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Mobility enhances productivity

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A 5% increase in mobility can equate to a 40% increase in GDP, according to Sean Wainer, Citrix Africa country manager.

Wainer, speaking at the ITWeb Mobility Summit in Johannesburg yesterday, emphasised that mobility is about "more than just an iPad: it's about the movement of people, knowledge and information through a system."

An increase in mobility could have a drastic effect on unemployment in SA, said Wainer, by enabling small business owners to increase their product reach dramatically, and by vastly boosting productivity.

"Anybody who has the ability to work mobile has the ability to work from anywhere, and the world is starting to realise that we need to base our lives on the ability to work from anywhere," he said. "Work is not a place, not something we go to, but something that we do. It's what you do wherever and whenever business needs to be done."

"This is a mentality in SA that has to change: that presenteeism equals productivity. It does not," he added. "Companies who focus on task-based rather than time-based metrics and incorporate workplace flexibility report a positive impact on motivation, engagement and satisfaction."

There's a tension between workers who want increased flexibility and IT"s need to ensure control of data, Wainer explained, but organisations that are not embracing the push for mobility are going to lose out on recruiting young talent. "There will be 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015, and people born in the 80s and 90s are bringing in a different mentality. Studies have shown that people will leave a restrictive organisation and find an organisation that supports their work style."

Hiring aside, enterprises that do not embrace mobility will simply be left behind by those that do, said Wainer: "93% of companies will embrace work-shifting by the end of 2013, and this has already begun: 50% of workers work from home, 43% from client sites, 40% while travelling, and 32% at public sites."

The challenge is IT, he concluded: "IT is at the centre, managing structured systems, apps, and data, telling you where to access and store data. Devices are standardised by IT to simplify support. But the mentality is changing, and IT is starting to become more of a service provider, with executives and users leading the conversation."

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