The following is an excerpt from Float’s latest series, The TAO of Enterprise Mobility.
Every innovation that is adopted by an individual or an organization has consequences, many of them unforeseen. It is probably obvious that your workplace has changed because of the use of mobile technologies. Reading the press, though, it’s just as obvious that all of the business has changed–it is now global, connected, decentralized, hypercompetitive, and precarious.
How will you keep up? People, process, and tools are the only things you can affect. It’s clear you need to attract, hire, and keep savvy people to collaborate and complete their work using the latest in technology. Let’s explore what that means for your business. What can you change, enable, and grow for your business? In the words of William Gibson in the afterward of his cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer, “what if the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?” Envision what could be possible and you can make it so.
Leveraging Computer Vision and Network Connectivity in Logistics
Hundreds of packages and dozens of trucks per day can be loaded by a single employee. Errors are costly and can require returns and lots of lost time. Facilities and processes are not always the most user-friendly. How could advanced mobile technologies streamline a situation like this in a warehouse?
A mobile device, equipped with a camera that uses a custom-built application to read bar codes or interact with “near field communications” (NFC) transmitters to identify chips embedded in a package, could significantly reduce errors in case-picking operations. The network connectivity in the device could verify that the right product is in the right place by leveraging data in a supply chain management system. It could evaluate employees in real time for instant adjustments in performance.
The power for performance improvement also lies in the ability of the user’s usage and history to be compared with small specific instances of training materials, using metadata, and machine learning to predict which training materials apply to the task or activity at hand and feedback from the application itself to create personalized performance help that can be delivered in situ to the user while they are working. Even a 10% reduction in time would mean millions in dollars saved over a year for a large shipping operation.
Supporting Mobile Repair Technicians with the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) may just be getting started in the true consumer space, but industrial devices and enterprise hardware have had network connectivity and addressability for years. Routers, switches, printers, servers, control panels, ATMs, ticket kiosks, and many more devices are all responsible for the day-to-day operations of many industries. Most of the time, these pieces of hardware work just fine. When they break down, however, they can wreak havoc. Cable systems, phone systems, entire municipal transit systems, and more can be completely shut down when a system error occurs. Minutes can cost millions.
With network connectivity, onboard storage, and input/output peripherals, a mobile phone can be a mobile diagnostic tool. You could deliver update-able troubleshooting checklists via an app. But why stop there? Using a USB service port on a device, or a secure socket connection on a wireless VPN, a field service tech could instantly read the error code, determine the course of action from the recommended list, and then finally issue the patch for the device. They can do all of this without going back to their truck or even calling the home office.
With thousands of such interactions happening over a slice of time, predictive analytics could be put in place to help resolve maintenance problems, aid in continued systems development, or even deliver supplemental training to the techs that need it most.
Sales Professionals – Using a Mobile Customer Relationship Management System For Historical Sales Data and Objection Handling
Sales professionals live and die by the data they need to decide. What to sell, who to sell it to, and how are all decisions that need data to back them up. A salesperson doesn’t want to have to wait to pull out a cumbersome laptop, boot it up, connect into a coffee shop Wi-Fi or a 3G hotspot and then log into the company’s virtual private network (VPN) to access a clunky, battleship grey, on-premises customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Instead, they want instant access on a fast, highly portable device that is always with them. With responsive websites and customizable CRM apps, it’s easy to tailor an interface for a sales pro that allows them to assemble sales sheets that are relevant to the customer they are just about to meet with. Simply fire up the app, search for the contact name, and get their past order history and recent buying objections or challenges in the immediate region. A custom app finds the keywords in the customer’s objections and searches the integrated digital asset management system to find the most important marketing content that will help close the deal. Before the salesperson even enters the place, they can save the newly created document generated from the curated list of information as a PDF that can be shown via a microprojector they’ve brought with them. The document is emailed to the contact before they leave the client office.
If you want to learn even more about how today’s tech is disrupting organizations, download the third and final white paper in our series on The TAO of Enterprise Mobility.
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