With Labor Day and its annual salute to American workers just behind us, it seems like a good time to look at how much has changed in the way the enterprise does business. Specifically, mobility and wireless technology are driving the business transformation. It is reflected in these four attributes of today’s modern mobile workforce: [more
1) The mobile workforce is tethered to technology. Says the recent Mobile Workforce Report, technology-free time is almost non-existent. "The majority of mobile employees never disconnect from technology, even during vacation. For the 46.4 percent of mobile employees that do on occasion disconnect, their reasons were mostly situational (such as being in a location with poor connectivity)".
2) Seventy-two percent of the U.S. workforce is now mobile, says the IDC 2009-2013 forecast. This reflects how important mobility is in an enterprise IT strategy. The far-reaching implications include device management and support (corporate/personal liable), secure remote access, dedicated 24-hour help desk support for the mobile user, etc.
3) Mobility is the catalyst for business processes to be sped up or even re-engineered across all business segments. Take banking, for example. Customers can now take a picture with their mobile phone of a check to be deposited, and send the photo directly to their bank. The deposit is recognized earlier, speeding the check clearing process. In transportation and manufacturing, mobile devices automate data collection and provide an audit trail through location and identification functionality. This is best reflected through M2M technology (machine-to-machine cellular connectivity). For example, bar codes and RFID tags can be used to quickly establish the context for mobile workers when they approach a specific piece of equipment or remote site, facilitating work-flow. Such information improves audit trails and ensures that verification tasks are done while at the asset or process area. Physical security even leverages mobile technology. For instance, who checks on after-hours, on-premises security guards? Now these individuals carry M2M mobile devices and use them to check in at various stations. The premises-based device recognizes the security guard, then in turn sends a signal to a remote location. Many such new processes are only possible with mobile solutions, speeding up and even creating new ways of doing business.
4) Mobile workers carry multiple mobile devices. Not just smartphones like the BlackBerry, Google Android, the iPhone, and the newest HTC EVO 4G, but also the iPad, netbooks, and other thin clients. In the Mobile Workforce Report, nearly 97 percent of mobile employees carry two or more mobile devices, and almost 50 percent carry three or more. More than 90 percent of these same employees use their mobile devices for both professional and personal business. This trend is forcing enterprise IT organizations to support a spectrum of mobile devices beyond those that are corporate liable. This is especially important as mobile phones for business are mostly about data, not voice. Today’s mobile devices access, share, and create data that is often mission-critical for employees and the enterprise.