SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Robin Gareiss
Robin Gareiss is president and founder of Nemertes Research, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research, and advises...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Robin Gareiss | October 15, 2012 |

 
   

Time to Go All Mobile?

Time to Go All Mobile? IT staffs must weigh productivity and employee preference with cost savings to determine what type of device makes sense for which employees and under what type of ownership model.

IT staffs must weigh productivity and employee preference with cost savings to determine what type of device makes sense for which employees and under what type of ownership model.

As companies embrace anytime, anywhere communications--driven by the ubiquity of mobile devices--has the time finally come (yet again) to toss aside IP hardphones or even softphones?

It's a loaded question that many IT professionals are exploring. Numerous IT decision-makers have asked us in recent months: Can we just ditch the handset? After all, handsets are the most expensive piece of the capital for an IP telephony/UC rollout or upgrade.

There are a few viable answers, depending on factors in any given organization. Here are some to consider:

Company culture: Is the culture innovative? Do employees respond positively to change and to new technologies? For many companies, even if the answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second question is no. Employees generally do not respond well to change because they are afraid of loss. So, before pulling the plug, it's imperative to educate the employees on what they'll lose, yes, but also what they'll gain by moving to an all-mobile model.

Campus/building cellular performance: For many organizations, the cellular quality is poor inside a high-rise building or in certain areas of the campus. That doesn't preclude a move to an all-mobile environment. It simply means you must work with wireless providers to install small-cell technology (femto or pico cells), which improve the cellular signal and overall sound quality.

BYOD Policy: If a company allows employees to bring their own mobile device to work, the chance of them shifting entirely to mobile devices is greater. Nemertes has found that 69% of organizations support BYOD today, a data point that indicates employees are increasingly more comfortable with using a mobile device for work purposes.

The problem, though, is the risk involved when a company allows personally-owned mobile devices to be the communications means for the entire organization. What if the device breaks or the employee doesn't pay his or her monthly service bill? The phone may unexpectedly be non-existent, and then how does that individual stay productive? Organizations that take the risk of employee-owned devices as primary-mode-of-communication must develop clear policies on how to support the devices and apps, and must develop contingency plans (such as a stable of "loaner" phones) should an employee's phone break.

Extension of UC capabilities: Moving to a mobile-only world requires UC integration. Already, 51% of companies integrate UC with their mobile devices, and another 22.2% are evaluating the capabilities. One of the key reasons is phone number ownership. If the only number your customers have is their sales reps' private cellphone number, you'll discover some problems when the sales reps leave the company. It's imperative to mandate that all calls go through the IP PBX or server, using mobile extension to reach the mobile device. Additionally, if a mobile device is the only communications endpoint employees use, they need similar features to a desktop handset (or even softphone), such as directory integration, presence status, IM capabilities, and conferencing.

Job Function: For salespeople, service people, traveling executives, and mobile workers (construction, clinicians, retail managers), an all-mobile solution is ideal. But IT must make sure the devices are highly functional, with full UC integration. For other positions--those at a desk in front of a computer, in a contact center, etc.--a hardphone or softphone are likely the most functional solution. Rather than working off a small smartphone at a desk, most people would prefer a nice computer or even hardphone screen.

Battery life: For all that smartphones offer, they still lack on battery life. A mobile sales rep who has been out all day, active on the phone, could come back to her home or branch office only to find the battery is at 5% and the charger is missing. Again, good planning (spare batteries, chargers attached to the desks, etc.) can alleviate such problems, but they'll pop up, and the company must be prepared, or else productivity, and even revenue, could suffer.

Every few years, IT staffs evaluate the question of going all mobile. It's become more relevant now because of the broad acceptance of mobile devices. Ultimately, I believe the best approach for most companies is a hybrid solution. IT staffs must weigh productivity and employee preference with cost savings to determine what type of device makes sense for which employees and under what type of ownership model. Regardless of the plan, UC integration is a must to ensure maximum productivity.





COMMENTS



May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.