The Top 5 Reasons You Need Business Mobility Interacting with your customers, no matter where you are, is vital to your success.

By Steve Harvey

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Mobile usage, employee mobility and remote workers are a way of life in today's workforce. If you don't believe it, here are a few supporting facts:

  • From 2010 to 2015, internet usage on desktop and laptop devices stayed fairly flat while mobile usage increased by 600 percent.
  • Smartphone ownership has grown from about 30 percent in 2011 to nearly 80 percent in 2016.
  • The majority of millennial smartphone users, 87 percent, say their phone never leaves their side, day or night.
  • Thirty-seven percent of workers telecommute regularly.
  • More than half, we're talking 68 percent, of business emails are now opened on smartphones.

Related: Digital Transformation to Weave Engaging Customer Experience

These stats lead to the top five reasons you need business mobility today.

1. Accessibility.

As a sales executive, I am a case study for the mobile professional. I live in Greater Cincinnati and work out of a remote office for a company headquartered in Huntsville, Ala. I travel all the time for business. When a customer or coworker is trying to reach me, I could be sitting in my Huntsville office, working from my home office in Cincinnati, driving a rental car on the way to an appointment, working from a hotel room or sitting in a Starbucks between sales calls.

Gone are the days where you had to inform people where you would be and expect them to dial the right phone number. Unified communications (UC) technology allows us to effectively put our desk phone in our pocket by running it as an application on Android and IOS devices. The full power of your business phone system is now readily available to the mobile user.

2. Full-featured business experience.

Prior to full-featured fixed mobile convergence -- the ability to seamlessly converge several devices together -- many workers would simply forward their business phone number to their mobile phone. The call was delivered to your mobile device but in a manner that stripped it of the powerful call handling features associated with modern UC systems. Using UC mobility applications now allow the user to have powerful business features like status indication, presence information, directory lookup, call monitoring, call logging and more, all available on a mobile phone.

Related: The Future of Work: Risk and Reward In The Mobile Workplace

3. Accountability.

One of the big problems that existed when people began using personal mobile devices for business was the lack of accountability. As the executive in charge of sales for my company, we track call volume, call length, wrap-up time and other call center type statistics closely. When businesses allow some calls to go "off system" to a mobile device, tracking and accountability goes to the wayside and it becomes very difficult to aggregate desk phone usage and mobile usage into meaningful reports for the business.

By simply running a business phone application on the mobile device and enforcing a business usage protocol, saying all business calls are made from the application as opposed to the native cellular interface, all call records are now available to the business manager for reporting and training purposes.

4. Protecting your mobile number.

On January 1, in France, a new law took effect requiring businesses with 50 employees or more to negotiate after-hours email rules. Benoit Hamon, a member of French Parliament, told the BBC in May when the measure was introduced, "employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails -- they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down."

Increasingly, the lines between work and personal life are blurring and sometimes that can also mean giving up privacy. Historically, we used a business desk phone when we were in the office and a mobile phone when out of the office. With Caller ID, once you make a call to an employee or customer, they have your personal mobile number, and you are now on the hook for direct calls. By running the softphone application on your phone, customers reach you on your mobile device using your standard business number, and when you call customers or business associates from your mobile device, they see only your business phone number, as opposed to your personal mobile phone number. You now have the ability to use your personal phone in a work application without publishing your mobile number to the world, allowing you to have a level of separation between work and personal communication, and preserve your privacy.

Related: 4 Ways Personal Technology Outperforms Enterprise Software

5. Call transition support.

Using fixed mobile convergence technology, an employee has the ability to effectively converge several devices together in a manner that becomes invisible to the customer. For example, an employee might take an unexpected, but important, business call from a customer at 4:30 p.m. in the office. That person needs to leave the office at 4:45 to pick up a child from soccer practice. In the past, the conversation went like this: "Sorry to do this to you but, I need to leave the office so, can I call you back in five minutes from the car?" This is not only disruptive to the customer, but when you call them back, they now have your mobile number (see previous point).

In a fixed mobile convergence world, you can take the call in the office, then press a button on the desk phone to seamlessly transfer the call to your mobile application. The customer never knows the transfer happened. When you arrive home after picking up your child from soccer, you press a button on the mobile app and again seamlessly transfer the call to your home line without the customer ever knowing. It's a beautiful thing.

As VP of worldwide sales and service for a telecommunications solution provider, I am an aggressive user of fixed mobile convergence technology. It has truly transformed my ability to interact seamlessly with customers and employees in a full-featured and professional manner, no matter where I am.

Steve Harvey

VP of Worldwide Sales and Service, Digium

Steve joined Digium in February 2007 and was initially responsible for driving Digium revenue through worldwide channel development, strategic OEM and Business Development.  As Digium has migrated toward a higher mix of cloud based Unified Communication services, Harvey recently took on responsibility for all customer facing activity including Global Sales, Customer Success and Technical Support. Prior to joining Digium, Harvey was vice president, Enterprise Networks and Competitive Service Provider Sales for ADTRAN, where he was responsible for designing and developing the company's overall channel strategy. Under Harvey's leadership, ADTRAN's Channel and Competitive Service Provider revenue grew to account for nearly 50% of the company's overall revenue. Harvey holds a BS in Computer Science from Indiana University.

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