Digital Transformation in the Workplace

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Digital Transformation Enabling Mobile Work

Many UK companies successfully embrace digital transformation, boosting workers' productivity via mobile technology. Still, there remain problems with adapting enterprise apps to mobile devices and minimizing distractions mobile devices induce. Below you will find a deeper dive into our findings.

Workplace mobile usage

A 2017 Deloitte survey indicates that just over half of employees use their smartphones for at least one activity related to work. Among these activities are: email (44%), WhatsApp (43%), voice calls (34%), calendar (23%), an also instant messaging, mobile browsers, navigation, and photos. The survey also found that some smartphone features that are able to improve workflow are underutilized by employees: accessing intranet (6%), submitting a timesheet (5%), and submitting expenses (4%). The UK workers underutilizing smartphones at work is explained as due to the workplace being under-equipped with appropriate mobile-optimized software. Companies' IT departments have been PC focused for decades and they will need some time to become smartphone-oriented as almost every worker is likely to have one with them while working.

Nevertheless, there are examples of a successful digital transformation among UK companies and even one industry-wide example, which is the UK rail sector. A single smartphone app has been developed to accommodate document-based processes, to automate job assignments, sign offs, incident reports, catering for workflow validation and other areas of focus across the whole railway industry.

United Utilities, a UK water company, is adopting VMware's AirWatch mobile device management platform to support their field workers. Though they started only with 1,000 handsets as a trial, their goal is to provide their workers with faster access to relevant information, increasing mobility and geographic diversity while improving safety for their staff while on the move.

Vodafone being a recognized leader in the digital workplace widely utilizes mobile devices to increase worker productivity. According to their blueprint, they have secured over 55,000 mobile devices, allowing employees to work from anywhere. They have made 25 of their core enterprise apps accessible via mobile devices, boosting productivity. For their 23,000 employees they developed a single platform for mobile communication. And by pooling 23 local helpdesks into three regional hubs Vodafone gained a 10-15% efficiency saving.

Mobile working

More and more companies embrace mobile working practices recognizing they can support more productive, enthusiastic businesses. According to Vodafone UK research, almost one in five UK employers seeing their staff are often out of the office introduce a hot-desking policy. The ability to work remotely using mobile technology is a robust motivator for employees. As a 2016 PwC research has shown, staff are 48% more likely to give their job satisfaction a maximum score when they can work from home.

But mobile working means a lot more than that. Mobile technologies now connect employees and increase their productivity on levels hardly imaginable 10 years ago. For instance, a smartphone used as a Wi-Fi hotspot can transform an ordinary hotel room to a well functioning office. A tablet can be turned into a 3D schematic via augmented reality, connecting architects and construction teams located on the other side of the world.

However, there is no sign of adoption of specific mobile technologies like VR (virtual reality) headsets in the UK workplace for now. This can be explained by the fact that the overall VR adoption, though recently increasing from 3% to 6%, remains low in the UK, as remains the usage rate, indicating only 9% of VR headset owners use them daily.

Adverse effects of mobile devices on productivity

Bank of England released a paper blaming smartphones in the UK productivity crisis and noticing that persistently weak productivity growth has coincided with a huge rise in smartphone shipments. The main factor hindering productivity growth is the time spent on distractions such as social media instead of working, which being constant and accumulating leads to reduced productivity. The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation study found that usually workers spend one hour of their workday on social media, while among millennials this figure is up to 1.8 hours. The ultimate working hours wasted are even greater since it takes around 25 minutes to recover from distractions.


In the UK, there are companies like United Utilities and Vodafone and industries like the rail industry that widely adopt mobile devices (especially smartphone apps) to connect employees to one another and to relevant, timely information. However, the overall poor adaptation of companies' PC applications to mobile devices is limiting their usefulness for increasing worker productivity in the UK.
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Mobile-First Digital Transformation Stories

We have located examples of companies who are successfully telling the mobile-first digital transformation story in terms of those who are leading in this transformation. These companies are Wish, Twitter, Spotify, and Google. The key challenges facing organizations with regard to their mobile strategies are a lack of a mobile strategy leader within the company, a misunderstanding of modern app development methods and processes, the inability to attract top talent, non-mobile-friendly data storage infrastructure, and an overwhelming number of options.

Below, you will find a deep dive of our findings.


In order to answer your question, we first began by researching the companies that are leading the mobile-first transformation. In doing so, we were able to locate a list of companies determined to be the largest mobile-first companies in the world which aided in this process.

From there, we choose to focus on companies that we could inarguably assume to be the most relevant within the global sphere, with an understanding that these examples would then also be directly relevant to the U.K.

Next, we conducted research into each of these companies to determine how their mobile-first transformation as been portrayed within the public realms, and also what types of pro-mobile for business messages they have promoted. We also looked at the mobile strategies they were implementing and promoting to gain an understanding of these concepts. Research was then conducted to determine how millennials and gen Z are influencing these companies' decisions to push towards mobile-first. Lastly, we identified the key challenges facing organizations with their mobile strategy.

Below, you will find a deep dive of our findings. Please note that a number of the sources here are considered out-of-date, according to Wonder's standards (sources older than two years). For the purposes of this research, these sources have been included, because our collective research findings suggest that the mobile-first transformation of these companies is something that has been developing and evolving for the past several years. Therefore, we have broadened the scope of the research to allow for the most relevant and useful insights, as opposed to the most recent.


Wish is "the largest western mobile-first shopping platform," according to Chris Limon, the former Head of Advertising at Wish. In an article published on Minds, Limon explains how Wish's distribution-first mobile strategy is the key to this success.

Limon explains that, although Wish does not get much press coverage, has no celebrity endorsements, and never runs commercials, they have been able to climb to such heights with mobile because they have "nailed distribution."
The reason why distribution is important to successful mobile strategy, according to Limon, is because "in traditional retail or brand marketing, a predetermined brand strategy informs and guides distribution. But in mobile, brand sits in a different level in marketing’s sequential value-chain where distribution is the fundamental, first-order problem. This isn’t to say brand is not important, but brand strategy is dependent on solving distribution first."


Twitter is one of the largest mobile-first companies in the world. According to the VP of Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets for Twitter, Shailesh Rao, over 80% of Twitter's revenue comes from mobile ads. Rao even commented, "Inside Twitter, we talk and think mobile first."

Twitter has invested a lot of money into building out their internal mobile infrastructure, which we assume has been a key element in their mobile strategy. Back in 2013, around the time Twitter first declared itself a mobile-first company, they spent more than $1 billion purchasing a total of 12 companies who were operating in the realm of mobile analytics. These purchases included "advertising play Trendrr, mobile advertising stalwart MoPub, mobile ad player Namo Media, [and] TapCommerce, a mobile retargeting ad heavyweight." Twitter also released a "suite of developer tools" for mobile app developers.

The reason why Twitter hopped on the mobile-first bandwagon so early and so aggressively is evident in a study the company conducted which shows that the millennial-aged generation of Twitter use mobile at a significantly high rate. The following insights from the study were published by TechCrunch:

"Users in the 18-34 range are 52 percent more likely to log in primarily via a mobile device than other age groups. They’re also more likely to check in with the service as a means of book-ending their day, being 157 percent more likely than average to open Twitter when waking up, and 129 percent more likely to do so when going to sleep for the night. They’re also 160 percent more likely to use Twitter at school or at work, 169 percent more likely to use the service while shopping, and three times as likely to use it when commuting or before or after seeing a movie."


Spotify has ranked on the list of the top mobile-first companies. In 2015, TechCrunch reported that Spotify became a mobile-first company when it was announced that 52% of user listening was taking place on mobile devices. '

In a blog posted on Urban Airship, digital marketer and avid Spotify listener, Amir Zamanian outlines the strategies that are enabling Spotify's high rate of mobile engagement. First, Spotify is delivering content to listeners that is both high-value and personalized, attributes which Zamanian says drive repeat engagement, even to the point of habit. Of key importance is the emphasis that Spotify puts on hyper-personalization, which aims to make the content as entirely relevant to the listener as possible. In doing so, Spotify works to understand the mobile "usage patterns and listening habits" of their audience. Lastly, Spotify utilizes what Zamanian calls a "smart messaging strategy," which they are implementing across various different channels.

Sunita Kaur, the Managing Director of Spotify Asia, says that launching a free tier version of Spotify mobile has resulted in significant growth since it's implementation, and has also helped them to rein in issues surrounding piracy. Kaur explains how being mobile-first increases accessibility to their product, and that offering a free-tier increased mobile traffic by "almost five times compared to the previous year." This free tier approach not only brings users to the platform, but also serves as "funnel for conversion into paid subscribers," Kaur noted.


Google is another mobile-first frontrunner. As recently as March 2018, Google announced that they were launching mobile-first indexing, a development which they say took them one and a half years to perfect. In a statement, Google said:
"Our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page's content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our primarily mobile users find what they're looking for."

The reasoning behind the change is that mobile-first indexing will result in better performing mobile search results, according to TechCrunch.

Another key reason appears to be that Google wants to continue capturing the younger user base. Google recently published a study on the mobile habits of Generation Z, specifically those who are currently teenagers. In the study, Google notes "while millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives." Google reports that across all devices, 78% of teens are using smartphones.


Salesforce is the number one business app in the world, and have an extensive range of mobilized products, including a mobile version of Salesforce CRM. Robert Duffner is mobile strategist at Salesforce, and has traveled throughout the United States speaking with thousands of Salesforce customers about their mobile strategies. In a blog post, Duffner outlines the biggest challenges that companies are facing in regard to their mobile strategy development.

1) Organizations cannot access their data via mobile (i.e. when they need it most), because they are storing their data on-premises rather than in the cloud.

2) Companies do not have anyone specifically in charge of their mobile strategy, which prevents the strategy from moving forward and prevents the company from staying fully up-to-date with company-wide mobile efforts. Duffner says that upon asking "a group of 40 IT executives if they had one person or organization in charge of mobile strategy, and only two of them raised their hands." He added that this was in a major hub--Chicago. According to him, the importance of having someone in charge of mobile enables the company to drive the mobile-first mentality across the company.

3) Another key challenge facing companies in the development of their mobile strategy is that there are simply too many options available. From mobile development tools, to languages, to platforms--Duffner likens the mobile landscape to the "Wild West."

4) Competition for talent is a huge issue facing companies looking to implement a solid mobile strategy. Duffner says that top mobile developers are not only expensive, but they are hard to attract, especially for "traditional enterprises and small business."

5) Lastly, Duffner says that one important challenge for companies is that many are using out-of-date approaches when it comes to app development, and that they need to update their methodologies. An out-dated approach, according to Duffner, is one wherein "the business provides developers with app requirements and then the developers return in 12-18 months with a completed app." He says that this model will prevent a company from being able to successfully compete within the current mobile climate, because "their costs of development will be too high," and that "their apps will more often than not miss their intended mark."


In closing, we have provided examples of companies who are successfully telling the mobile-first digital transformation story, specifically those who are leading the transformation. We have identified key challenges facing organizations with their mobile strategy, and outlined the pro-mobile messages being portrayed by mobile-first frontrunners.
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Samsung Digital Transformation

Our research has indicated that Samsung's solutions and products are fitting into the digital transformation of other companies in the form of increased productivity, increased communication, and increased technological security within fields such as business, healthcare, and transportation. These companies are signaling their strong satisfaction with these technological transformations and their effects on their efficiency.

All around the world and especially in the UK, businesses are working to increase their productivity in order to keep up with the ever-changing pace of the global market. In addition, it is absolutely crucial that security measures are increased in proportion to technological advances that are utilized by these companies. Innovations like the Samsung Knox and the Samsung Business Reporting Solution provide a solution to businesses that are looking to increase their communication and productivity while at the same time increasing their security. Businesses are responding positively to these innovations provided by Samsung. Samsung Knox appears to be the most popular choice amongst businesses in their bid th strengthen their hold on digital transformation.

Within the field of healthcare, Samsung technology is having the same effects as it is within the business world. The increased communication capabilities provided by Samsung devices in the UK allow doctors and medical practitioners to collaborate and make more efficient real-time observations of patients which allow medical trends and patterns to be detected much faster. Healthcare providers are responding positively to the increased use of Samsung technology within hospitals and health clinics.

A case study was performed for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and is a great example of Samsung's effect on hospitals' transition to digital information. According to Dr. Gary Davis, the Clinical Director for Acute services of Chelsea and Westminster, "Bedside observation machines stops transcription errors which in rough calculations on this hospital alone will save 50 to 60 lives every year. This is an example of how Samsung is allowing healthcare providers to collaborate and respond more efficiently.

In the field of transportation, Samsung solutions are once again increasing productivity and cutting costs. Not only are these solutions having a positive effect on transportation businesses, but they're also improving the customer's experience through the increased connectivity allowed by transportation companies' adoption of Samsung's technological products.

SBB, a national railway and service company based in Switzerland indicated in a case study that they saved cost and time by 50% in staging (pre-configuring) and maintaining corporate-liable devices by leveraging frictionless out-of-the-box device setup and dynamic configuration update of Samsung Knox Configure.

In summary, Samsung products and solutions are having a large impact on the digital transformation that other companies are experiencing. In each of the specific case studies that we analyzed, these companies are endorsing the widely positive effects that the solutions are having on their productivity, communication, and security.