Discovering use of Mobile Technologies
August 17, 2012
Many a times – new technologies appear to be solutions looking for a problem, recent developments in tablet technologies being no exception. The initial implementations and pilots conducted by organizations are typically:
- Clipboard replacement: Convert a paper form filled in field/on shop-floor to tablet.
- Enable access to data as required in the field for decision support ( e.g. if I discount by further 1%, how much does my sales commission change?)
- Attracting consumers already using smartphones and tablets to an organization’s B2C properties( mobile website, mobile commerce).
- Efficiency in field force and field assets ( optimizing service visits, sales, collections)
Almost all of the above are subset of systems already existing in the enterprise, of which the field access part is made more convenient from switching to a laptop or a paper based system to a mobile and tablet system.
Few organizations are moving beyond subset systems to solve adjacent problems. As an example – the geo-location capability of phones can be used to locate the nearest ATM.
One of the simplest mechanisms to identify how new technology can help you is by the matrix below which I came across about 6 years back ( unfortunately – too long a time to remember who to attribute it to).
In this matrix, we list the new technology capabilities in one axis and issues/ problem / non-optimized operation processes, disproportionate expenses and other business needs requiring improvement in the other axis. Them we try to see if any of the new technical capabilities solves the issue.
Technology Capabilities – >
|Capability 1||Capability 2||Capability 3||Capability n|
Lets see the matrix in action for mobile technologies for a coffee shop.
Technology Capabilities ->
Business Issues V
|Small Form factor and rugged design.||Communication capability – Bluetooth, Wifi, NFC||Sensors – Accelerometer, proximity, light, location, haptic feedback||Portable Accessories ( Printer, Card Reader, Biometric, etc)||Available with most consumers|
|Queue for ordering||Yes – staff can collect order in the queue on portable device.||Yes – customers can communicate their arrival time reliably – along with their pre-orders; allowing order to be ready just in time.||Yes –customers could pre-order before entering queue.|
|Payment time and dispensing change||Yes – tap phone instead of swiping card.||Yes – each staff can collect payment, no limitation of number of POS terminals||Yes – customers could have pre-loaded wallet accelerating payment|
|Loyalty card processing||Yes – Tap phone instead of stamping a card||Yes – all staff can process, no limitation on POS||Yes – customers may carry mobile loyalty card|
|Inviting trial for new products, spreading the word||Yes – video advertisement on tablet based displays||Yes – push promotions|
|Limited space for menu board limits combos||Yes – tablet based video displays and electronic menu||Yes – Menu on your own device.|
|Training new staff on recipe||Yes: Electronic recipe on work stations||Yes – staff self learns on their devices|
|Periodic tasks||Yes – check lists and reminder can be added on tablets fixed on different stations|
|Reconciling order to customers – which mug has what & whose||Yes – order ticket / number can be printed to paste||Yes – customers name goes with order which can be written/ or pasted on mug|
|Informing customers when their order is ready to pick||Yes – click on customer name to notify their order is ready||Yes – buzz customers when order is ready||Yes – customers get notification on own devices.|
|View / process order tickets||Yes – order tickets may be displayed on tablets on workstation|
|Need to wipe hand before handling compute||Yes – gesture may be used|
|Recognizing customers||Yes – view list of “checked in” customer with pictures to recognize them||Yes – declare their presence at store|
Note that some of these are already implemented by Square Inc, Starbucks, Dunking Donuts and others.
Using the above matrix along with persona mapping and value chain mapping of different industries, the identified use cases can help identify use of mobile technologies.
Image courtesy Alek0505 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos