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High costs, security pull back enterprise mobility adoption

Large conglomerates and small and midsize businesses looking to mobility tools to boost workforce efficiency, says SK Telecom exec, but high initial costs and security barriers to uptake.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

Companies need to overcome their apprehension about security and high initial costs and embrace a enterprise mobility strategy to become a leaner, more responsive organization, urges an executive.

According to Park Sung Jun, manager of industry productivity enhancement (IPE) business team at SK Telecom, the advantages of implementing strategies and practices to boost workforce mobility, such as the mobile telecoms company's Connected Workforce platform, are beyond just providing sales force automation (SFA) for workers on-the-go.

Instead, Park noted that with the introduction of smartphones and the rapidly changing business landscapes, an ideal mobile workforce will be one that links workers through a Web-based enterprise portal which would improve communication and collaboration and, therefore, improve the organization's response time.

Additionally, he pointed out that once cloud computing technologies become more mature, the mobile workforce will evolve to include cloud-based services that can be delivered with a high level of security.

Park said: "As [our] mobile office [platform] is introduced, more companies are coming to realize that the implementation of a ubiquitous working environment can help maximize [employees'] use of time during regular work hours as it allows for instant communication and streamline workflow for employees."

SK Telecom CEO and President Jung Man Won stated in a March interview with Korean news service Yonhap News that the company by 2020 expects to generate 20 trillion won (US$16.9 billion) of annual revenue from its IPE business, which includes the Connected Workforce platform.

That said, Park said two key barriers are holding companies back from investing in an efficient mobile workforce strategy.

One of these revolve around security, particularly that of smartphones, which were being adopted rapidly, he said, noting that companies today have concerns about information leaks through viruses and hacker attacks on these devices.

The other challenge lies in the high initial costs companies have to spend to equip employees with mobile devices, he added.

An earlier report stated that IT administrators need to implement security policies to better manage the increasing data influx caused by mobile device proliferation. According to security experts, tools such as remote data wipe and data loss prevention software should be integrated into companies' IT infrastructure.

When quizzed about how the maturity of wireless technology infrastructure will affect the uptake of mobility offerings, Park noted that in emerging markets, WiMax is considered an "inexpensive and easy way" to deploy wireless networks in remote locations.

To allow for easier access, for instance, he said SK Telecom's Connected Workforce platform interface can be simplified to mostly text-based content to "ensure best performance in low-capacity network areas in these markets".

Currently, large conglomerates that need speedy decision-making processes and faster communication, as well as public institutions have shown "great interest" in mobile office tools, he said.

An earlier ZDNet Asia report also highlighted that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are looking to better manage costs and responsibilities. IDC's chief technology advisor Patrick Chan said in the article that SMBs often require employees to take on multiple roles within the company, and these people would typically have to be more mobile in their processes and job execution.

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