[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of JoAnn McKimpson from the SBS Marketing Team]
As a business owner, you are no doubt always looking for ways to give yourself a competitive advantage and make your business more efficient and customer responsive. As organizations of all sizes spend increasing amounts of time out of the office with customers, it’s a competitive advantage to have mobile access to information that you would typically need to be in the office to have—email, calendar, contacts, sales databases, intranet, and more. Mobile technology is now an affordable way to achieve competitive advantage by being more responsive when you are on the road.
Do any of these issues sound familiar?
- Have you found yourself without access to key information—even something as fundamental as a current version of your calendar—when you are in front of customers or suppliers?
- Does your business suffer from paper-based processes that slow down information processing and introduce errors that ultimately lead to dissatisfied customers?
- Would you benefit from having your customer database with you when you’re on the road so you can check opportunities and sales data before a meeting without having to call back to the office?
- Would it make sense to have your entire contact database from Microsoft Outlook with you at all times?
- Would you like the benefits of more access to information anywhere without the drawbacks of managing multiple data stores and systems?
- Do you want to minimize the impact of new systems and technology to keep your staff out in front of customers instead of learning new systems and processes?
Fortunately, you can solve these issues quickly and easily with technology you are familiar with, at minimal cost, with almost no training needs and very little additional support overhead.
With Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS) 2008 and Windows Mobile, you can extend more of your business out to these powerful mobile devices. With additional off-the-shelf solutions, you can provide your sales database (CRM) out to mobile devices. You can also provide satellite navigation that not only allows you to find customer addresses more efficiently but also allows you to track sales staff and communicate with them when they are mobile. You can add simple applications such as live traffic information that may seem trivial but can save time and get you to the customer site on time. This is all in addition to being able to view Microsoft Office documents on the road, communicate by using instant messaging, and access the web.
Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile let you spend less time in the office gathering information. You’ll have more up to date information in front of a customer and look like a much larger company. You also promote the image of an innovative, forward-looking company that uses technology for the benefits of itself and its customers. Best of all, you just need a server running Windows SBS 2008 (which comes with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007), a Windows Mobile device (which comes with Pocket Outlook), and a mobile data connection from your existing mobile phone provider. Windows Mobile devices come with Internet access and can be easily enabled to connect to Windows SBS 2008, making you mobile instantly.
How Do Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile Work?
To show you just how powerful Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile are together, let’s follow Kim Akers, a marketing manager at Contoso, Ltd., on a typical workday.
This is Kim’s Windows Mobile smartphone. It looks and operates like a normal phone, but it has additional functionality that lets her be more productive immediately.
The home screen shows Kim something similar to the Outlook Today screen—details of Kim’s next business meeting and her email inbox—directly synchronized with the office.
Kim’s coworker calls her to ask whether she’s available to take some clients out to dinner tonight. Kim quickly glances at her Windows Mobile phone and sees that she already has plans.
Kim decides to find someone else who can go to the client dinner. All of her contacts from Outlook are synchronized between Windows SBS 2008 and her Windows Mobile phone—with all the important details such as addresses, phone numbers, and even clients’ birthdays.
Kim quickly finds the contact information for Dave Barnett, whom she works with in the marketing group. She can call, text, or even email him from this screen.
Kim can view her entire inbox or calendar—including meeting requests and attachments—directly from her Windows Mobile phone. Kim looks up some information about the meeting location to forward to Dave.
Data is constantly synchronized between the server that is running Windows SBS 2008 and the Windows Mobile phone, so Kim and Dave are always up to date. When Dave uses his Windows Mobile phone to add the client dinner to his calendar, the staff in the Contoso office can immediately see this. Dave’s data is all stored in one place—and it is backed up and available.
As you can see, Windows SBS 2008 and a Windows Mobile phone are quite a productivity-enhancing duo. For more about the great features you get with Windows SBS 2008 and a Windows Mobile phone, download the Multiply Your Power with Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Mobile datasheet (http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/6/6/766E6D2F-B239-433C-B1B6-881B97732566/Datasheet_SBS.pdf)
How Compatible and Secure Is Windows Mobile?
Now that you know about the great capabilities and benefits of using Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile together, you might still have some concerns.
Perhaps you’ve recently invested in new phones for your staff, and you’re wondering, "Is my phone compatible?" Windows Mobile was designed with your needs in mind and runs on a growing variety of phones to fit your business and personal needs, including touch screen phones with slide-out keyboards, sleek full-keyboard smartphones, and rugged handhelds. However, when you purchase Windows Mobile phones, you should check with your wireless provider to make sure that your service plan meets your specific business requirements.
You might also be concerned about the loss of your data if a phone is lost or stolen. You might wonder, "Have we lost the customer information?" Not to worry: your data is backed up on your server and during transmission to your device. Should your device ever fall into other hands, you will still have access to the same data on your server that is running Windows SBS 2008.
Windows Mobile phones can be secured from third-party access if they are lost. Because all of your data is constantly synchronized with the server that is running Windows SBS 2008, all you need is a new device which can be provided preconfigured, and you can be reunited with your data quickly.
With these security features in Windows SBS 2008, you can help protect your data should your Windows Mobile phone be lost or stolen:
- Remotely enforced security policy: You can remotely manage and enforce security settings on the mobile devices over-the-air.
- Local device wipe: This feature resets the device after a specified number of incorrect logon attempts.
- Remote device wipe: This feature allows the administrator to remotely reset a Windows Mobile device.
Increase Productivity on the Road with Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile
Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile allow your staff to be more productive and not tied to the office for information. Your staff can be more responsive to customers with real-time access to information. Finally, you can do all this and control costs by standardizing on a mobile platform rather than having lots of different devices and applications chosen randomly. Perhaps most crucially, you can extend your existing investment in Windows SBS 2008 to make it mobile overnight—you don’t have to buy any additional server software.
With Windows SBS 2008 and Windows Mobile, you can:
- Increase employee productivity.
- Simple, mobile access to email, calendar, and contacts.
- Pervasive, familiar, mobile access to applications and data.
- Improve customer service and loyalty.
- Empower employees with real-time information.
- Remove "wait until I’m back in the office" issues.
- Decrease costs and increase sales.
- Maximize existing IT investments.
- Standardize on mobile devices, services, and applications.
To learn more, visit the Windows Mobile website (http://windowsmobile.com/business) and the Windows SBS 2008 website (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/essential/sbs).
To see Windows Mobile in action, watch the following videos:
- Business Insights Video: Working with documents on your Smartphone (http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/msecmobility.aspx?tab=Videos&seriesid=85&webcastid=6658)
- Small Business Video: Access Your Business From Virtually Anywhere (http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/msecmobility.aspx?tab=Videos&seriesid=85&webcastid=6646)
- Small Business Video: Stay Connected With Email On Your Phone (http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/msecmobility.aspx?tab=Videos&seriesid=85&webcastid=6645)
For a more in-depth look at Windows Mobile, view the webcast on How to Take Advantage of Windows Mobile to Enhance Productivity in Your Organization (http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032393171&Culture=en-US).
with warm regards
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional
IAMCP India West Founder President (www.iamcp.org)