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How to Make Mobility a Business Priority
September 20th, 2017

How to Make Mobility a Business Priority

Ian Linton

Mobility is a powerful way to create change in a business. Traditionally, companies focused their mobile strategies and resources on employees who spent the majority of their time away from the office...

Mobility is a powerful way to create change in a business. Traditionally, companies focused their mobile strategies and resources on employees who spent the majority of their time away from the office like sales representatives and service engineers.

Businesses now recognize that mobility offers much wider benefits for the workforce as a whole. Mobility enables any employee to work productively away from their desk and gives them the freedom to choose flexible working arrangements at home or in the office. Giving them access to the same communications services and features.

Giving employees the ability to connect from any location doesn’t just impact productivity. It can increase employee engagement, particularly among the Millennial generation and remote workers, and it supports easier, more frequent collaboration.

Customer service also benefits from a more mobile business. Customers want to contact a business through their preferred communication channel and mobile is a top choice. With higher levels of mobility within a business, customers can be confident they will reach the contact they want the first time.

Mobility offers strategic benefits for businesses of every size and two elements can help you take full advantage of this transformation – VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

VoIP is an advanced telecommunication solution that is available to mobile users through a simple, affordable app. And, businesses that introduce secure BYOD policies coupled with mobile VoIP deployment have experienced significant improvements in productivity, collaboration, and employee engagement.

Create the workplace of the future

Mobility is a key element for creating the workplace of the future, which is a flexible environment where employees can choose where to work. They have the tools to be productive, efficient, contactable, and collaborative from any location.

Some might choose to work from home or a location with Wi-Fi; others may prefer the office, even if they are away from their desks or working in small huddle rooms or team meeting spaces.

This informal work environment is particularly important for the Millennial generation who make up an increasing proportion of the workforce. They grew up with mobile and social technologies and they expect them to be incorporated into the workplace.

Employees want to autonomy and flexibility of using technology that enhances their working experience and gives them the freedom to work any way they want. That makes a mobile-first environment a strategic, imperative, and an important factor in recruiting and retaining younger employees.

Eliminate ‘social dislocation’

For employees who prefer to work from home or other remote locations, mobile VoIP offers important benefits beyond personal productivity.

Experts have coined the phrase ‘social dislocation’ to describe the sense of isolation that some remote workers may experience when working away from the office. Even if they can join meetings using basic mobile tools, they may not be able to experience the full sense of collaboration that their office-based colleagues do.

Mobile VoIP enables remote employees to enhance their collaboration experience through multimedia video conferencing, screen sharing, and messaging tools. They can make a full contribution to online meetings, bringing their knowledge and experience to the team, and they no longer feel isolated.

Build a more social business

The adoption of mobile VoIP is helping build a social business whose key feature is collaboration. Businesses recognize the importance of sharing and accessing all the skills employees have in the organization. Collaboration and social media support that process.

With mobile VoIP, the technology is in place to make collaboration simple and accessible so that it becomes a normal part of the working day. Because that technology supports mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, the social workplace can extend beyond the physical boundaries of the business.

By setting up a company social network, employees can post details of their own expertise and knowledge or request assistance. They can also post details of projects they are working on so that other can contribute if they feel they can add something of value.

Social media helps to build teamwork and develop a collaborative culture in the workplace. And, by extending the social network to remote workers, mobile VoIP helps break down any barriers between different groups of employees.

This form of collaboration is more suitable for the workplace of the future than the rigid functional structures typical of earlier periods.

Drive increased productivity

Giving employees access to corporate VoIP services on their mobile devices delivers many important productivity benefits. Employees can work productively in any location with full access to office phone services.

For a start, they are more contactable. Employees can take calls or use other VoIP services from any device or any location. VoIP’s Follow Me feature means calls can be forwarded to cell phones, home phones, or other designated phones if employees are away from their desk.

VoIP’s Presence feature, which indicates when an employee is available for a call, eliminates the time-consuming problem of ‘phone tag’. Collaboration is also easier with conferencing features available on demand.

Accelerate gains with BYOD

These potential productivity gains are available to any VoIP user. But, research indicates that BYOD users can see even greater gains. Part of the reason is that employees are happier using their own devices, and they are more familiar with them, compared to company devices.

BYOD users work an average 2 hours more daily and send 20 more emails. BMC Software.

Researchers also found that BYOD users spend their time more effectively on tasks that drive other business benefits. Software consultancy Avanade found that 58 percent of companies surveyed reported an improvement in their ability to bring new products and services to market. That’s because VoIP’s conferencing features make collaboration simpler and support the project management and team working necessary to accelerate product development.

The combination of BYOD and VoIP’s ability to integrate business applications with smartphones can make a contribution to another big reported gain. Avanade reported that 73 percent of respondents experienced increased sales and customer acquisitions.

Integration of customer relationship management (CRM) systems with VoIP on BYOD devices can help employees provide a better service to their customers and open new opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Maintain mobile efficiency and security

BYOD helps improve communication and collaboration within the organization. And, it improves employee satisfaction with a positive impact on recruitment and retention. BYOD can also reduce costs as employees provide their own hardware.

However, BYOD can also increase security risks and that can act as a barrier to adoption. Employees’ mobile devices are not secured to corporate standards and that means any sensitive corporate data on a BYOD device is at risk. And, with so many different types of personal mobile devices, operating systems, and services in use, comprehensive security proves extremely challenging.

IT departments have also been reluctant to impose security best practices on BYOD devices because employees store personal data on the devices.

To overcome these challenges and maintain the momentum and benefits of BYOD programs, IT departments have introduced alternative policies. This gives them the opportunity for greater control over security.

COPE, which stands for corporate-owned, personally enabled, and CYOD – choose your own device – are two approaches.

With COPE, employees can choose from a selection of devices, services, and applications provided by the company, giving them a degree of freedom. However, the company owns the device and secures it to corporate standards. Employees can use a portion of the device’s capacity to store their own data, but they do not have ownership of the device.

The IT team can now manage security more easily. They can restrict access, backup data, apply patches, upgrades, and other changes to maintain security and performance levels, and ensure compliance with regulatory bodies.

With CYOD, employees can choose from a limited list of company-approved and secured devices. The major difference is that the employee pays for and owns the device. The company owns the SIM card and the contract. That enables IT to manage, control, and secure content and reduce the overall costs of mobile communications.

Build a more flexible workforce

With security in place and the full capability of VoIP available on mobile devices, businesses can gain full benefit from BYOD.

They can also use secure mobile VoIP to extend their own resources by hiring contractors or part-time employees working in remote locations. This is an important benefit for small or growing businesses that need specialist skills or resources.

For example, they could set up a virtual contact center to handle customer service calls or technical support, using home workers equipped with VoIP mobile apps. Or, they could work with freelance marketing or finance specialists, rather than hire permanent employees.

The ability to hire remote resources and equip them with full communications services helps businesses create a more flexible workforce.

Improve field force efficiency

Mobile VoIP can improve the efficiency of its original audience even further through integration with a contact center. For example, sales representatives or field engineers can keep customers updated on progress or advise them of delays by sending a message to a contact center. The agent can then relay the information to the customer and update any schedules.

Agents can also use VoIP’s integration with calendar or workforce management applications to plan and update schedules. For urgent meetings, they can review skills profiles and check availability using VoIP’s Presence feature so they can advise the next available worker with the right skills.

Location information is available on mobile devices equipped with tracking systems. This makes it easy to locate field workers and ask them to deal with urgent deliveries or service requests for nearby customers.

Field workers can use their VoIP-enabled smartphones to access schedules or CRM systems to review information before a customer visits. Using VoIP’s messaging services, supervisors can send notifications, schedules, or work details to a field worker’s single inbox so they can access all communications in a single place.

Mobile VoIP’s conferencing features make it easy for sales representatives or service engineers to set up online meetings with colleagues or experts. They can also use VoIP’s data networking capability to transmit work details, visit reports, service requests or purchase orders, speeding up administration.

Give customers more choices

Mobile VoIP helps businesses meet service level agreements and improve customer service and satisfaction. By recognizing and responding to customers’ growing use of mobile communications, businesses can improve satisfaction even more

For example, contact centers are now leveraging smartphone capabilities to develop new strategies for handling inbound and outbound calls. Smartphones support Visual IVR – a visual indication of an IVR menu. Using a suitable app, smartphone users no longer have to navigate through long strings of voice prompts; they view a visual menu on their phones or other mobile devices and choose the option they want.

When they are connected to the call center, they can enter any necessary personal or security details on their screen. The call center system offers a self-service solution or the option of speaking to an agent. Some systems also offer the option of a call-back so that the customer does not have to wait on hold.

Visual IVR is a practical solution for contact centers thanks to the widespread availability of smartphones and the increasing demand for mobile customer service. This contact method offers customers a solution that is quicker, simpler, and less frustrating.

Make mobility a strategic priority

Mobile VoIP provides important benefits to a business and its customers. By giving employees the right mobile tools and backing them with appropriate security, businesses can improve productivity, efficiency, and collaboration in the workplace of the future, as well as improve customer service.

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