Forrester: Surface drumming up more demand with global mobile workforce

While many of them might not have gone out and actually bought Surface tablets yet, Microsoft's creation is stirring up plenty of interest with mobile employees worldwide.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems will be the major suppliers to the enterprise mobile workforce, but Microsoft still has a fighting chance -- at least as far as tablets are concerned.

That's one of the findings from Forrester Research's second annual Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, a global survey of information workers, which the firm described as "people who use a computer to do their jobs an hour or more a day."

Honing in on the mobile workforce and related adoption trends, researchers surveyed nearly 10,000 global information workers across 16 countries.

Asserting that working anywhere, anytime is "the new normal," the report further defined an employee of the mobile workforce as someone working from multiple locations and using three or more devices for work. Forrester asserted that 29 percent of the global workforce now fits this description, up from 23 percent in 2011.

One of the major revelations from the report is that at least interest in and demand for the Microsoft Surface is relatively high.

Despite the fact that only two percent of respondents said they are using Windows tablets for work right now, approximately 32 percent replied that they would like one for their next work tablet.


Thus, Forrester researchers are predicting that 200 million information workers globally will want a Windows tablet as their next work tablet.

But as smartphones go, Forrester's findings reflect that this a battle between only Android and iOS at this point.

Forrester is especially optimistic for the iPhone, citing that while 16 percent of information workers are using the iOS handheld for work now, 33 percent said it would be their next work phone.

Forrester also offered some direct advice to chief information officers -- much of which boils down to open communication with employees, which can then be applied to everything from which mobile apps to install to cloud sync sharing services:

CIOs can prioritize their device and app investments by walking a mile in employees’ shoes. Build a very deep marketing understanding of who your employees are and what they use technology for. Start with a simple segmentation of employees’ mobile and application requirements so you can provision the right services on the right devices based on business outcomes, not just on intuition.

Images via Forrester Research

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