Nokia: Change the 'remote'

Businesses should move away from remote access services and toward enterprise mobility with services such as push e-mail, urges the mobile phone maker.
Written by Aaron Tan, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Allowing workers to access resources remotely is not tantamount to enterprise mobility, according to a top executive from Nokia.

Andrew Namboka, chief technologist of enterprise solutions at Nokia Asia-Pacific, told ZDNet Asia that most organizations tend to think that remote access is equivalent to enterprise mobility.

"When employees think remote [access], their expectations go down. They don't expect to be able to move large amounts of data," he said.

Nokia wants to change that mindset where companies provide remote access to their corporate networks as an afterthought. They should instead look at offering enterprise mobility as a key component of their entire IT infrastructure, Namboka said.

"There should not be any degradation in IT services or throughput whatsoever," he added. "The expectations [of telecommuters] should be on par with someone who's in the office."

Businesses in the Asia-Pacific region are at varying maturity levels in enabling enterprise mobility, Namboka said. He noted that while there are large organizations with in-house experts to manage data and voice services in such initiatives, there are also smaller businesses that are unable to justify the cost of supporting a similar strategy.

Namboka advised companies wishing to embark on enterprise mobility to start with voice services, which often take up a huge chunk of IT budgets. "Voice is the path of least resistance to any enterprise mobility initiative," he said.

He added that mobile IP (Internet protocol) telephony can significantly reduce communication costs as voice traffic passes through the Web, rather than over traditional phone networks.

Companies can also look at push e-mail to kick off their enterprise mobility initiative as it allows them to react to customer queries more quickly, he said.

The power and performance of portable devices however, still determine how quickly enterprise mobility can take off, Namboka stressed. For now, he added, mobile devices are unable to support complex features in most ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. "The user experience is going to be poor and because of that, the adoption will be poor," he said.

However, many IT chiefs can find the task of securing every mobile device used to access the corporate network daunting.

For starters, Namboka advised businesses to install tools that remotely wipe out data on an employee's device after it has been reported lost or stolen.

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