How, exactly, does a business become “mobile first?” Obviously, it gives mobility a high priority. Yet at the same time, it must undertake more than a simple shift toward incorporating mobile devices into its business activities. Simply put, the company must make its products and services mobile-centric — not desktop centric.

Mobility has changed expectations about the user experience. Where employees and customers were once tied to desktops and landlines in a single location, now they’re performing increasingly complex tasks on their mobile devices. As a result, they’ve come to expect mobility’s convenience and personalization to come along with the flexibility of a desktop.

Why mobility must be a priority

Mobility is emerging as an important trend in business communications systems not only because employees and customers expect it, but also because companies profit from it. People spend more and more time on their mobile devices – both when they’re off the clock and when they’re working. Despite that, 38 percent of enterprises only use mobile solutions for simple tasks such as email and calendar. At the same time organizations trailing in mobility are 15 percent less productive, and 29 percent, less profitable than those that take a mobile-first approach.

The bottom line: Businesses that adopt a mobile mindset and design their customer experiences to match it are more competitive. Consider these five advantages.

Faster decision-making. When employees and management can communicate more effectively and quickly, business decisions are made faster, keeping your company agile and responsive.

Reduced hardware costs. BYOD programs are beloved by employees, but also save your organization money. All those devices your workers bring are devices your company doesn’t have to buy.

Improved productivity. Mobile-first communications keep everyone connected at all times, allowing employees to get their work done faster and more efficiently.

Reduced office real estate costs. Mobility means more employees can work remotely full-time. That means less money spent on office rent and other facility rentals.

Improved customer service and sales. When you offer mobility, customer service can provide a more rapid response to every question and more quickly fulfill every order, thus, increasing retention and loyalty.

Want to know more about the mobile customer experience of the future? Click here. >

Is your communications technology mobile-ready?

How do you know if you’re ready to create a mobile-first experience? Ask these five questions to evaluate the readiness of your current communications technology.

Do employees have a consistent experience across desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets, including Android, iOS and Microsoft devices?

Can your customers communicate with you via voice, email, text or chat from any device?

Do employees have a single identity no matter where they are? Does their phone number follow them wherever they go – with the same features and functionality?

Do remote workers have access to the same features, functionality and experience as in-office employees?

Can your workers use the mobile device of their choosing, with their availability updated so customers and co-workers know when and how to best reach them at any given moment?

The technology behind mobility

If your answers indicate that you need to refocus on mobility, the first step is to gain a better understanding of the technology behind it. Here are some of the ways communications technology provides increased mobility to businesses:

Cloud-based communications connect offices and employees seamlessly, no matter where they’re located.

IP-based work phones keep remote employees connected at all times.

IP-based systems enable laptops to serve as phones, eliminating the need for actual desk devices.

Dynamic extensions allow employees to connect multiple devices to their desk phones, giving them a single identity through their business extension.

Hot Desking support enables employees to log into any business phone and make it their own, including status notifications and voice mailbox access.

Single server access to a suite of software applications (such as unified messaging, audio, web and video conferencing) allows businesses to choose what to deploy, creating the ideal unified communications solution.

Secure connectivity between LAN and the public Internet lets communications flow seamlessly behind the company firewall.

Using GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, dynamic status updates on employee devices show everyone whether employees are available and how best to reach them.

Support for video calling over Wi-Fi and Mobile 4G networks, as well as active call handoff between Wi-Fi and cellular networks on the go, increase reliability and availability.

At first, shifting to a mobile-first mindset may not come easily. But with the right communications technology, you’ll have the capabilities to develop mobile-first solutions that create loyal customers and more productive employees. The end result? You’ll be the competition that’s hard to beat.

The City of York Council mobilized its previously deskbound workforce to increase productivity and reduce costs. To find out how, click here. >

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