03 Sep 2012

Mobility: Where? Everywhere. When? Now!

The Cloud might be making businesses more efficient, but as far as the workforce is concerned, mobility is the only game in town. Enlightened by consumer advances, staff understand that they can now be more effective, in more places, more of the time. Demand for mobility is subsequently intense, and the pressure is on IT departments to deliver. “What’s changed is the ability to mobilise business-critical applications,” says Rob Pagura, Mid-Market Executive with IBM. Pagura points out however, that mobility is not something completely new. Even in the mid-to-late decades of the 20th century, businesses could turn to radio or paging-based services as well as systems for harnessing the barcode (an IBM invention). Nevertheless, today’s acceleration in workforce mobility is unprecedented – so much so that David Heyworth, Director of Solutions and Alliances for Lenovo, argues that staff now simply expect it. “In the dark ages, there was a disconnect even between the mobility offered to students in tertiary institutions and that which is found in business. That’s changed for a number of reasons, one of which is that staff, especially younger employees, are now all too aware of the possibilities. For them it’s second nature. 67,000 Year Nine students in New South Wales are carrying Lenovo notebooks between classrooms, for example.” Christopher Osborne, from HP’s Personal Systems Group, agrees that demand for mobility will only intensify, and that businesses that aren’t embracing it are fast being left behind. “The enormous popularity of Ultrabooks, in particular, has caught some in the industry by surprise,” he says. “As far as workers are concerned, devices can’t be too thin or too light.” Why go mobile? “Mobility is a fundamental enabler of productivity,” Heyworth argues. “Right now, it’s about combining the Cloud with mobile devices to create new opportunities.” Pagura points to better decision making in the field and faster and more effective communication, while Osborne mentions better efficiency and customer service. All agree that the value of being able to access the same applications and data whether at the office, a client’s business or the Qantas Club, shouldn’t be underestimated. The ideal mobile solution delivers fast access to systems, data, communications and information on any device, regardless of location. One reason why the workforce is craving mobile solutions is the positive effect they can have on work-life balance. “When people can work on the train or in an airport lounge they’re able to better manage their time and take less work home,” says Osborne. “In that sense, it’s connectivity on the move that’s the great enabler – one reason that most Ultrabooks will soon feature built-in 3G.” Further benefits for staff include the chance to take more information direct to the coal face. A road services support mechanic can now attend a breakdown armed with a complete history of the vehicle, or a medical specialist can easily carry information straight to the patient’s bedside, Heyworth suggests. With social media also on the rise, mobility is now a vital driver and supporter of building stronger connections with customers who are much more active in publicly critiquing the products they buy, Pagura advises. This post is from the article “Mobility: Where? Everywhere. When? Now!” published in the first edition of The Buzz. To read more, click here: The Buzz Magazine