Nokia survey yields a few insights for what it uncovers--and what it doesn't.
Nokia's survey is interesting in what it leaves out rather than what it includes. Given the responses, I'd say the survey shows that the enterprise is still looking to laptops, rather than smartphones, as the primary device for remote workers. However, while many have cited mobile e-mail as the killer application for mobile workers, I was surprised to not see it in Nokia's press release. The top two applications listed were "remote data access" and CRM software, though neither topic had a clear majority as the most popular. Nokia also cited that offering a "better work-life balance to staff" was one reason for including mobility in enterprises. While I can see that logic working for telecommuting, other surveys have cited that always on mobile e-mail solutions like Nokia's own Intellisync can lead to a interfering with the work/life balance of workers. Nokia did mention (as we have) that enterprises face challenges in mobilizing employees though the reasons were more managerial than technical. "Managing a mobile workforce," along with maintaining a cohesive corporate culture and demonstrating mobility's impact on corporate competitiveness, were all hurdles cited by those surveyed.
The bottom line, while mobility is slowly gaining traction within the enterprise, it's still not wide spread (only 20 percent of workers considered themselves mobile). It's definitely time to be figuring out the mobile strategy for your workforce. For instance, in addition to figuring out how to manage your workforce,
figuring out how to manage their IT assets is also important.
Sean Ginevan contributing editor
Nearly 20 percent of employees consider themselves "mobile workers," a not overwhelming number but a trend that still challenges IT to establish policies and technologies for effectively managing mobile devices and services.
The survey, conducted by wireless provider Nokia and the Economist Intelligence Unit, polled more than 500 global executives in a variety of industries. Those executives were asked about their business and staffs. They cited top mobile challenges as managing a mobile workforce (19 percent) and maintaining cohesion across a mobile workforce (18 percent). Measuring the business impact of mobility also was cited (12 percent).
Advantages included quicker response to customers (36 percent), improved collaboration within enterprises (34 percent) and the ability to work more closely with partners (12 percent).