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In today’s unpredictable market, major industries are undergoing rapid change, with technology the catalyst. IT is playing an important role in disrupting established industries, changing how customers behave and forcing businesses to take a new approach.

Change should not be viewed as a threat, however – as long as you know how to capitalize on it. New tools and technologies can contribute greatly to helping your employees work faster, more productively and more efficiently.

In today’s post, you’ll learn about how industry leaders are taking control of the reins and benefiting from two major disruptive technologies: mobile and the Cloud. We’ve selected four industries that are making major strides when it comes to adopting new technology and we’ll explore how much of an impact this is making.

How do the Cloud and Mobile create opportunities?

For many years, access to enterprise IT was largely limited to office workers who connected to company information via desktop PCs. While other industries did of course use technology, this was largely restricted to specialized tasks.

However, mobile device ownership has exploded in the last 20 years and is set to continue growing. It is expected that by the year 2020, 70% of the global population will own at least one smartphone. With almost 3 of every 4 of us owning a smartphone, it’s becoming apparent that workers don’t actually need to be at their desk to be productive. Mobile means that your workers can access the company Intranet from wherever they are, collaborate on documents and comment on reports. They can do this by connecting to the Intranet via the Cloud.

For a long time, many industries simply couldn’t take advantage of traditional IT. If workers were off site much of the time, they would have to rely on outdated paper resources. Mobile radically alters this model however, and introduces exciting new opportunities.

1. Construction

A recent survey with construction industry leaders showed how early adopters were benefiting from mobile technology. Respondents highlighted improvements in:

  • Customer service.
  • Bringing more work to the company.
  • Being able to conduct business during inclement weather.
  • Ability to conduct remote meetings.

Let’s picture how construction companies can benefit from mobile:

Paul is head of project management at a construction firm. He visits the company’s various building sites to monitor progress. When on site, he is able to use his mobile phone to take pictures of the buildings and store these directly into his company’s SharePoint environment via the Cloud. He can also use the company’s mobile project management app to discuss progress with foremen and construction workers, while on site. This saves the company time and avoids miscommunication.

See our own story on how we’ve helped the construction industry break down productivity barriers with

2. Logistics and transport

Less than 27% of logistics and transport companies actually take advantage of mobile at present. This represents a huge opportunity for those that do, differentiating them in the minds of the customer.

Let’s picture how logistics and transport companies can benefit from mobile:

Stan is a driver at a delivery firm. He uses an app on his smartphone to track his list of deliveries through the company’s SharePoint. The app is able to communicate with a system at the head office to show where Stan currently is on his route, and he can use it to inform customers of delays. The app lets him send an instant message to targets on his delivery route to provide them with updated estimates of when he will arrive. As simple as the app is, it makes a huge difference to customers and they truly value being kept up to date.

3. Emergency response

In an emergency, information can be the decisive element between life and death. Emergency teams with offline access to critical documents can quickly find vital information about procedures which can save lives.

Let’s picture how emergency response units can benefit from mobile:

Suzanne is a paramedic. She has been called to a remote location where a patient has become unconscious as a result of a rare condition. While Suzanne is trained in dealing with common illnesses, she would normally bring a patient suffering from an unknown illness directly to the hospital. The team is  too far from the closest hospital, but fortunately her employers provide online access to documentation on the company’s SharePoint app. She can rapidly find this from a keyword search and source the best treatment. Providing better care for the patient.  

4. Energy and Utilities

In the energy industry, margins are incredibly tight. However, using mobile technology, firms can boost productivity and efficiency.

Let’s picture how energy and utility companies can benefit from mobile:

Hank is an engineer at an oil company. He regularly visits sites around the globe to oversee construction and ensure rigorous safety standards are adhered to. By connecting to SharePoint from remote locations – and even out at sea – he is able to file reports, update documentation and share photos and videos with colleagues in real time.

With the emergence of cloud technology and the explosion in mobile, industries that never previously benefited from IT are now finding innovative solutions to the challenges they face. Learn more about how Mobile and our other products are helping your industry on our Case Studies page.

David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer