Friday, January 29, 2010
Smartphones are a great way to turn your employees into a mobile workforce. With some simple tools, you can easily allow your workers to connect to customer data and other important streams of company information with their smartphones.
Suddenly, your sales man in the field has access to accurate inventory figures. You can query up-to-the-minute sales figures from the golf course. Or you can make an appointment for customer service to call a customer. All from your smartphone.
Considering how powerful these tools really are, it makes sense to harness that capability in your business. But don't go overboard -- not everyone needs a smartphone.
Focus initially on employees that need accurate and up-to-date information at their fingertips. Employees that require collaborative tools are also high on the list for smartphones. Basically, anyone that really can use it to improve their performance and effectiveness for the business.
Since many people already own smartphones, it makes sense to take advantage. If targeted employees get smartphones on their own, offer to pay part of their cellular bill. However, make sure you have a clear policy on what and how much you will pay for. Don't get caught in an open-ended spending trap.
Frankly, I believe that simple rules are always the most effective. You may want to control your spending by only paying for the data portion of their plan and then requiring that heavy users get unlimited data plans. This allows you to forecast your spending while still encouraging employees to get their own smartphones.
The other major benefit of letting employees get their own smartphones is you don't have to manage cellular phone plans. They pick the calling plan that's best for them and you reimburse them for the data portion (or however you decide to work). That also let's them pick whatever phone they want and you don't have to deal with whiners asking for phone upgrades. It works remarkably well.
What's your experience with employee phones?