It is becoming evident that mobile technology can enhance a current e-business system to provide competitive advantage in business activities. These enhancements in mobile device applications such as in mobile hotel checkin system, m-payment system for parking tickets, and mobile donor transplant system are evolving with usage of wireless technology such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). Other examples include wearable mobile technologies used in military observation tactics and civilian clothing accessories for entertainment purposes. The lack of current mobile strategies, can cause some businesses to over spend or under utilize potential mobile applications. The use of a mobile strategic framework will help provide the insights to improving companies in their commercial operations and examples of these mobile solutions are outlined in relation to commercial applications which have been implemented in hospitals, retail Supply Chain Management (SCM), and in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). These types of systems are known to improve quality of service and provide competitive advantage. A mobile framework is presented to introduce the application of user mobility to mobile usage as an extension of existing Intranet, Extranet, and Internet e-business application. This Mobile Business Application Framework could assist practitioners in identifying the financial and competitive aspects in relation to mobile technology applications into their business infrastructure.
Mobility has become a key factor in Information Technology (IT) strategy (Savvas, 2007). The literature indicates that the use of mobile devices can assist the communication networks in business activities, such as Supply Chain Management (SCM), parcel tracking and Customer Relation Management (CRM) (UPS, 2005). Mobile Commerce (m-Commerce) operates where mobile devices facilitate business operations that enhance and improve commercial activities (Varshney and Vetter, 2002). In commercial organisations, mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) phones can help business users to organise their daily activities such as taking notes, arranging appointments, storing contacts phones numbers, receiving emails and surfing the internet, from a single mobile device (Jervanpaa, 2006). Stockbrokers can receive critical information on their PDAs such as changes in financial stocks and shares at anytime and also access financial documents and make amendments with the use of built in word processing applications.
Short Messaging Services (SMS) is another mobile solution making mobile payments or m-Payments (Serbedzija et al, 2005). In Croatia, parking in the city can be difficult as parking areas can be on either side of the road, or one large central lot located far from the drivers destination, the hassle of walking to ‘top up’ a parking meter and then walking back to the destination can be tedious. The driver receives an SMS acknowledgement text to indicate the expiration time of the parking meter and can then choose to return to the vehicle or extend the parking meter by replying to the SMS text (Serbedzija, 2005).
Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, highly regarded for the success of kidney operations in the last few years is utilising Blackberry’s mobile phone application to wirelessly connect to the hospital’s centralised database to keep track of available organ donors. The use of mobile devices allows surgeons and doctors to make on the spot decisions as they track available donors that match with the patient’s profile. An indirect application of using these mobile phones in this situation can also be used to assist emergency crews in applying first aid. In the event of an accident, by taking images of any unusual wounds and forwarding them to a specialists, a remote doctor can advise the ambulance crew to apply appropriate first aid to the victim (British Red Cross, 2004). The agility and mobility of using these mobile devices can prove advantageous to commercial operations (Harrington, 2006), especially e-commerce applications. The increased demand of mobile devices is due to the improvements of wireless technology that has allowed managers to select from a wide variety of mobile technology to apply to their business. The use of m-commerce can provide both competitive advantage and modern image to the business. However, there are risks associated with it, such as the cost of development, security issues relating to viruses and privacy policies. It is imperative that the business should analyse the type of mobile devices which can best enhance their business activity (Varshney and Vetter, 2002). The use of strategic IT frameworks could be used for assessing mobile business application to aid business practitioners in decision making.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mobile Technology: Use of mobile telephony, mobile computing, and miscellaneous portable electronic devices, systems, and networks.
Wi-Fi: Wireless Fidelity commonly used to broaden wireless interface of mobile computing devices, such as laptops in Local Area Network (LAN).
E-Business: Electronic Business is any business process that relies on an automated information system.
M-Payment: Mobile Payment is the process for payment of goods or services with a mobile device such as a mobile phone, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), or other wireless devices.
Bluetooth Technology: Short-range wireless radio technology for connecting small devices, such as wireless PDAs and laptops, to each other and connect them in a wireless network.
Strategic Framework: A framework to provide a focused solution for assisting in business decision-making.
Mobile Business Application: Commercial usage of mobile electronic transaction in business operations.