In recent years, ‘Convergence’ has become a popular buzzword in business. What is it and why should you care? The Aberdeen Group defines it as an “experience in which all employees are connected (social), everywhere they go (mobile), and have access to data when and where they need it (cloud).” The convergence of social, mobile, big data, and cloud, provides businesses with the power to streamline operations and maximize efficiency.
The concept of convergence is becoming more relevant now than ever before with the increase of mobile usage. With Internet usage on mobile surpassing PC last year, it has encouraged the development of social platforms on mobile platforms as well as the development of cloud technology as an infrastructure to hold and access data. Cloud technology addresses the computing and storage limitations of mobile devices. And the convergence of these four powerful technologies brings together the benefits of each technology while balancing out the weaknesses.
That’s all great, what’s in it for my busines?
The nature of field-based organizations demands an efficient system of communication. Emails and texts have limitations within the business sphere such as slow response times and the potential for miscommunication. A business with a dispersed team needs a solution that can provide more focused communication. While mobile devices on their own can send texts and photos, this system of communication still has limitations. This is where the convergence of mobile and social comes into play.
Field based organizations require a business specific social platform, where employees can message and comment on each other’s projects. Consider Facebook, for instance, where friends can comment on activity streams and even add photos in response. Dispersed teams need this type of interactive communication, to increase team cohesion and individual engagement.
Organizations also need to accommodate the amount of data that their field reps gather. Case in point, a merchandising rep gathers large quanitities of data per retail visit, like check in's, purchase orders, audits, and other client information. Before cloud storage, a mobile device alone cannot provide the capacity to perform this type of activity over a period of time. After each day, the rep would have to physically connect their device to a PC and upload their activities. And that’s where the cloud and mobile converges.
With cloud technology, employees can upload large quantities of data remotely using their phones. More importantly, the cloud allows real-time sharing, which ties in with the social aspect of convergence encouraging further collaboration between team members. Real-time data collection and analysis allows organizations to gain immediate insight into problems in the field, allowing them to respond quickly.
The combination of all four technologies will fuel the growth of field based organizations. For more information regarding convergence, refer to our Marketing Brief: End to End Field Activity Management.
Mat Brogie is part of the founding team, and CEO of Repsly, the world's leading solution for high performance retail execution teams. Mat has spent the past 15 years of his career focused on bringing technology enabled business solutions to the consumer goods industry, having implemented solutions for tens of thousands of field reps at companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Pepperidge Farm and hundreds of others.