It’s almost 2013 and you’re getting your ugly sweater and annual planning on. As you prepare your business for the future, one plan you can’t leave out is your mobile strategy. 2012 taught us that workers, tenants and prospects all operate with the expectation that information can be accessed in real-time. The solution is a mobile strategy aimed towards increasing efficiency and communication.

But where to begin?

A plan will stay just a plan unless it creates a solution that is both easy to use and meets the requirements of your business. Start with the systems that are already in place. The mobile extension of your current system may not meet all of your needs, but it is a good baseline.

Web-enabled apps are great – when you have internet connection. Unfortunately, connectivity is a common issue in cities (the pesky Canyon Effect) and basements (the dead zone). If you need the ability to access data anywhere, a better option would be a native (non-web-based) with excellent data synchronization so that all functionality is retained even in areas without WiFi or cell connection.

So with a native app you’ll retain functionality – but what functions are important?

One feature to consider is the ability to attach or view multimedia files through the application. This means attaching photos of a work to be done or work already done to document completed work orders. Viewing work instructions attached as a video, PDF or photo helps ensure work is being done correctly.

Accessibility across platforms allows for greater communication and efficiency. The ability to track work orders from both a smart phone and your personal computer means that access to information is never limited. Replacing hardware in order to be able to effectively use software is an expensive and unnecessary cost, which makes an app that work across devices (iPhones, tablets, Androids, etc) very attractive.

Find features that align with your business and enhance workflows. For example, a strong preventive maintenance module allows workers to follow the maintenance cycles of equipment easily. Link this with the ability to access the information virtually anywhere, and the front end of the application starts to take shape.

The ability to effectively communicate with workers and tenants comes next. A strong back-end database of contact information is important. Being able to sort contact information by property, vendor or specific title are also important. Interactions with customers create a positive experience, and in the case of an emergency, mass communication aids in efficiency and risk management.

Want more tips? Listen to Mat Brogie, Founder of MobilityCIO, and Paul Wubbolts, Director of IT at CREIT, discuss determining a mobile strategy:

Creating Your Mobility Plan (10:31)

Building Engines Commercial Real Estate Property Management Software

Watch the full webinar here: Preparing For a (Not So Distant) Mobile Future