The rise and rise of mobile connectivity has been well documented. According to the 2015 GSMA Mobile Economy Report, the mobile ecosystem generated almost four per cent of UK GDP in 2014; a contribution that amounts to over $3 trillion of economic value across 236 countries. By 2020, mobile broadband connections will account for almost 70 per cent of the global base.
Not only are more people using mobile devices, but they are also spending more time online; browsing the internet, making purchases and networking via social media. At the other, less consumer-driven end of the spectrum, manufacturers and service providers are finding it easier to manage sales and operations from handheld devices.
There is also a compelling argument for achieving a return on your investments. In the 2015 CEO survey run by PwC, the majority of CEOs thought that digital technologies had created high value for their organisations in areas such as data and data analytics, customer experience, trust and innovation capacity. The CEOs also pointed to operational efficiency as a key area where they have seen the best return, with 82 per cent believing value had been created.
Applications for the housing sector
Given the proven benefits of mobile technology, it’s reasonable to suggest that the social housing sector could learn a lesson in embracing change.
Did you anticipate pay to stay, right to rent, universal credit or voluntary right to buy when you bought your software? Does your existing system help you respond to these new challenges, or are you in a cycle of switching providers; a time consuming and expensive process? I imagine most will agree that any fixed IT infrastructure installed in the past four years is now partly or wholly redundant.
Making a case for mobile
There is nothing more frustrating for a business, its employees, customers and, of course, the in-house IT team than delay upon delay when installing a system that’s designed to cure all known evils. What they want is an agile project management approach that can see systems and mobile technology operating within four weeks. However, major IT systems take a considerable time to develop, which means future-proofing software that accounts for today and tomorrow’s problems is a tough task.
To combat this, the DIY mobile market has become a regular feature in most major businesses across various sectors. It allows customers to have a say in the design phase of applications to ensure they cater for what they want today and tomorrow. This approach to skills and knowledge transfer means that clients don’t need to worry about getting it exactly right from day one; systems can develop as they learn more about the environment they are operating in.
Adapting to change
Change should not be approached with scepticism; as Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. Being open to change and finding opportunity in new technologies, such as the global mobile migration, will set you apart from those that still pine for paper and pen.
Peter Fitzhenry is CEO of Housing Support Pro.