamlessly with SAP. We already have out of the box apps which immediately allow you to mobilise your key activities such as to release Purchase requisitions, Purchase Orders, to create leave requests, release leave requests, add time sheets to work order operations. We have the ability to take a company from having no mobility solution to not only having a solution, but also to releasing PO's in a matter of minutes. Yes, you read it correctly, minutes.
The solution not only gives you this but also comes with a host of device management abilities. In case a device is stolen, that confidential corporate information can be wiped. Access to the system can be blocked at will. The apps that are deployed to users can be controlled through user groups so you can have a different set of apps for different groups of people in the organisation. Active GPS location logging allows for visibility of where the device was at a point in time when a record was posted.
I would urge any company to let us showcase what we have to offer as part of the consideration for a mobility offering. I think we will not only impress but also astound at the approach and the value for money in our product offering.
Please keep an eye open for future posts where I will be detailing some of our abilities.