New WashingtonExec Series:
WashingtonExec reached out to executives in the community for their insights on issues concerning the mobility industry. Can mobility remain cost effective while being efficient, and how does it reduce cost for clients?
Our sixth participant is Alan Snyder, founder and CEO of BoxTone, Inc.
There are many ways that mobility can both increase efficiency while also driving down costs, but unfortunately the prevailing “wisdom” is not always accurate or complete. It is now well understood that mobility can improve employee productivity and enhance customer engagement. It is also widely believed that mobile strategies such as BYOD reduce costs. Both benefit statements can be true, but only with the proper foundation for growth and ongoing service management.
1) Desktop / Laptop Replacement
Mobile devices and supporting peripherals have almost reached the point where they can legitimately be issued instead of a laptop or desktop. Cost saving come from the lower price points and the fact that employees are willing to purchase and bring their own devices. These cost savings can be wiped out very quickly if the proper foundation for ongoing management is not put into place before the devices are widely deployed. We have seen support costs skyrocket at organizations that did not plan for what happens once the devices are connected and employees expect them to work.
2) Improved Employee Efficiency
Using mobility to streamline and improve employee and customer efficiency is the single largest opportunity for cost savings. A BoxTone customer has deployed mobile devices to their employees to handle job scheduling and routing, payment processing and inventory re-order. The mobile application has transformed their business and reduced vehicle costs significantly. The reps no longer have to go into the office each morning and evening to process paperwork since it is all done during the day via the mobile application. They are more responsive to their customers and more agile in the market, but the most impressive fact is that each rep is now averaging one additional customer call per day! There is a downside to the success of this mobile application; the business is now completely dependent on the application. If the mobile application is down or performing poorly then the entire business is down and performing poorly.
3) Proprietary Equipment / Network Replacement
More customers are taking a hard look at their network infrastructure and existing proprietary devices to find ways to leverage the new power of mobility. A good example is financial services firms that have large annual costs supporting ATM’s. What if a portion of those costs could be replaced by individually owned mobile devices and the public network? It would provide improved service to the end user while also reducing costs for the organization. The battle of dedicated, proprietary devices vs. flexible, multi-purpose mobile devices is just getting started…
Mobility is a transformational technology wave, much like the internet transformed the way that business is conducted. There are large opportunities to both reduce costs and improve service delivery, but these new opportunities will leave organizations increasingly dependent on the technology to conduct business and deliver services. Mobile initiatives require careful planning not just for the initial “secure, configure and deploy” phase, but more importantly for the ongoing support and operate phases.
Read Snyder’s interview with WashingtonExec about the 10-Year Mobility Technology Wave & Span.