The long walk to enterprise mobility

By James Lawson, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 02 Mar 2010

South Africa has always struggled to keep abreast of global trends such as enterprise mobility and remote working due to the lack of high-speed Internet access to users outside the office.

This is according to Robert Gilmour, MD of RSAWeb, who will speak at the ITWeb Enterprise Mobility conference on 21 and 22 April at Vodaworld, Midrand. The event focuses on the financial, security, and IT implications of implementing an enterprise mobility strategy.

Gilmour says times are changing, and remote personnel now have enough connectivity to work effectively. However, he states that the IT systems required to work effectively outside the office are not yet in place in most enterprises.

“The South African corporate mindset has to change in order to promote mobile working. Many corporates have a very conservative IT approach and do not permit data to leave the confines of the firewall.” He says this needs to change along with HR policies in order to enable more remote working.

Global impact

According to Gilmour, the uptake of enterprise mobility in the developed world is setting a trend towards mobility, to increase efficiency and reduce costs associated with operating an office environment.

He adds that the developing world has the same objectives, but that it takes longer to achieve similar IT platforms, as Internet bandwidth standards are required for many companies to work efficiently outside the office.

“Many of the existing solutions are bespoke from a corporate perspective, and are often extensions of an in-house CRM or enterprise management system,” notes Gilmour.

“There are a number of software-as-a-service applications built specifically to address the enterprise mobility need. Many of these seek to address the problem of collaboration, remote project management, or CRM,” he says.

“They often fill in the gaps created by not being in the office and keep the whole team informed while away, often including mobile, iPhone and Web-specific applications, enabling their use on multiple platforms.”

Help or hindrance?

ITWeb's Enterprise Mobility Conference

More information about the ITWeb Enterprise Mobility Conference, which takes place on 21-22 April 2010 at Vodaworld in Midrand is available online here.

“The recession has both helped and hindered the movement to enterprise mobility,” says Gilmour. He points out that the recession has made companies more cost-conscious, forcing them to analyse cost structures in order to seek out efficiency.

“Certain costs can be reduced if employees are allowed to work from home or remotely, and efficiency can be increased when the correct processes and systems are implemented properly.”

Gilmour concludes that it is difficult to achieve an effective mobility programme in any enterprise, as it requires the correct IT systems to be in place. The recession has put a strain on budgets, which affects the budget for IT systems, ultimately hindering its adoption.