The tipping point
Our staff and suppliers are going to be increasingly mobile and available. Logistics programs similar to Red Laser – which we discussed last year – coupled with recognition systems, virtual reality and wireless broadband are going to enable business – whether it’s a multinational trucking company or a local plumber – to have shorter supply chains and faster response times than ever before.
It means we are going to be making more use of mobile platforms like iPads and smartphones. It means we’re going into the cloud, because the costs of maintaining the back end of those services are too prohibitive for many businesses.
As we discussed a few weeks ago, there are a number of risks in the cloud that we need to understand and be aware of, but as commenters to the Smart Company column pointed out, we can’t ignore the cloud.
Our customers are using the cloud on their smartphones as well, a presentation by silicon valley stock analyst Mary Meeker late last week emphasised the process that’s underway. Mary’s colleague John Doerr called that evolution of the mobile Internet SoLoMo – Social, Local, Mobile. People are using their mobile phones to quiz social networks to find local businesses.
That is going to challenge all businesses, particularly those which have resisted going onto the web until now, because we have to make sure our presence on the web is more than just a pretty web site with a token Facebook Page and Twitter account.
Fancy a bowl of noodles, need your lawn mown or your toilet repaired? Increasingly we’re going to be using the mobile web and making note of what our friends say about those services. Even businesses like tradesmen, which have got away without going online, are going to find it increasingly necessary to sign up to services like Google Places.
The time for procrastinating about how our businesses are changing is over – the changes are happening now. Our customers are looking for us online and our competitors are reaping benefits from various mobile and cloud technologies.
You need to be across these changes, just as telephones, cars and computers revolutionised most of our industries through the 20th Century the mobile web is the first big change of the 21st. If you want your business to be part of the next decade you have to start thinking about how you can use those tools.