Present and future significance
Let’s start with the facts: For IT executives, mobility remains one of the three major IT topics. Three in ten of the ICT executives surveyed (39%) state that enterprise mobility (along with IT security and business intelligence) will be one of the three most important IT trends in the next few years.
While mobility is a current topic that still has an incredibly rich and promising future, it is by no means a new one. The issue of mobility, i.e. the availability of information and business programs regardless of time, place and device, is already highly relevant to enterprises. In total, 70 percent of the ICT executives surveyed rate mobility as having a high or very high significance for their enterprise today. Executives in the United States rate it even higher, with 81 percent stating that mobility has a high or very high significance for their enterprise.
But mobility is not only very important for executives; it also plays a key role for users of these applications. More than half (54%) of the IT users surveyed for the LIFE 2 Study state that it is decisive or very important to be able to access all necessary business applications and data from any location and at all times. Mobile access is most important in Spain, where seven in ten (70%) of those surveyed would not want to be without permanent access to all necessary work documents. In contrast, only 47 percent of German employees put mobility in the top 2 boxes, showing that mobile access is perceived as being less important here than in the other countries (see Figure 6-1).
In total, around 21 percent of the IT users surveyed state that they frequently work from home, which is one in five employees. In the United Kingdom (29%) and in the United States (25%), many employees make use of the option of working from home. This option is far less frequently used in Germany, where only 16 percent occasionally work from home. Working while outside the office, e.g. at the airport, on the train or in a café, has become increasingly widespread: Around 19 percent of the IT users surveyed frequently work from outside the office. Even more do so in Spain and the United Kingdom; in both these countries nearly one-quarter of those surveyed (24% each) state that they often work outside the office.
The option of mobile working is considered by 42 percent of the IT users surveyed as an advantage in their job. In the United Kingdom, one in two survey participants (51%) sees mobile work as being an advantage for their work, in Spain this opinion was shared by 47 percent and in the United States by 44 percent. In Germany and France over one-third of those surveyed also saw mobile work as an advantage for their job (37% and 33% respectively).
Two-thirds of the ICT executives surveyed (67%) believe that the significance of decentralized work will increase strongly in their company in the next five years. The biggest increase in significance is expected by executives in the United Kingdom (74%) and the United States (72%). In other words, we can expect to see the significance of mobility for day-to-day work continue to rise in the future, and with it the demand for the necessary ICT solutions (see Figure 6-2).
The importance of mobile solutions varies from business area to business area. 41 percent of ICT executives believe that sales is one of the divisions where it is particularly important that employees are able to access and process or edit company data when out of the office. Mobile access is considered equally important in customer services (41%). But mobile access to company data is also considered comparatively important in the areas of field staff (39%), research and development (38%) and marketing (35%).
In terms of how the significance of individual applications is rated, the survey reveals that ICT executives consider the mobile accessibility of email applications very important (73%). Also important from the ICT executives’ point of view: the accessibility of calendars and contacts (58%) and office applications which, for example, enable presentations to be processed outside the office or from a customer’s office (52%). Four in ten ICT executives (44%) consider it very important to have mobile access to management information systems (e.g. ERP/SAP applications). One-quarter of the executives surveyed (26%) views mobile access to CRM applications as an important option and one-quarter (24%) considers it important to have mobile access to department-specific solutions, e.g. access to joint development platforms.
For the employees – the users of these IT applications – the priority is quite clearly on having mobile access to email and office applications. Half of the IT users surveyed already access their emails remotely (50%) and a further 22 percent would like to be able to do this. Information systems (e.g. calendars) are used remotely by 36 percent of those surveyed, and a further 23 percent would like mobile access to this information. One-quarter of those surveyed (25%) already has mobile access to documents on company computers, and just as many (23%) would like to be able to use these documents remotely (see Figure 6-3).
Provision of mobile devices
In order to be able to use mobile business applications, you not only need the applications themselves to have mobile functionality, you also need the appropriate mobile devices. Presently, around one-quarter of the employees surveyed (27%) uses a web-capable cell phone or a smartphone supplied by their employer. 38 percent has a company laptop or netbook. In an international comparison, employees in Spain are most generously equipped with mobile devices by their employers: One in two uses a Web-capable cell phone or smartphone provided by the company, 45 percent have a company laptop or netbook. Employers in the United States are the least generous: Only 14 percent of employees have the use of a company cell phone/smartphone and around 31 percent use a company laptop/netbook.
Security should be a major consideration when using mobile data transfer and utilization in a corporate environment. This is backed up by the survey: Eight in ten of the IT users surveyed say that data protection and security is decisive or very important in their work. Employees in Germany are particularly sensitive to the issue of data protection (89%). The French are the least sensitive to this topic, with only 65 percent agreeing that they attached “decisive” or “very important” significance to data protection. In total, 84 percent of users protect the data on their company laptop with encryption and/or password protection. Just under three-quarters of the users surveyed (73%) protect the data on their company Web-capable cell phone or smartphone with a password and/or encryption. Users in in the United Kingdom are especially careful about data protection (95%), while French users tend to be more lax about data protection, with only four in ten of those surveyed (41%) protecting their cell phone with a password and/or encryption.
It appears that ICT executives have some catching up to do in terms of security: Only half of the executives surveyed (53%) state that their company has an end-to-end security strategy which also includes mobile devices and data transmission pathways. 19 percent do not know whether their company has such a strategy, and 28 percent are certain that there is no such strategy in their enterprise (see Figure 6-4). One potential solution for more security, and particularly when accessing data while traveling, is role-based access: Two-thirds of ICT executives (66%) are very interested or interested in concepts that support role-based access (e.g. access to customer information specifically for field sales staff).
66% of ICT decision makers find concepts that support role-based access very interesting or interesting.