For generations, businesses worked on paper. Whether it was communication, bookkeeping, or expense reports, people toiled away entering numbers on gridded sheets, checking, double checking, and correcting errors. To work on the sheets, you had to be where the sheets were, which was almost always in the office. But beginning in the 1960s, and accelerating in the 1990s, digital technologies disrupted manual processes. In the last few years, the advent of smart and powerful mobile devices – phones and tablets – and the demographic trends among the people using those devices, have taken the change on a rocket ride.
It’s a journey
In a November 2016 article for the Huffington Post Blog, Forrester Research VP Julie Ask (who co-authored the book The Mobile Mind Shift) talked about the stakes for businesses in getting mobile right. She wrote, “The future of experiences is one that depends on agility, continuous learning and automation. Building these experiences must be viewed as a journey augmented by new technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.” That article portrays the face of digital as being mobile. There are a lot of reasons for that.
Mobile is at the heart of one of SMB Group's Top Ten Technology Trends for 2017. Trend #8 notes that “SMB mobile momentum continues, but mobile management lags”, in other words, there’s more work to be done. But the stats are there: SMB Group research, sponsored by SAP Concur, shows that more than half of SMBs say half or more of their employees now use mobile devices for business. Mobile productivity and collaboration apps (like HipChat and Slack) are now considered mainstream. More than two-thirds of SMBs surveyed agree that mobile solutions are critical to their business.
Meanwhile, a generational shift tilted towards people who prefer mobile devices for work (and play) is gathering speed. In 2015 millennials passed baby boomers as our country’s largest living generation. And, as boomers retire at an accelerating rate, your workforce, and everybody else’s, is increasingly a millennial culture. And millennials are always on their smartphones – just look around you.
Millennials aren’t the only workers who prefer the option of mobile devices – and for good reasons. The power of a modern smartphone or tablet has crossed a line, to the point at which it really is possible to get a lot of work done literally any time, from anywhere. Communicating, collaborating, submitting business documents for approval, and approving are just some of the processes that are now mobile-capable. That’s boosting productivity and giving workers unprecedented flexibility. The trick is for businesses to equip their employees with the right mobile solutions, and to guard the security of the data that’s flying through those devices and into the cloud.
SMB Group data shows two-thirds of SMBs agree that mobile solutions are already changing how they work and collaborate. And there is nothing on the horizon right now that suggests that trend will reverse itself in the foreseeable future.
Want to know more about the mobile change and how the best SMBs are embracing it to serve their customers and grow? Register for our upcoming webinar: The Benefits of Moving from Manual to Mobile Expense with Rich Adams, Director, Mobile Spend at SAP Concur, on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at 2PM ET.