April 18, 2006, 7:20 PM — This week's highlighted research:
Forrester Research. "IT supports more remote-access and mobile technologies."
AberdeenGroup. "The wireless costs and performance benchmark report."
Datamonitor. "Mobile email: The quest for differentiation."
Being sent off-site used to be a treat for employees. The last time I worked in an office, my co-workers and I always enjoyed the opportunity to attend an off-site event or seminar, visit a customer's office, or just run errands. It meant that for at least a brief time, we would be inaccessible. Sure, they could always try to guess precisely where we would be, and place a call to the switchboard and try to find someone to go find us, but that was usually more trouble than it was worth, so we got away with a lot. Leaving an off-site event and going back to the office usually meant a detour to a cafe or pub for an hour or so. Of course, that was before ubiquitous mobile technology.
Today, you still see office workers filling the tables of the local Starbucks, but they all have mobile phones and wireless modems hooked up to their laptops. There's no escape. And it doesn't stop at just the mobile phone. Forrester's report tells that companies today have to preserve their competitive edge with an ever-growing mix of mobile technology to let employees gain access to email, calendars, productivity applications, and corporate information, wherever they may be. And precisely because mobile connectivity transcends voice connections and now allows for the easy transmission of corporate data, there is a greater security concern. You don't, after all, want all of your corporate secrets floating freely through the airwaves around every coffee shop in the city. Forrester's report discusses the need to find a balance between reduced risk, and employee productivity optimization. To achieve this balance, Forrester recommends that companies centralize their mobile technology and services procurement, and look at outsourcing as a possibility.
AberdeenGroup calls wireless "must have" technology, but notes that companies are only just starting to understand what it will cost. The free report indicates that there are two major obstacles in keeping a lid on mobile costs; and these are employee resistance, and lack of visibility of device inventory and usage. According to the report, more than half of the companies surveyed have no program to manage their wireless spending.