Talk about disruption!  An anti-Uber taxi protest in London, June 11, 2014.  Photo by David Holt, CC license.

Does anyone think Uber would exist without mobile computing?

You might think of mobile as providing convenience, which it does, but there are deeper and more significant advantages of having mobile as an asset in parts of your business.

The most lucrative uses of mobile are in the selling channels.

Mobile versions of online ordering sites.  This capability increases the surface area of your selling space; the consumer is exposed a higher percentage of time to your products and services and the opportunity to buy them.

Being able to find your web site on a smartphone is not the same thing; at the very least your site has to be “responsive,” so that the online version scales down in proportion to a mobile device.  Otherwise your site looks terrible on a smartphone and is nearly impossible to use.  For more effective results, have a mobile app built and connected to your back office systems.  Vendors in this area range from thousands of independent programmers to companies who build mobile apps and network them to your systems, such as Mashery, Sourcebits, and DMI, and full-service B2C providers such as CapGemini, Infor, Accenture, and Deloitte.

Close-the-sale documents in mobile form.  When buyers decide to buy can be uncertain; a sales call can be a propitious moment.  Waiting for the necessary forms and signatures risks losing the sale in the interim.  Document-signing has moved to electronic form (DocuSign, eSignLive, and, opening opportunities to conclude in mobile form all kinds of commercial transactions.

Sales rep access to company sales order and other systems, for order placement, product demonstration, or sharing of data and insights.  In-store stock replenishment has been done for many years by companies that distribute directly to retail stores via route drivers. But these systems were/are usually expensive and custom-built, with very narrow single-purpose capabilities.  The smartphone and its digital network changed all of that.  Don’t under-estimate the value of sales people with tablets who can share upcoming marketing plans and data confirming promotional lifts in sales from prior events.  For more on this, peruse this link, which discusses a wide range of mobile applications for use in sales.

Point-of-delivery generation of invoice, credit, and debit transactions.  In many businesses, point-of-delivery processes are extremely inefficient.  Delivery discrepancies are hand-written on paper copies of receiving documents, which are then sent to offices where the data is entered into a system.  The delivery data flows back to the shipper, and is investigated by back office people.  Inventory and customer accounts are adjusted for the discrepancies.  The customer’s payment — which differs from the invoice — is received, and short-pay amounts are assigned to special accounts.  Good automated point-of-delivery solutions can usually be found from transportation or logistics management software providers, such as JDA, LeanLogistics, Logility, Infor, or TecSys.

For more on mobile app usage, check these out:

The Mobile App Development Playbook for 2015, Forrester Research

7 Ways Mobile Apps Are Driving Revenue for Businesses

How Businesses Are Using Mobile Apps – 2015 Canvas Survey Results