Business mobility is a term that is used to describe the various strategies and technologies used by companies to make it possible to conduct business without being limited to a single headquarters or location. There are a number of different kinds of business mobility, with some aimed at providing support to salespeople and others who travel on company business, and others focused on allowing companies to function on a virtual level. In both scenarios, businesses rely heavily on networking and the use of a wide range of technological devices to hold meetings, share documents and other data, and complete work tasks without the need to physically reside in the office.
To some degree, business mobility has been around since the invention of the telephone. This device made it possible for traveling salespeople to call a corporate headquarters and place orders collected in the field, or to contact a manager or supervisor to receive verbal information from a corporate base of operations. Over time, the advent of the facsimile or fax machine made it possible to send and receive documents while away from the office. In recent years, the use of laptops has made it possible to connect with corporate networks for the purpose of sending and receiving email, attending web based meetings, and even sharing or collaborating on documents.
Today, the process of business mobility often includes the use of handheld devices that provide all the benefits of a laptop without the need to carry much equipment. Thanks to high-speed wireless connections, it is not possible to conduct business transactions while traveling or visiting a remote location. This high degree in flexibility has meant that some companies no longer feel the need to incur the expense of a large corporate headquarters where hundreds of employees gather. Instead, the workforce is dispersed to a number of geographic locations, connected with the use of real time electronic communications. This flexibility has made it possible for businesses to keep operating costs low, while also having access to talented individuals who no longer have to relocate in order to become part of the company structure.
In addition to the benefits that companies enjoy due to the current trends in business mobility, customers also enjoy several advantages. Lower operational costs often translate into more competitive pricing for goods and services, which means less cost to consumers. At the same time, the remote structuring often means it is possible to connect with a company representative that is physically near by, rather than waiting days or weeks for someone to arrive in the area.
Along with these benefits, there is one major drawback to business mobility that sometimes upsets customers. This is when functions such as technical or customer support are remotely outsourced to foreign locations. The frustration of attempting to communicate with someone who is not proficient in the language used by the client is sometimes enough to damage the business relationship, and cause the customer to do business with companies that utilize domestic rather than international personnel for these two functions.