Canadian businesses embrace 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, the online poll titled Canadian NetWorker Trend Survey, asked 345 CATA business members across Canada about their attitudes and concerns towards mobile technology and their reasons for investing in enterprise mobility. The results were released today at a roundtable discussion during the NetworkWorld Conference and Expo held in Toronto.

2005 Canadian Networker Trend Survey says:

  • 94 per cent says mobility would change work practices
  • 69 per cent says mobile technology helps competitiveness
  • over half of Canadian firms polled are willing to invest in mobile technology
  • over a quarter of businesses actually use mobile technology
  • 82 per cent are concerned about mobile security

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 were willing to invest in mobile technology, while 74 per cent of the overall survey respondents cited increased worker productivity as the main reason why they would invest in enterprise mobility.

However, only 26 per cent of Canadian businesses surveyed actually use mobile technology across their business. 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.

As well, according to Victor Garcia, chief technology office for Hewlett Packard Canada, Canadian companies are reluctant to invest in technology to make them efficient. “It should be something corporations pay attention to because technology, when properly used and implemented, will help us compete,” he said

According to the survey, other barriers to adoption include security and manageability. 82 per cent said they were most concerned about security and viruses to enterprise 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 devices use policies, data encryption and firewalls are all ways to protect enterprise mobility, he said.

The survey also forecasted that the portable office (the ability to work anywhere, anytime) would here in less than five years – in as little as three years, according to some panellists.

“Most aspects of a mobile office (like WiFi) are available today and are being used today,” Garcia said.

Related links:

Panel: More technology doesn’t mean more productivity

Battle against mobile viruses heats up

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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