Connectivity Services: Enterprises on the Move



Improving workforce productivity and efficiency, and bringing
down costs to ensure increased margins have always been key goals of business
enterprises. It’s only the degree of urgency that has changed now-thanks not
just to competitive challenges, but also to customers who are demanding new
levels of responsiveness. All this is driving a hitherto unknown level of
business transformation.

The key drivers of this transformation are a host of networking
and communication technologies. These technologies are not only helping
businesses discover new ways of communicating, but also helping them find new
ways of doing business. The idea of anywhere-anytime connectivity is fast
becoming a reality. Business executives, no matter where they are, are realizing
the importance of remaining connected. Blackberrys and other similar devices
have suddenly become a rage amongst business users. These are enabling mobile
workers to interact directly with customers on the field, instead of rushing
back to office to reach their office computers. Without these technologies at
their disposal it would be impossible for businesses to even survive, forget
about flourish.

Trends Pushing Mobility
There is a growing trend among enterprises to fast adopt mobility to enhance
work productivity and become competitive while reducing costs; the Indian market
is no different. A large chunk of enterprises today have mobility as a part of
their IT strategy and this is testimony of the fast growing need for enterprise
mobility in India which has more than 140 mn mobile subscribers today.

The growing mobile base in India is definitely a sign of
improved telecom infrastructure in terms of increased coverage and robustness,
providing reliable connectivity anywhere anytime, which is one of the most
important factors for an organization going for mobility solutions. Operating
costs being another major concern for organizations in the Indian scenario,
reducing service charges is another plus point. Many of the mobility
applications overseas typically make use of high-end mobile devices such as PDAs
and smart phones. In India, apart from such applications, some simpler
applications making use of standard mobile phones could also have a great
potential. Say for example SMS-based applications. Mobile email and enterprise
voice convergence are two trends leading the way for business mobility. Driving
these trends are market pull for new devices, access to mobilized applications,
and technology convergence.

Mobilizing Applications
Mobilization of applications is currently in many companies’ plans and
strategies for competitive advantage. This goes beyond simply providing secure
remote-access or offering web-access to corporate intranets/applications.
Technology convergence impacting these two business mobility trends is
fixed-mobile convergence and voice-data convergence. Businesses are looking to
increase their competitive edge through improved cost efficiencies by leveraging
their existing IT investments. There is also a growing trend of integrating
business devices with voice, messaging, email, intranet and Internet to allow
maximizing productivity while on the move.

58% of
large corporations consider Personal Information Management (PIM) to be a
key driver for wireless wide-area solutions

Application mobility brings support for popular business
applications to devices to increase employee interactions with colleagues,
partners, and customers and provide them access to key company information.

While mobile email is used by most, other mobile applications
which garnered high ratings are: applications to view office documents, ERP/supply
chain related use, and access to Intranet/corporate database on mobile device.

Mobile email appears to be the entry-level mobile solution for
companies embarking on the path towards greater mobility. As companies mobilize
key business processes, they will expect mobile devices to evolve in step-providing
a reliable delivery platform for business applications. (such as SFA, CRM and
ERP)

Major Drivers
Reducing the number of devices per employee, and increasing accessibility
and productivity; avoiding missed revenue opportunities; improving customer
service; and high work/life balance for employees are the major drivers of
enterprise mobility. The key industries adopting enterprise mobility will be the
BFSI segment, BPOs and software houses, followed by manufacturing and the large
PSUs and the government sector.

Field service and sales applications obviously offers the
largest opportunity for mobility applications, as this is the segment with most
staff in field. India is just beginning to adopt mobility solutions and this
would be the first thing enterprises would want to go for. The field service
opportunities exist in many industries such as home repair, IT/office
automation, industrial equipment repair, courier services etc. Transportation
and distribution could be another driver. Asset tracking, as a functional area,
is also gaining ground.

Mobile
email and mobile calendar appear the most commonly used applications

Dilemmas & Challenges
The dilemma of multiple devices is one of the main challenges that the
industry faces right now. Typically, in an organization, many employees use
their own personal mobile phones for work. Under IT guidance, standardization on
specific devices can result in significant cost savings for the organization. IT
involvement can have a big impact on successful device management, resulting in
a decrease in workload for the support team. For example, an organization that
is standardized on specific devices can apply security and application updates
remotely over the air quickly and efficiently, effectively extending their
existing IT infrastructure to include the mobile workforce.

Nevertheless, security plays a crucial role in the overall
enterprise ecosystem. Enterprises today look at a secure, reliable connection
from many mobile devices and control access to enterprise networks to ensure
integrity of the network and the content that flows in and out of it. Large
corporations have strong security implementations but at the same time, have to
constantly review these to cater to the demanding needs of business mobility.

Quality of Service (QoS) is one more issue. Real-time services
such as interpersonal communications using voice or video, as well as critical
enterprise applications (ERP, CRM) demand a certain level of network performance
to provide enterprise-grade service quality. Critical transport parameters
include latency, delay jitter and data rate, which can be controlled in managed
packet-networks by various QoS mechanisms, which operate on different network
layers.

To Conclude
With more and more international players entering India, there is increase
in user expectations and the changing business models are demanding that Indian
businesses now be agile and adaptable. And facing greater expectations from
customers and to enhance overall productivity, there is very little scope for
the enterprises but to serve the customer from anywhere and at anytime. And
mobility is the answer!

Gyana Ranjan Swain

gyanas@cybermedia.co.in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *