Carl Boraman, Commercial Director at Tollring, argues that with Generation Y ‘Millennials’ helping to drive changes in working practices, everything today must be optimised for flexible working, for productivity at any time and in any location.
When looking at a mobile first approach, we need to consider not just smartphones, but also laptops and tablets. The assumption from the outset must be that the user is highly likely to be working on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer. Therefore, corporate systems and information must be easy to access and delivered in the most effective way.
The shift to a mobile workplace is most evident when you look at how the PC market has been shrinking. PC sales declined nearly 10% worldwide in Q1 of 2016, compared to 2015 while tablets now account for 40% of the market. Smartphone sales have exploded with shipments exceeding 1.5 billion globally in 2015.
At a personal level, everyone is now familiar with mobile-optimised websites that use adaptive technology to automatically scale to the display size of the device. This change is in line with customer demand as 71% of Britons now use a mobile to access the internet (source: ONS) to interact on social media, read the news and shop online.
Banking and online shopping apps are great examples of how the perception of accessing corporate data from mobile devices is now considered normal, safe and secure. The underlying security and support for these website tools has improved and fear has been removed.
As we enter the office environment, everyone expects the same performance, flexibility and ease of use from supporting technologies. They want to use the mobile device of their choice to access the information they need, when they want and from any location.
So when we consider analytics and business intelligence, the focus must be on helping the customer to make faster and more accurate decisions. The solution is to exploit the internet browser that is already available on mobile devices. This follows the format of other business productivity tools such as Office 365, SAP and Salesforce.
Ideally, customer interactions must be monitored in real-time and the resulting data must also be available in real-time, so access via a mobile device becomes essential. Although analytics is all about data, people do not want to see complicated screens squeezed into a mobile format, they want things to be simple, effective and easy to use.
When Tollring adopted a ‘mobile first’ policy for its cloud based solutions, the business case was already written for us. From the outset, we realised we couldn’t simply shoehorn our legacy desktop-based call analytics, call recording and business intelligence solutions into the mobile environment, we had to develop it from the ground up with a mobile first, desktop second, mind-set. The aim was to create a single, uniform user experience across all our services that could be accessed on any device.
The obvious advantage of this approach is that if you deliver a great experience on a small screen, the user experience only gets better on a device with faster connectivity and a larger display. Having an intuitive UI (User Interface) that scales automatically and is enjoyable to use effectively sells the service on its own.
A mobile first strategy built into Tollring’s cloud portfolio provides Service Provider partners with a differentiator in a highly competitive marketplace. It allows them to go to market with a compelling proposition, which in turn can help their customers to differentiate their own products and services.
However, a mobile first policy does have its challenges. Connectivity and the ability to work offline and online is key. The customer needs to have a robust, fit for purpose and secure network wherever they are for cloud-based services to be effective.
Why the channel should be thinking mobile first and desktop second:
- Meet Expectations: People regularly access high quality apps and web content from wherever they are, so expect the same experience and performance from their working environment.
- Drive Opportunity: If you can deliver an excellent and enjoyable experience on a mobile, you can make it even better on a larger, faster desktop.
- Make an Impact: An application working slickly on a mobile device sells! Ensure your product demo includes showcasing the product on various devices for greater impact.
- Minimise Ongoing Management and Support: Mobile-responsive browser-based services are often preferable to a dedicated mobile app; the customer has nothing to download and the ongoing management and support (by using a browser) is minimal.
- Promote the Single Portal Experience: A single portal with a single sign-on delivers a better overall experience for you and your customers. Use
- APIs to bring other relevant data from 3rd party systems into a single portal experience.
- Drive ROI: Use the benefits of mobile-optimised data to deliver a hard ROI that helps increase workforce productivity, but also enables your workforce to work effectively on any device, wherever they are.