Ricoh Workstyle is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh UK on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

There’s no doubt that mobile has changed both our personal and work lives. The impact that smartphones have had on businesses has reached further than anyone could have predicted. And with 4G connectivity facilitating more mobile working across Europe, this trend is set to accelerate even further. This was highlighted in the recent iOS 9 update that affected thousands of European businesses and how they could process transactions, as well as throwing the usual security issues to the fore. But, despite this, businesses are still approaching mobile as a “sales add-on” to their existing strategies rather than incorporating it into the business core.

This is the focus of a Ricoh Europe sponsored white paper entitled Making the Most of Mobile: What a ‘Mobile First’ Strategy Means for Your Business. The paper argues that businesses need to respond with a ‘mobile first’ strategy that doesn’t just aim to drive new sales. A broader customer base is the minimum they should seek – the overall aim though should be total business transformation.

Apps and responsive design are only a part of the issue

Right now, a lot of organisations are concerned with how mobile applications and sites can help them to engage with customers, getting wrapped up in the detail of whether to go for responsive design, web applications, native applications and so on. Understandably so, a recent Forbes Insights report showed that 78 per cent of enterprises with customer-facing apps have seen a year-over-year increase in the size of their mobile app audiences. With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that businesses want to get their app strategy and underlying technology choices right.

The problem with over-emphasising mobility as a marketing and sales tool is that it ignores one of mobile’s biggest strengths – the ability to radically improve the efficiency and impact of operations to boost both customer service and the bottom line. With this in mind, across Europe Ricoh has equipped its field engineers with mobile devices to support service in the field.

Mobile strategies need to be all-pervasive

Companies have made the shift from mobile as a productivity tool to mobile as a platform for customer engagement and enhancement. Business leaders need to treat their mobile strategy as they do any other vital corporate strategy – with clear business cases, roadmaps and use scenarios that take into account impact on employees, customers, prospects and operations as a whole.

In order to thrive, businesses need to create new revenue streams to offset declines in traditional markets, with services that can include mobile app development and deployment. More agile companies are also more open to newer trends like interactive print and omni-channel communications that blend print and mobile into an integrated whole – Ricoh’s Clickable PaperTM solution being a prime example of this. The savviest companies are incorporating remote employees into a giant mobile grid supported by their employees’ own mobile devices that enables better oversight of operations and higher productivity.

What you need to consider

At Ricoh Europe, we’re focused on making ‘mobile first’ the driver of a business transformation. For example, we’re currently in the process of supporting European salesforces by allowing secure access to up-to-date marketing assets from any device.

What we’ve learnt through this experience is that a truly mobile first strategy needs to be an all-encompassing vision. That means companies who want to thrive in the future need to be playing a different game. We all need to adopt new thinking that goes far beyond “we’ve always done it this way” and take into consideration what employees, customers and other stakeholders expect in this ever-evolving mobile-driven world.

Ricoh Workstyle is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh UK on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.