Brave New Mobile World, Part I

Jeff Dettloff, Providence’s President and Chief Problem Solver, also serves as the 2011-2012 President for the Capital Area IT Council (CAITC). Jeff recently moderated a CAITC panel discussion on mobility and the connected workforce at this fall’s Greater Lansing Business Showcase. For the next few weeks we will be sharing the knowledge we gained from attending this panel.

How does the new mobility affect your business? Are you in the fast lane? Please share your insights and experiences.

“No one knows what the future holds.” This pearl of wisdom was one of the opening comments made by Bil Moore, one of our panelists and a technology consultant with Strategic Products and Services.

Bil is dead-on. There is so much happening in the IT market, so quickly, that both consumers and businesses are scrambling to keep on top. New products and services emerge daily, and much like how the emergence of Facebook quickly unseated Myspace, the mobile world is still very much anyone’s game.

Statistics show that there are actually more mobile internet devices – smart phones and tablets – on the internet right now than there are PC’s and laptops. Compare this to ten years ago when relatively few people even used text messaging, and being online while mobile meant lugging along a laptop and seeking out a coffee shop with a WiFi hotspot.

Now anyone can be online right from their phone, and the wireless carriers are becoming increasingly aggressive with smart phone marketing. Studies have suggested that there may be more smartphones in the US than standard phones by the end of 2011!

What does this mean to you? If you think about your customers, the people to whom you want to sell your product or service, chances are they are probably looking at your information on a mobile phone now. Is your website, and overall web presence, prepared for this change?

This is a new challenge for every business, not just those that are involved in the tech world. It’s no longer good enough just to have a website. The more mobile-friendly your website, and the more visible you are in services like Google Places and similar review sites, the more likely you are to have customers showing up at your door.

The only way to stay competitive is to get in the game and see where it leads. If you don’t keep up, if you don’t get in the game, your business is going to be taken by somebody else who does.

As Bil says, “the faster we get there, the more competitive we will be.” It’s time to step on the gas.

Jeff Dettloff is President and Chief Problem Solver at Providence, a Lansing IT Consulting firm.

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