From checking and replying to emails on the go to using Google Maps to get to that all-important business lunch to having virtual meetings in our favorite coffee shops, mobile technology has become so embedded in our daily lives that it seems almost impossible to imagine a life without it.
But what precisely is mobile technology? And how can you use it? Let’s take a look.
What is mobile technology?
Mobile technology refers to technology used on the go. It includes the hardware like smartphones, software like mobile apps, and communication technologies like Wi-Fi that let you communicate, share information, and perform tasks from virtually anywhere.
How can businesses use mobile technology?
1. Streamline communication and collaboration
Better communication enhances productivity, ensures everyone is on the same page, and helps teams make better decisions.
Mobile technologies have made this communication and collaboration easier than ever before.
They help keep all your communication organized in one central location where it’s accessible from any device, anywhere. Teams can interact, share files, have meetings, and collaborate on documents regardless of location.
Examples of remote collaboration tools include:
- Microsoft Teams and Zoom for video calls and remote meetings
- Slack for instant messaging and keeping all communication and documents organized according to dedicated spaces known as channels
- Google Drive for sharing and working on a variety of file types from any device in real-time, including spreadsheets, slides, and regular documents
- Trello for creating, organizing, and collaborating on projects
2. Optimize workflows to save time
Optimizing workflows helps minimize errors and saves time so you can focus on higher-value work like building customer relationships.
Here are a few ways to optimize workflows with mobile technology:
- Task and project management. Use apps like Asana to assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress.
- Route optimization. Apps like Jobber can help optimize driver routes to save on fuel costs and speed up delivery.
- Inventory, warehousing, and manufacturing workflow automation. For example, inventory management software helps automate stock counts, production tracking, capacity projection, and purchasing management.
- Instant quote approval with e-signatures. Get quote approval without needing to print, scan, and physically sign and complete a document. Use tools like DocuSign to fill out forms digitally.
3. Track inventory in real time for more accurate decisions
Efficient inventory tracking inventory is crucial for a multitude of reasons:
- Stock-level optimization. You’re able to maintain the optimal stock levels to meet customer demand while maintaining cash flow.
- Order fulfillment speed and customer satisfaction. You can meet customer demand promptly to keep customers satisfied.
- Overall supply chain efficiency. You can better forecast demand, plan for manufacturing, and coordinate distribution.
Mobile technologies are crucial in maintaining this tracking efficiency. For example, barcode inventory software, which works on mobile devices, lets you print product labels and scan products using handheld devices.
Scanned products are stored in a database to help you track inventory at every step of the supply chain, providing real-time visibility from shipment to delivery.
You also usually get access to dashboards and reporting features from any smart device. This includes real-time market, sales, and profit data to help make better decisions around inventory management.
4. Enhance the efficiency of warehouse operations
An efficient warehouse helps you control operational costs, boost productivity, speed up order fulfillment, improve inventory management, and maximize space utilization.
- Mobile barcode scanners like Zebra let you scan product codes quickly, update inventory, and track stock in real time.
- Mobile devices like two-way radios and walkie-talkies facilitate instant communication among workers to help coordinate warehouse tasks.
- Warehouse management apps like Fishbowl, which are crucial in implementing warehouse automation, help manage the many facets of warehouse operations, such as inventory tracking, order picking and packing processes, data gathering, and resource allocation.
5. Simplify project planning and execution
Better project planning and execution improves the chances of project success, minimizes risk, allows for better resource allocation, and improves the bottom line. Mobile apps provide the tools for teams to better plan, execute, and monitor projects directly from mobile devices.
You can assign tasks, track progress, set milestones, and ensure projects remain on track. A tool like Trello is ideal for this purpose, allowing you to move tasks smoothly through the various stages of a workflow.
With Trello, you manage and track projects with Boards, Cards, and Lists. Boards are where you organize all the tasks and details of a project. Each Board contains various Lists and Cards.
Lists organize specific tasks according to the various stages of progress. Each Card represents these individual tasks or ideas found on Lists. For example, a project board may have the Lists “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Completed.” As individual tasks (Cards) are completed, people can shift these Cards to different Lists.
6. Collect and analyze data to improve decision-making
Mobile technology gives you the tools to collect and analyze important data on the go so you can make better decisions.
You can collect important data about practically anything, including:
- Customers, e.g., personal information and purchase history
- Inventory, e.g., inventory levels and supplier information
- Financials, e.g., revenue and expense reports
- Operations, e.g., production planning KPIs and inventory turnover rates
- Market research, e.g., qualitative customer feedback and competitive analysis
Mobile inventory management apps, on the other hand, can display interactive sales data directly on a dashboard for real-time reporting. You can then analyze the data to identify trends and gain insights.
From there, you can make important decisions. For example, an inventory management app lets you track inventory levels in real time to make important decisions about how much stock you need to carry to meet customer demand while avoiding overstocking and high inventory carrying costs.
7. Streamline payment processes to get paid faster
A streamlined payment process makes it easier for customers to pay, speeds up transaction times, and ensures you get paid faster, which boosts cash flow and improves the overall customer experience.
Examples of mobile tech that’s revolutionizing the payment space include:
- Payment systems like Square and PayPal Zettle provide a mobile card reader you can attach to a smartphone or tablet for payment on the go
- Mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay that offer contactless payment—register your card details with them to start using this feature
- Mobile invoicing apps like Freshbooks and QuickBooks that let you quickly create invoices from your phone and give customers the option to pay online via credit card
- Mobile banking apps for banking on the go: pay bills, transfer money between accounts, view current balances, and even cancel stolen cards directly from your smart device
- Mobile payment gateway providers like Stripe that offer software development kits (SDKs) so developers can integrate Stripe into mobile applications for a customized online payment process
8. Manage customer relationships to drive sales
Managing customer relationships helps retain existing customers, encourages word-of-mouth marketing, and increases sales.
Mobile CRM apps allow you to track customer interactions, monitor their preferences, and provide personalized customer services.
- Salesforce mobile app to track leads, manage sales and opportunities, organize your day, and access dashboards and reports. Your team can also use Chatter: a tool to collaborate, share files, and interact with clients and team members.
- Nimble, which is marketed as “the CRM for more than just salespeople.” It provides everything you need in a CRM, like contact management, pipeline management, and reporting. But it is also strongly focused on social CRM. The platform can integrate with social media to track a lead’s social media interactions and gather insights. It automatically pulls data from social media networks like X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook.
Mobile technology is here to stay
Mobile technology has undoubtedly revolutionized how businesses operate—from streamlining communication, optimizing workflows, and tracking inventory to enhancing warehouse efficiency, simplifying project planning, and managing customer relationships.
While using this technology is an advantage for any business, it’s also a necessity. It’s a valuable tool that helps businesses stay competitive in an ever-changing business landscape. Those looking to remain ahead of the curve will need to stay abreast of any technological advancements that can benefit them in the future.