Do you have an effective mobile strategy?
According to recent research conducted by Nielsen, more Africans have access to mobile phones than they do clean water. In fact, more South Africans use mobile phones than listen to the radio or use a personal computer.
Says Gerhard Botha, CTO of PBT Group, “These research stats are phenomenal and certainly prove the impact that mobility is having. Today mobile is changing the way people communicate and how individuals interact with each other. In fact, the Nielsen report clearly indicates that mobility is becoming more coveted than the necessity of an individual’s basic needs. However, further to this, is the reality that today mobility is also impacting the business environment – where it is changing the way organisations assimilate and disseminate critical information.”
It has been forecasted that worldwide shipments of smartphones will reach 480 million by 2016, and it has been suggested that 65% will be used in Bring You Own Device (BYOD) environments. Continues Botha; “This expected increase could be due to the immense benefits that BYOD strategies bring to the business environment. Using mobile devices can save time and money as well as allows for key decisions to be made with a quicker turn-around time - due to information being shared via such devices in real- time.”
Despite this, however, PBT Group has noticed that many companies in South Africa have not embraced mobility into their business strategy as of yet. Continues Botha; “The reason for a slower uptake locally with regards to the use of mobile devices in an organisation is partly two-fold. There are the socio-economic reasons that include a lack of education around the benefits mobility brings to a business, as well as some business owners not seeing the need for a mobile device strategy or being too afraid to invest in such a business move.”
It has been reported that 75%³ of companies in South Africa actually view the BYOD environment as a growing security threat. Besides this, according to PBT Group there are other aspects that should to be considered when looking at whether a mobility strategy will benefit an organisation.
“Although there are some considerable benefits to mobile devices, which include always on and availability, permanent connectivity, portability and with that productivity, there are also the noticeable downsides. These include that employees find it hard to switch off and tend to increase productive and available hour’s way beyond what was the case prior to mobile technology,” says Botha.
“While the immediate reaction of employers to mobile technology is positive, since mobility has the potential to increase their overall productivity, many studies⁴ have shown that prolonged working hours and added stress decreases productivity in the long-term.”
Continues Botha; “Considering this, it is becoming more apparent that employees, to some degree, are starting to resent the constant connectivity that mobility offers them and as a result feel overwhelmed by the constant interruption of mobile devices. In fact, this is very common in Germany⁴, where employees are pushing legislations to limit employer’s access to workers after hours. Such legislation, however, could end up affecting a company’s competitive advantage.”
Concludes Botha; “The fact is that mobility is a positive trend and can benefit an organisation. Yet, it is evident from the research and the lack of implementation by local businesses today, that developing a mobile strategy for an organisation is something that needs careful consideration, guidelines and various policies in place for it to be effective – not only from an employee productivity point of view but also from a security one.”
“Mobility is a trend that will persist and one that must be managed effectively if organisations are going to get it right and reap the ample business opportunities it provides.”