Has there ever been a single piece of physical technology that redefined everyday life faster than the smartphone?
I doubt it.
According to studies, we now check our phones 150 times every day. MarketWatch reports that nearly four in 10 millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children, or co-workers.
In fact, more than two-thirds of smartphone users apparently check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up.
But the impact of this technology goes far beyond changing our morning routine.
The ubiquity of mobile connectivity is also transforming the way we conduct global business, as every day more and more people find themselves untethered from the traditional work desk.
A Business Necessity
For many enterprises, a mobile workforce is now considered an economic necessity. It’s a mindset found at companies of all sizes and one that certainly isn’t restricted to the United States.
In Germany, for example, mobile technology continues to find a home in workplaces both large and small – and many of the country’s premiere companies are relying on home-grown assistance to help them get the most out of this technology.
“Our entire business model is based on enabling the mobile workforce,” says Marco Föllmer, co-founder and CEO of EBF GmbH – an IT service provider based in Cologne, Germany. “We create bottom line benefits for our customers by unlocking access to company data and helping their employees participate in critical business workflows from their mobile devices.”
For example, EBF helped one of Germany’s largest health insurance funds improve customer support by providing mobile access to critical master data. As a result, the insurer can update customer data quicker and field personnel are automatically synchronized with office systems.
EBF also assisted an iconic German automaker mobilize a full range of its product and customer information. Now, sales representatives have the ability to configure a car with a buyer’s choice of desired extras directly from their iPhone or iPad.
Agility for All
EBF is not as large as many of its customers – the Cologne-based company currently has about 100 employees. But from Föllmer’s perspective, EBF’s need for business agility is just as great as that of any Fortune 500 company.
“To stay competitive and continue growing, we need to adapt to market changes quickly,” says Föllmer. “We also need a good handle on our CRM data and a consolidated view of all our customer activities.”
EBF runs many of its business operations on the SAP Business ByDesign solution. Part of the cloud-based software’s appeal was the ability for EBF’s employees and managers to hook up to the solution anytime and from any location – working from their desktop PC in the office or on the road using their laptop, tablet PC, or smartphone.
“Yes,” says Föllmer in an expression of intentional understatement, “mobility is business critical and very important to us, too.
A Look Ahead
So, will businesses around the world continue to invest heavily in mobile technologies?
Well, remember those millennials I mentioned earlier? According to a report from EY, 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials by the year 2025.
How do you suppose they will choose to work?