Mobile collaboration has evolved far beyond chat and email, but many enterprises still haven’t fully unlocked its power. As companies race to become more competitive using technology, the right mobile strategy has huge potential to kick your business into high gear.
Key to understanding the power of mobile collaboration: recognizing it can improve entire workflows, not just simply make individuals more efficient. We’ll get to concrete examples in a moment, but first let’s look at two broad use cases where mobile collaboration can have a big impact.
Capturing and adding data from the field: For workers on job sites, in retail stores, and at other remote locations, smartphones and tablets let them capture and share data instantly. Workers can share information and project updates in near real time, and do so in a way that includes all relevant stakeholders, not just individuals. This allows their team members to act quickly and keep a process moving along.
Real-time notifications: For business leaders and other traveling workers, receiving immediate updates when the status of a negotiation or a project changes is incredibly powerful. And having this information delivered in a collaboration tool provides the context they need to make informed decisions on the spot, meaning business keeps moving.
So what does an effective collaboration solution look like in practice? A great example of a business that’s done mobile collaboration right is Weyerhaeuser, a Seattle-based company and one of the largest private owners of timberland in the world. Weyerhaeuser crafted a mobile strategy using Smartsheet that enables its sales reps to be more effective and responsive to customers in the field.
The application informs sales reps where they should prioritize their time and determines the types of questions they should ask, giving Weyerhaeuser’s agents the information they need and the added confidence to be more successful. And because reps can capture information directly within the collaboration app, they no longer need to fiddle with email and spreadsheets. This saves time that can be spent instead on building stronger customer relationships.
4 steps to successful collaboration
So how do you craft a successful mobile collaboration strategy? Here are four best practices to consider when you’re looking for ways that smartphones and tablets can better serve your own company.
- Do the work up front to ensure the mobile component will really increase efficiency. Changing a well-established process can be difficult, so make sure the solution you have in mind will really improve a process and do so without disrupting your corporate culture. A key part of this is choosing a mobile collaboration platform that’s flexible enough for your needs, and easy enough for staff of all technical abilities to use.
- Think beyond text. Capturing images, video, and other content comes naturally to mobile users, so embrace this as part of your solution. A good collaboration solution will let users upload and share media instantly, meaning co-workers and collaborators outside your organization can immediately visualize and act on what’s happening on the ground.
- Clarify desired outcomes to define success ahead of time. As with any IT project, you need to assess whether you’re meeting your goals or if the process needs fine-tuning. This can take numerous forms depending on the solution, but consider metrics like the rate of employee adoption and time-to-project completion. If it’s a sales solution, ask your reps if it’s making them more effective. Defining these successful outcomes ahead of time will help focus your efforts as you create the solution.
- Ensure cross-device compatibility. Your employees carry a variety of device types, including both iOS and Android, smartphones, and tablets. Don’t limit your mobile solution by choosing an app that only works with certain devices. Broad adoption is often key to success, so don’t limit this from the outset.
When a mobile strategy is done well, collaboration becomes frictionless. Employees can communicate easily with colleagues and customers, and roadblocks to completing tasks quickly disappear.
Smartphones and tablets have transformed our personal lives and disrupted entire industries. Mobile is now set to have an equally profound impact in the enterprise, so get in front of the trend and put mobile collaboration to work at your company.