Mobile by Design
Having recently upgraded to a brand new and significantly better mobile handset, I have suddenly found myself in a whole new world of mobile interaction.
Where as previously I would have used my laptop for 90% of my web browsing and social network activity, I have now moved to virtually 100% mobile usage. This situation was brought home to me the other day, when I had a reference request come through to me from an estate agent who was looking to lease a property to someone I know. I have dealt with these requests before, and they tend to involve following a link to a web page, where you can fill in the required detail and then submit the form for consideration. Now in the past this would have involved going to the laptop and accessing the process through a standard web browser. In my new world I suddenly found myself sitting in an airport departure lounge and seamlessly completing the form in a matter of seconds after receiving the email notification.
Something that in the past would have taken a day to complete, and probably been left until I completed the trip, was instantaneous and a not even a matter of thought.
The proverbial scales have fallen from my eyes.
This revelation had two components. Firstly the most recent range of mobile devices and mobile OS available on the market are significantly better, more useable, friendly, and capable than they have ever been before. This means that your device is no longer a poor alternative to full screen browsing, speedy action and easy input. Devices and OS from all manufacturers now offer basically the same functionality and it is a portal to the world with little impediment.
The second, and more important element, is that the world has truly gone mobile from a process and engagement sense. It is no longer the norm, but rather the exception, if you as an individual or as a business are waiting for things to happen based on the location or facilities available to the individual at any point in time. If you are having a conversation with friends through Facebook or pushing your thoughts to the world through Twitter, there would be little point in waiting until the appropriate resources were available to take what are spontaneous actions. To do so would be to deny the point of the exercise. The social networks and tools associated with them have long been built with spontaneity in mind and could not dismiss mobile platforms in their planning. It is for this reason that the early adopters of mobile activity are those who are more active on the social network scene, and the underlying platforms that first developed mobile interfaces are one and the same.
We have all seen people tapping away on their device for long periods and let’s face it; we all make the assumption that it is email or social activity that keeps them occupied.
The big change however, and the leap forward in usage that is with us now, and accelerating, is the situation reflected in my airport lounge completion of a property reference.
Mobile connectivity has suddenly stepped away from the early social network and email adopters.
If you take it that mobile devices are now highly capable, and the technology and platforms exist to allow remote connectivity, then the big jump is the fact that it is no longer the social animals driving the moves forward. Businesses are rapidly taking up the drive for mobility. Previously isolated software applications are expanding outside of the geographical and virtual walls of the organisation.
Uptake of business process management software and more holistic business systems, mean that employees and customers are now able to interact with the business in a multitude of ways. BPM in particular has revolutionised the management of business process and the interactions that are possible on a day to day basis. Mobile connectivity and simple easy and intuitive interaction has to be an integral part of this. Business processes should with the most recent technology no longer require a separate and detailed design of the UI or the process itself to become mobile compliant. Systems are now offering inherent mobile processing capability with all activities being seamlessly rendered in to a mobile and OS compatible framework. This coupled with easy external authentication of users etc. makes the burden of deploying such systems small in relation to the overall business benefit.
Business users are no longer waiting at their desks for emails or shuffling through invoices for approval. Rather they are out visiting customers and clients, or indeed waiting to board aircraft and being truly ‘mobile’ in both the physical and virtual sense. Be it entering expense claims, approving compliance activities, or responding to emergencies, there is virtually no business process that can not be made more capable through mobile interaction.
In my particular case, the BPM system that sent me the reference request had no idea where I was on that day, but the use of a great device with good mobile capability, and a mobile interface for the system itself that was simple and intuitive, meant that I was able to complete the process in seconds. This meant no pain for me, efficient service from the estate agent and a great result for their client.
For me the power of mobile has suddenly become more evident. Mobile is no longer something that needs to be built into your deployment; it is intuitive, instantaneous and everyday, it is now expected in everything we do and wherever we go. No longer are systems mobile by design. The new norm is mobile.
You may or may not agree, but you are probably reading this on your tablet or smartphone.