Enterprise Mobility working for SA

Despite Yahoo’s recent work-from-home policy abolition controversy, the local outlook for enterprise mobility uptake is a healthy one.

A memo issued by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in late March appealed to all-at-home workers to return to the office as of June this year, without exception.According to Rudi Greyling, CTO and innovation lead at Avanade SA: “News of Yahoo’s home working policy has raised an interesting debate. The workplace is changing and in order to stay sharp, productive and innovative, we’ve found that most enterprises today are embracing strategies that help people work more flexibly. For example, our own research has shown 71% of enterprises globally have changed at least one business process – including IT management, sales and marketing, HR and customer service processes – in an effort to leverage emerging work trends, including mobile and consumer technologies. The risk with reversing trends such as these is that productivity itself goes backward. The key point here is flexibility. If businesses are finding that remote working reduces collaboration, it might be better to implement technologies that overcome this challenge and find other ways to boost morale and reduce staff turnover.”Gabi Strijp, executive head of enterprise mobility at Vodacom, states the initial revolution brought about by the advent of mobile technology enabled people to remain in touch outside of their fixed-line workplace. “Mobility means a lot more to business customers since the launch of mobile broadband services and the burgeoning digital economy. Mobile data has revolutionised businesses the way that the Internet did back in the early 90s, but is doing so at a far more rapid rate. Mobility is about far more than voice calls on cellphones – we see more and more businesses embracing the many possibilities that mobile solutions afford them; from ruggedised devices and SIMS to sophisticated high-end tablets and smartphones.”Jim Burgess, enterprise mobility specialist at Internet Solutions, says the company is currently speaking to between two and five customers a week about mobility, both at a CIO and executive level. “This indicates that a growing number of local companies are seriously considering some form of enterprise mobility in their organisation. However, many executives are still unaware of the ways in which this technology can give them control and visibility with regards to what employees are doing on mobile devices.”He says mobility is still in its infancy in this country. “It is really only 18 months since companies began scrambling to implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions, as more employees were issued with smart devices or began bringing their personal smart devices into the corporate network environment. Companies initially wanted and needed to enable basic e-mail functionality on these devices, but there is now a shift towards enhanced security and the establishment of comprehensive policies around mobility.”He says the discussions Internet Solutions is having about mobility with its clients have also progressed from basic e-mail and messaging. “They now want  learn more about enabling greater functionality through enhanced mobility, as many want to use the technology to get closer to their customers. However, the discussions are in an early phase. We do, however, see that certain sectors are ahead of the curve in terms of discussions and adoption in some instances, with healthcare, FMCG, finance and logistics showing the greatest interest.”South African companies are certainly interested in enterprise mobility and many do not want to be left behind as the number of mobile devices in use increases significantly, explains Daniel Hall, VP, sales and marketing, Magic Software SA. “The companies that want to embrace enterprise mobility are being responsible and are ensuring that they have a mobile device management and mobile security strategy in place. However, many companies do not have comprehensive mobile strategies because they are just not sure where to begin.”On a business level, he continues, enterprise applications are still seen as a nice-to-have and more of a tactical initiative – simply because the true power of fully integrated and seamless enterprise applications are yet to be discovered. “Despite this, there has been some great headway from the likes of FNB and Discovery,” he says.

WHY MOBILISE?

According to Hall, companies should never implement enterprise mobility because ‘everyone else is doing it’ or their competitors have rolled out an enterprise mobility solution.“It’s not really about implementing enterprise mobility as much as it is about understanding how the mobile device can add value to the existing business. Enterprise mobility strategies should focus far more on the role of the mobile device in the current business landscape, and the value this can add than on the traditional IT-based considerations. Perhaps what companies should really be implementing is mobile business processes. Such an approach means that innovative business… (for further reading please see the hard copy link below)

By Daniel Hall, VP of sales and marketing at Magic Software SA.

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