Canadian businesses are embracing mobility

More and more Canadian businesses are adopting mobile technology to help them better compete and be more productive, according to a survey conducted by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA).

In March, 2005, CATA’s online poll titled Canadian NetWorker Trend Survey, asked 345 CATA business members across Canada about their attitudes and concerns towards mobile technology. The results were released at a roundtable discussion during the NetworkWorld Conference and Expo held in Toronto last month.

In terms of attitude towards mobile technology, 94 per cent of respondents said mobility would change the way they work and 69 per cent believed mobile technology would help them be more competitive.

Sixty per cent of Canadian companies polled said they were willing to invest in mobile technology with 74 per cent of the survey respondents citing increased worker productivity as the main reason.

However, only 26 per cent of Canadian businesses surveyed actually use mobile technology. What is preventing the enterprise-wide adoption of this technology?

Tracy Fleming, national IP telephony practice leader for Avaya Canada, believes two things need to happen for mass adoption to occur. First, in order to manage mobility, it needs to be easier and more cost effective. Second, mobile technology has to be simple for the end user to use.

Other barriers to adoption include security and manageability. Eighty-two per cent of respondents said they were most concerned about security and viruses in terms of mobility.

“Security is top of mind for the IT professional. Can you blame them? There is uncertainty and fear out there about mobile computing,” said John Weigelt, chief security advisor and privacy compliance officer for Microsoft Canada.

But he said this fear is unwarranted as there are ways to secure the mobile environment. Legislation, mobile device use policies, data encryption and firewalls are all ways to protect enterprise mobility.

The survey also predicted that the portable office (the ability to work anywhere, anytime) would here in less than five years.

Survey responsdents felt there were both positive and negative aspects to being reached anywhere and anytime. Some consider it being on a “electronic leash” 24/7. Eddie Chan, an analyst with IDC Canada, said with increasing wireless connectivity options the leash will continue to grow.

“We may see worker productivity rise [but] it’s imperative policies be in place and communicated by management to address response times, down times [and] acceptable behaviours to protecting the worker from burnout. [There needs to be a] balance between personal and work lives,” said Chan.

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