Companies Face Increasing Difficulties With Wireless Transition

Results of two new studies — based on surveys of senior level executives — indicate that mobile telephony and computing are growing challenges for the corporate enterprise and that companies are struggling to keep up.

The remote and mobile workforce is exploding, according to the research, a summary of which was provided to TechNewsWorld. By 2008, U.S. mobile workers alone will reach 103 million, according to In-Stat/MDR, a figure that will increase dramatically to more than 878 million worldwide by 2009.

Remote Revolution?

This remote revolution has created “an IT crisis” for many companies as they struggle to adapt their technology and support infrastructures to meet a new set of demands, according to two major research initiatives about to be announced.

The two studies of “C level executives” developed by Avaya, communications industry leader and BPM Forum, the independent executive thought leadership group, provide insight into the challenges of corporate mobility — including the growing pressures facing IT departments and costly business disruptions and missed communications employees still experience when away from the office.

The studies were named as follows:

  • The Remote Revolution, Uptime Issues, Implications & Imperatives in the Mobile Workforce: Conducted by the BPM Forum and sponsored by Avaya, the report provides an in-depth look at IT challenges facing today’s distributed and mobile organizations;
  • Working to Communicate Better in Business: A global survey by Avaya that looks at the business and technology challenges of mobility from the perspective of employees.

Growing security vulnerabilities, as well as increasingly complex mobile applications, and demands for 24×7 support — are challenging companies worldwide. IT departments are turning to automated systems, renewed IT training, outsourcing, and other responses in order to cope, one of the studies said.

Other significant findings include:

  • Nearly three-fourths of all respondents predict an increase in the percentage of remote workers at their business.
  • Eighty four percent report growing pressures and demands on the IT organization because of the need to support remote and mobile devices.
  • Forty percent say their companies suffered business disruptions because of ineffective support.

What’s more, more than half of end-users surveyed missed important business meetings, customer inquiries, or business leads due to missed communications. Moreover, more than one-third said missed communications directly resulted in lost revenues or additional expenses. Additionally, two-thirds carry more than one mobile device every day, but most routinely pick up messages late at night, because people can’t reach them in a timely manner.

Corporations, Hospitals Heavy Users

This is happening at corporations, as well as at other organizations, like hospitals.

Despite the challenges, Covenant HealthCare recently said that its physicians are using new software to access essential patient information with mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones. Clinical data — such as lab results, test results, medication lists, clinical notes, drug reference, and more — can now be easily accessed at bedside and beyond as the result of the hospital’s investment in this advanced wireless software.

“We were amazed at how excited our physicians were,” said Keith Grantham, director of information technology at Covenant HealthCare, based in Saginaw, Mich. “We started our deployment with a small group of 12 physicians in August. When our physicians saw the product in use, they began asking for it and our user group grew to almost 40 users within a month prior to our formal launch.”

At the formal deployment in early October, over 175 physicians signed up to receive the technology.

“Computer systems are making inroads to medicine slowly but surely and this is cutting edge,” Dr. Omer Mirza, a hospitalist, said. “It enables physicians to have access to patient data wherever we may be in the hospital.”

Mirza said that moving around between units in the hospital is not a problem anymore. “When we get phone calls or pages about a patient, the device allows us to pull up accurate and complete information about the patient. We can see lab and x-ray reports right away,” he said.

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