B2B organisations must go mobile to survive

A mobile-centric approach allows firms to get more out of customer data and deliver the kind of service that is now essential for businesses to thrive in today’s 24-7, connected world.

For B2B customers, mobile is fast becoming the first point of contact. Dramatic rises in connectivity and the proliferation of devices have seen greater expectations from customers around engagement. B2B customers expect immediate, real-time updates; seamless engagement across multiple channels; greater access and personalisation; and 24-7 service.

To survive and stay competitive in the digital economy, B2B organisations must act now to embrace the transformative power of mobile. The benefits to the organisation go beyond improved customer experience. Data captured from mobile can provide the organisation with previously unknown insights and patterns that can be used to inform future business strategy, processes, services and products, while the speed and agility that mobile delivers offers increased efficiency and productivity.

Qantas Freight is a great example of an organisation that has worked with IBM to transform its customer experience, creating an integrated, end-to-end, real-time system of engagement. So how did they do it?

Any screen: A fully interactive mobile site means customers can engage digitally with Qantas Freight via tablet or smartphone.

Greater visibility: Specialist mobile applications allow customers to track and receive push updates on shipments anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Faster processing: Consignees can use self-service kiosks at international freight terminals across Australia to select the shipments they would like to collect, with real-time requests delivered to warehouse and forklift drivers.

One of the key measurable outcomes is a dramatic reduction in waiting times for customers. Drivers used to wait up to an hour to confirm their import delivery, whereas now this process can completed in as little as 60 seconds, delivering transformational benefits to both the customers and the organisation.

The key to the success of this project is that both customers and employees can interact with the technology easily and communicate in real time. Customers are informed instantly of any delays in delivery and have complete transparency on their shipment’s location. Furthermore, the data captured and analysed provide Qantas Freight with greater insights to changing trends and pinpoint opportunities to further refine cargo services for customers. With this information at hand, the possibilities are endless.

The project undertaken by Qantas Freight is a strong example which helps cut through the mobility rhetoric, demonstrating how Australian organisations are transforming themselves to keep up with evolving customer expectations -- retiring B2B and B2C mindsets and adopting a human2human approach to their operations. Not only is this transformation necessary in the digital economy, it is essential for survival as businesses compete in the digital economy.

Doug Regan is partner at IBM Global Business Services Australia New Zealand.