The desk-bound IT staff is dead. Long live the mobile IT professional!
Today's information-technology departments go everywhere, and the main office has become merely the touchback point for teams who can now access their critical data via smartphones and tablets. And analysts are predicting that this is going to develop and expand — becoming the new normal — not contract. Devices are adapting to the wants and needs of busy techs, too. The virtual office drives hardware and app development, every day.
But how is it occurring? What are the trends and ideas that represent the right now in mobile devices—the ones that are augmenting the very concept of a traditional workplace? Let's look at a shortlist from the frontier, and break out what we mean when we say "IT on the go".
Mobile that Maximizes Service
"Clearly, this new mobile age can help revolutionize how a business is managed," Pugh said. "Enhanced with the right apps, the iPhone and iPad can transform into a multifunctional office, allowing professionals the promise to collaborate more efficiently, interact with customers better, streamline operations, manage workflow and monitor costs."
Here's how you can approach that transformation, five steps that will move you into the world of your clients and users:
Answer Calls Like a Pro
Staying connected to your central office is critical to ensuring productivity, onsite or off, but traditional phone systems are location-based and not as easily accessible as a virtual communications environment. However, you still want your point-of-contact to always feel business-class. Virtual phone solutions provide that, including professionally recorded greetings, custom menus, and all the big company features that satisfy the equation. Your smartphone or tablet is now your pro-level switchboard.
Eliminate that waste and improve collaboration by digitizing paperwork — meaning all your digital files, including documents, web clips, and images — and make it available to share across mobile devices, including your phone or tablet. Once distributed to your multiple devices, these materials can be further shared and used to collaborate on IT solutions and project-building with colleagues, business partners, and clients.
Present on the Go
If you're bringing an IT solution with you, sealing deals and making new business happen with new clients, you want maximum control over your tools. With its large, interactive screen, tablets now serve as mobile selling or presentation tools — digital projector, flyer, and interactive menu — allowing you to engage and share in real time. Stored in the cloud, your sales, marketing, and solution plans are all available to edit or share anywhere.
Sign Contracts on the Move
Virtual fax services allow you to send and receive faxes in your email, which is great for mobility. Purchase orders, time sheets, expense reports and invoices often can’t wait until you’re back at a desk. The advent of apps that incorporate digitized signatures now also allow you to sign contracts, approve invoices, or initial expenses from your tablet or smartphone. You can use the device’s camera to scan documents in the field and easily fax them to get a deal done from a server center, a client's workspace, or a conference room.
Get Paid on the Spot
IT environments often require speedy decisions and action to get a client online and back to productivity. If you’re doing onsite freelance IT consultation or need to process payment on the go, mobile payment apps let you handle credit-card transactions quickly and easily using your tablet. Merchants can swipe cards with a device that plugs into the headset jack and manage transactions in an easy-to-read interface, allowing you or your employees to take advantage of business opportunities when they arise—whether they are at the office, at a customer site or somewhere in between.