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“There is a tidal wave of mobile solutions approaching us,” says Stéphane Beauduin, Chief B2B Officer at Orange. “Companies don’t just benefit from this by having more control – they can benefit from it in all respects. Mobility is a game changer, offering an improved customer experience and helping your organisation to work better. The possibilities are endless.”
Over the past few years, Stéphane Beauduin has seen two major trends develop. On the one hand, people want to be more and more in touch with each other. On the other, there is a clear transition from the traditional desktop computer to mobile devices. “According to Gartner, this year, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, will take over from the desktop computer as the leading device for accessing the Internet,” says Stéphane Beauduin enthusiastically. The sharp rise of mobile devices is remarkable. “Already this year, the number of smartphones alone will total at least 1.82 billion.”
This evolution is remarkable, but does it also have consequences for companies? Is it not just a consumer issue?
Stéphane Beauduin : “Organisations cannot just ignore this trend. Today, new and mobile technologies are being introduced to companies more and more by their employees and not so much via the IT department. Although the latter do need to be able to keep up. Plus, it’s not just your own staff members, but also your clients who are making the leap into the mobile era. If you notice how skilled children are with the touchscreen on a tablet, you’ll realise that something fundamental has changed. It’s permanent.”
Hasn’t this trend already been happening for years? How new and radical is it?
“This evolution may not appear new to some, but it is far more drastic than ever before. Until a few years ago, we were talking about the services and possibilities of mobile Internet and tele-working, where employees are able to work from home or on their way to work, thanks to adapted technological provisions. But this trend, which we are calling Enterprise Mobility 3.0 (see frame), is far more radical. We aren’t talking so much about mobilising a number of tasks or aspects of your company, but about mobilising your entire organisation.”
Where do the opportunities for companies lie in the trend surrounding Enterprise Mobility?
“Today there is a chance to put your whole organisation and the company processes under the microscope, to mobilise it and in doing so, to re-evaluate and improve the manner in which your company functions. The current evolution towards Enterprise Mobility is a game-changer, and the possibilities are endless. Think about salespeople who can consult the product inventory via a tablet. Or project managers or technicians who can report on the progress of a project from the site itself. You can even look at airlines who avoid all those paper instructions by simply equipping their flight personnel with tablets. With all these projects, there are clear benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, it is not just about connecting people, but also connecting machines. This, too, is a part of Enterprise Mobility. You notice today that the focus for companies has shifted to be more mobile in every aspect. At Orange, we are part of this trend. A lot of other operators are still focusing on the traditional fixed-line communication.”
This evolution is happening at an incredible speed. Would it not be best to wait to see which way it goes?
“Waiting does not appear to be an option to me. Because the evolution is already here. It’s important to companies that they control it, to make it manageable. I assure you that it will turn into a gigantic nightmare if you do not stay on top of this new evolution. A lot of companies need to get back in the driver’s seat when it comes to the spread of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, and the related apps. In the past, they were able to digitalise and mobilise their existing company processes, but today, this is not yet the case. Furthermore, they need to be able to make business transformations. To look at their organisation from a different perspective, so that they can discover how working with the help of mobile solutions and services from Orange can help them to work not just differently, but better.”
Which Orange services or building blocks are you thinking about in relation to Enterprise Mobility?
“On one hand, it’s an offer based on mobile devices, our customised client support, rates plans and services, such as Invoice Split, a service with which you can keep the company costs perfectly under control. Plus, for organisations, Enterprise Mobility demands other building blocks, such as our mobile device management services, which ensure the security of mobile devices and their apps. Another component we would like to offer is the Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP). It’s an application for managing and implementing mobile applications within companies. Our whole offer already reflects our collaboration with our network of partners and every aspect is tailor-made to the needs of our clients.”
Enterprise Mobility: the third wave in mobility
The first wave hit about ten years with the rise of mobile devices in relation to data traffic, with BlackBerry the pioneer. The second wave in mobility pointed towards a shift in emphasis from specific devices to apps and app stores. “An entire new world opened up. Today, for systems like iOS and Android, as well as BlackBerry and Windows, there are several thousand mobile apps being used.”
The third wave goes further, because it impacts the entire organisation. It incorporates the connecting of machines with SIM cards, and equipping workers with mobile devices and apps so that they can work more productively and more efficiently. With Enterprise Mobility, mobile devices, machines, technology and services are the nucleus of your organisation. “In this wave, it’s about mobilising your whole organisation and (re)viewing your company processes,” says Stéphane Beauduin.