Mobile devices are changing not only consumer habits but also the way companies work, by obscuring former boundaries between different specialist jobs and departments. It's now up to the individual to adapt and bridge the gap that has opened up between new technologies and traditional work practices.
L'Atelier: In your presentation to the forum you talked about a “mobility revolution”. What do you mean by that?
Vincent Rouaix: I’m talking about mobility in the wider sense - i.e. mobile tools, but also the Cloud, SaaS and so on. In my view we’re currently living through a real revolution due to the convergence of three areas of technology. Firstly, we have powerful networks; secondly, servers that work well and cost less than before; and thirdly, applications with additional functionality which can handle business transactions. The combination of these three elements is bringing about a revolution in our ways of doing things – the possibilities are virtually infinite. From the company’s point of view, technology, marketing and sales are in fact completely intertwined. Nowadays, the same tools can be used for sales, for CRM or in “push” mode as well. Nevertheless it has to be said that there is still a gap between the potential and the reality. Technology is still a few steps ahead of our daily habits.
So what changes will this revolution bring about within the company?
The changes will be far-reaching, especially as regards hierarchical organisation. Organisations used to be based on knowledge and its attachment to a specific job or department. But mobile tools have made information accessible to everyone, thus destroying this hierarchical model. Consequently, the role of top management needs to change, and so does the organisational structure. The company needs to move from working in silos to working through networks where all the employees are interconnected. As far as the manager is concerned, his or her role is no longer to oversee but rather to steer, to act as a catalyst for the whole process. The General Manager, who was previously the big boss, must now become more like a guide.
L'Atelier: Has the economic slowdown drawn a line under the transition to mobile?
Not necessarily. For example, some business models, such as freemium - free applications and services, etc - are not yet up and running. Similarly, the security risks arising from mobile devices have not yet been fully resolved. And this is where structural flexibility and automatic wide-scale integration of available data come into play and innovation is required. That’s the only way we can get over these problems. To conclude, I would stress the need for innovative approaches. I think that’s the only way our practices can catch up with the technology, i.e. discover the best possible uses of the new technologies.