Manufacturing Business Technology
1 March 2023

Remote revolution puts strain on strapped IT resources

Heightened use of mobile devices actually results in an unexpected burden on IT support staffs, when it comes to service. IT departments already low on resources are expected to support the mobile workforce in a timely way. Now it seems the strain is translating into business disruption and lost revenue, as seen in two studies released in December.

In a Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum study, The Remote Revolution: Uptime Issues, Implications and Imperatives in the Mobile Workforce , 86 percent of respondents say their IT departments are under pressure to support mobile and remote workers, while 41 percent say they’ve suffered business disruptions due to delays in accessing live help.

BPM Forum says it provides both research and expertise on strategy, and proven methods for a host of critical enterprise issues to member companies.

"The biggest surprise in our study is the disconnect between the expectations of growth of the mobile workforce and the lack of planning of a comprehensive strategy for managing the growth," says Chris Kenton, senior VP of BPM Forum, and author of the report. "Every new mobile worker represents not an incremental but an exponential increase in the strain on IT, as every worker carries multiple devices. The growth in mobile devices is creating markets for new applications, each with new requirements for connectivity and support."

Executives need to plan for this growth, Kenton stresses. "They need a strategy to address the pattern of growth, understanding the ramifications in terms of security and uptime performance. Typically the support policies are ad hoc."

In a second study, Working to Communicate Better in Business -this one by telecom services provider Avaya -more than half of mobile end users say they’ve missed meetings, customer inquiries, or leads due to lost communication. More than one-third say missed communication directly resulted in lost revenues or additional costs.

Avaya focused on the global end user experience for its report. "We have many different ways to communicate, but they are not necessarily helping us connect more," says Lawrence Byrd, director of IT telephony and mobility for Avaya. "You have a pager, a mobile phone, an office number, a wireless laptop. But there’s a failure of the technology to work together. We miss each other not knowing which device to use."

What’s needed, Byrd adds, is integration.

"We need to distinguish between the road warriors who need a lot of things, and the teleworkers, who are remote, but fixed when they’re working. And then there are the campus nomads, wandering facilities and warehouses. This is where we see a lot of Wi-Fi," says Byrd. "It’s more expensive to respond haphazardly than to have a plan. It can all be managed-if you have a strategy."

Regional differences in remote device usage were highlighted in telecom services provider Avaya ‘s recent study, Working to Communicate Better in Business . Among the more interesting findings:

U.S. workers carry the highest number of devices on average, with 36 percent carrying three or more, and 7 percent carrying more than four.

Russians workers carry the least-on average, nearly half carry only one.

Russia and Germany were the only countries where all office workers carried at least one device.

Australia rated customer satisfaction highest as the rationale for mobile communications (57 percent); while Russia rated it least (31 percent).

Reducing time at the desk was ranked highest as the rationale in Russia (42 percent), and lowest in Brazil (27 percent).

Nearly four times as many Russian managers (41 percent) distrust telecommuting workers than U.S. managers (11 percent).