Friday, November 13, 2009

Reduction in travel saves us from misguided use of mobile technology

As the global recession bites deeply, the number of miles flown by the road-warrior and regular employees has dropped considerably. As far back as May last year, Michelle Conlin of BusinessWeek reported how:
[...] companies as varied as Advanced Micro Devices, Xerox, Cisco Systems, AstraZeneca, and Adecco are cutting internal business travel (grinding from corporate office to office) by as much as 50 percent.
Not only has this increased the need for the online collaborative tools such as WebEx and GoToMeeting, it has made me question whether companies need to focus on the expensive development of mobile clients for their traditional business applications. When everyone was constantly 'out of office', having a Blackberry UI, iPhone app, or at least a dumbed-down portal suitable for access from airport security queues around the country was an essential 'me-too' for business application vendors. The question now is whether there is sufficient value in providing this, for the vendors, or the companies that use their tools.

More and more, companies seem to want to keep track of employees, and the work they are doing. Less and less, they want them being only partially connected as they flit from city to city. Home-office working allows use of a decent laptop and a broadband network. Netbooks enable a reasonable sized screen for accessing regular web based applications on a fast-enough 3G network. So what is the value in business applications on tiny little mobile devices?

Mr/Mrs Road Warrior will be picking up a mass of email, and won't be trying to write his/her opportunity report for the regional sales VP on a Blackberry. So why waste the company's money implementing a complex system to allow such misguided use of technology.

A post from the Improving It blog

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