The following post is from Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.
Mobile technology first took off in the consumer market, and it wasn’t too long before IT managers were being asked to handle an influx of personal devices in the workplace. Mobile strategies often focused only on BYOD (or “bring your own device”), and this meant supporting employee-owned smartphones and other personal devices.
Flash forward to today, as some innovative companies understand that mobility isn’t just about rolling out devices en masse; it’s about allowing mobile devices to disrupt and – ultimately – transform their businesses with new revenue models, new ways of communicating with customers and new ways of inspiring employees.
To start down the road of transformation, companies need to first secure the devices and data they’re putting in the hands of employees. Security threats are real and growing, morphing from viruses to social engineering schemes to serious data loss. Imagine a health employee losing her tablet when her car gets broken into, potentially putting customer medical records at risk. Or imagine a government employee unwittingly downloading a malicious app from an online store, infecting his agency’s entire network.
Policies and management are critical when deploying mobile solutions company-wide. Companies need to be able to wipe devices clean remotely if they are lost, ensure that hard drives can’t be decrypted easily and keep security patches are up-to-date. Businesses have been so busy working to avoid these threats that many have ignored the ways mobile computing can make their businesses run better and create new revenue streams.
Customer Loyalty Can Be Sky High
So how do businesses make the leap from mobile deployment to business transformation? One example is Delta Air Lines, which is using mobile technology to increase customer loyalty. Delta’s cabin crews are constantly on the move and flying at 35,000 feet, so the airline looked for better ways to connect with its workforce. With this in mind, Delta worked with Avanade to replace its legacy point-of-sale devices with new, Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones running Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft Dynamics for Retail.
Now, Delta’s 19,000 flight attendants can more easily cater to customer preferences and provide more personalized in-flight service. At the same time, new transaction data is sent wirelessly to airline headquarters, which enables Delta to get a real-time view of trends related to in-flight transactions. This allows the airline to adjust its offerings to provide better overall service. A win-win, powered by business mobile solutions.
Another example is Carolina Realty Group, a family-owned real estate brokerage in Hilton Head, S.C. The company’s brokers need to be out in the field, where the work of showing properties and generating leads takes place. With Office 365, Windows Phones, Surfaces and Windows 8 devices, Carolina Realty now has access to a full set of communications and productivity tools that allow the agents to complete their work from anywhere. Clients now sign contracts electronically using a Surface and a stylus. In the last year alone, Carolina Realty reports it has significantly reduced their overall IT spend.
New Experiences = New Business Models
One of the most amazing examples of business transformation is New York Presbyterian Hospital, which provides patients each with their own customized Surface tablet. Not only does this give patients better, more secure access to medical information, it also makes it easy for them to play an active role in the care they receive. They can record pain levels, interact in real-time with their care team and securely access medical records via Microsoft HealthVault on the device, in real-time.
Patients can also see and chat with loved ones via Skype, pick from Netflix’s library of movies and TV shows, listen to whatever music they prefer via Xbox Music and much more. It’s a major change from bedside phones and TVs anchored to the ceilings. And it’s all part of the hospital’s imaginative new process for providing the best end-to-end patient experience.
As mobility continues its long march into businesses, what will your company do to ensure it’s playing to win? Delta Air Lines, Carolina Realty and New York Presbyterian are using mobility to transform how they go to market, serve customers and collaborate between employees. And in doing so, they are distancing themselves from their competitors in ways that will pay off for many years to come.
For more stories on what companies are doing to transform with mobile technology, visit our Business Mobility Newsroom.