feature Mobile Technology: Emerging Trends in Business By Joe Booth, TIW Technology W e all have mobile phones these days and it's the rare person that's longing to go back to the days of flip phones. It's no mystery why that's the case. There are so many apps available that can make our lives easier. Mobile devices are one area of technology where, as device technology evolves, people tend to keep up and stay current - especially the younger, technologically-savvy people that are emerging in the workforce. Here are just a few of the more popular apps that are available that many people use on a daily basis: Most of these apps make our personal lives more mobile, but can't we make our business lives more mobile too? This question especially applies to those people whose jobs aren't in an office but are mobile by design. Aren't mobile devices supposed to be the business tools of the future? Of course they are. Imagine sales reps on the road sitting with their customers; they're entering sales quotes and sales orders 20 COMMERCE QUARTERLY SPRING 2018 directly into their company software via tablets. The quotes and orders are instantly and automatically emailed to the customer as soon as they're saved. Imagine plumbers on a job site, entering a service order showing all the materials used and labor spent on the job directly into their billing system using tablets; the invoice is instantly emailed to the customer. Imagine contractors on the job site entering a quote for a customer using his tablet and the quote is magically emailed to the customer seconds later. The customer can then decide on the quote right then and there and delays are eliminated. There is no longer a need to imagine any of these scenarios because software systems have started to add this mobile functionality to their offerings. It's not practical to access the desktop version of the accounting or ERP software system via a mobile device because the limited screen size makes for a difficult user experience when trying to navigate the menu systems. Therefore cost effective apps called "single purpose apps" are being developed to allow users to perform specific tasks using their mobile devices from anywhere in the world. For example, users have one app to enter a sales quote, another app for inventory availability inquiry and a third app for processing a service ticket. These are just a few examples of what is being introduced into business software and will soon be commonplace.