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Mobile working

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Michael Frisby of Cobweb Solutions explains how mobile working makes sound commercial sense and offers many benefits to businesses and employees alike.


The world’s work patterns are changing, with more and more flexible working and an ever increasing need to spend more time with customers. This increased demand for mobile services has resulted in employees needing faster, secure, anytime and anywhere access to e-mail and other essential business services to maintain productivity.

Employers are aware of these trends and recognise the benefits of supporting programmes such as the Government’s Work-Life Balance Scheme and developing policies and procedures to enable staff to adopt flexible working patterns. As employees are better able to balance the work and personal aspects of their lives such initiatives help them stay motivated and be more productive.

Despite this awareness, executives are still talking about supporting remote and flexible working but few companies are actually doing it. This is because most are daunted at the prospect of implementing and delivering the sophisticated IT infrastructure and the associated costs required to maintain a mobile workforce. This problem can be addressed by outsourcing the complex management and infrastructure of the mobility solution.

A company that provides outsourcing, hosted or managed services is one that offers individuals or enterprises access to applications, business information and related services that would otherwise have to be located within their own IT infrastructure.

At a time when business executives are scrutinising their expenditures and analysing potential cost savings, outsourcing critical business functions can, at first glance, seem risky. However if a reputable and established provider is selected, all sorts of advantages which help to drive down costs, increase efficiency and improve business performance, can be realised.

Reduced costs
In-house mobile workforce projects typically require a large up-front investment that no company can afford to get wrong, especially when IT spending is so heavily scruitinised. Ongoing support and labour costs can be considerable too – Meta Group believes that it costs approximately 1,000 euros per year to support a wireless worker.

Take mobile e-mail as an example; the total cost of ownership can be significantly reduced by opting for a hosted service as an alternative to an in-house solution. A hosted approach eliminates the cost of purchasing the IT, networking and security infrastructure necessary to operate such solutions and the associated IT running and support costs. Outsourced services also provide predictability of cost through pay-as-you-go (per user, per month) pricing schemes. With services from as little as £4 per user per month the costs of such solutions are becoming increasingly attractive and compelling.

Back up and security
Mobile working carries risks; the key to an effective mobile strategy is how you manage those risks. An outsourced service provider is dedicated to ensuring the security and integrity of all customer data held within its solution. A common problem today is the overhead associated with the protection against virus threats and outbreaks which can result in organisations losing months worth of data. Therefore, when selecting a supplier of outsourced mobile communication services, it is imperative to check that it offers comprehensive antispam protection and antivirus scanning from multiple vendors.

Reliability
A company’s ability to communicate with its customers, partners and employees is at the heart of its ability to do business. Anyone doubting this has obviously never had the misfortune of experiencing IT system downtime. Depending upon the size and nature of the company, this downtime can be measured in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost revenue. Outsourcing e-mail services minimises this risk. Service providers offer Service Levels that guarantee the availability of business critical services, such as e-mail.

Selecting a supplier
Executives who are growing their businesses may want to enter an emerging market, incentivise staff with flexible working or simply make use of dead time whilst in transit, but many do not understand the technology available to them to allow them to more easily deliver their goals.

Much preparation is needed to find the right supplier of outsourced mobile communication services. An experienced supplier will provide the customer’s required level of service and will ensure that the solution provided reflects the business requirements.

The outsourcing of products and services crucial to a company’s business performance is not a new phenomenon. For decades, companies have outsourced key business functions, from car fleet management to telephony and catering services. The shift towards outsourcing of mobile communication services is still in its infancy.

Nevertheless in these times of constrained business spending, the outsourcing of ones mobile communications is becoming an increasingly compelling and necessary proposition. Not only does it free budgets and resources, it provides peace of mind, allowing you to focus on core business objectives and exploit revenue growth opportunities.

One Response

  1. More to it than upgrading IT services
    Most administrative and managerial staff now have access to home computing and the internet.
    To make mobile working successful requires alot more than just providing an IT service for connecting to the company intranet.
    Most of use have vast amounts of functionality within our existing software that we are not using at the moment, and so the call to upgrade all software and hardware in order to move one step forward is not always as essential as the IT department and the sales force pushing them insist it is.
    Reflect that it might be the people rather than the technology that needs attention and investment to gain the best pay back!

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