E-Handbook: Take a mobile-first approach to digital transformation Article 2 of 2

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Mobile is at the forefront of digital transformation trends

As 'digital transformation' dominates discussion, understand why it's important to keep mobile at the forefront of the initiative -- and what you can do to get started.

As the term digital transformation gains steam, it's important to remember that mobile is at the heart of the movement.

Digital transformation is the use of modern technologies to change the relationship between customer and service provider, as well as between a company's employees and all of the people they need to communicate with. Its objective is to improve efficiencies, enhance customer relationships and similar goals. Even for companies in which real-world interaction is essential -- plumbers and barbers, for example -- it's essential to stay competitive with websites that advertise services and enable customers to make appointments and digital payments. Digital transformation trends focus on a fundamental rethinking of business processes across the organization and even into social interactions.

How mobile pushes digital transformation trends

Businesses today must focus on digital transformation to stay in touch with internal employees as well as customers. Despite the growing number of customers and employees that use mobile devices to research, shop, pay and more, mobile is often an overlooked aspect as digital transformation trends focus on web presence and digital marketing. But it's crucial to keep mobile at the forefront, especially as the internet of things (IoT) increases the number of connected devices, such as wearables, and drives the need for mobile apps.

Mobility has led the transformation of information technology from PC-centric to mobile device-centric. Cloud-based services such as Dropbox and iCloud often extend the power of the mobile device to a level significantly greater than that of the PC. Although mobile devices have limited computation storage, these cloud services -- and the fact that everything that can be done on a computer can be done on a mobile device -- make up for any shortcomings. Advances in wireless communications -- such as higher throughput, improved battery life and reliability -- complete the circuit here.

Mobility has led the transformation of information technology from PC-centric to mobile device-centric.

To truly transform business processes using mobile devices, it's essential to integrate the operating system's (OS) native capabilities with an organization's existing services. IT departments and developers can do that by writing apps that take advantage of native OS and vendor-provided capabilities such as calendars, cameras and phone directories. Apps and the cloud services that back them up often need to know about the user's location. Retail providers, for example, can use a customer's location to give them directions and nearly instant assistance. They can also use customer movement data to optimize store layout and stocking, and even implement cashier-less checkout like the retail giant Amazon.

To keep in step with digital transformation trends using mobility, IT should start with these initiatives:

  • Develop an internal mobile app for employees to ease workflow and increase productivity.
  • For customer apps, focus on an excellent user interface to keep its usage high.
  • Use tools such as rapid mobile app development platforms to ease the burden of mobile developers.

Every industry is quickly following along with digital transformation trends. The initiative will be complete when it's simple, fluid and reliable for customers to access a service provider.

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