Mobile IT Should Adopt User-Segment Approach to Policy

Email, voice, text and instant messaging scored high in the survey category of enterprise mobile tools that boost productivity but social networking? Not so much, according to the quarterly "Mobile Workforce Report" conducted by enterprise mobility service firm iPass.

The survey of more than 1,400 mobile enterprise employees also says that the number of hours an employee works is a significant factor in shaping how mobile enterprise staff use smartphones and related mobile technology.

According to the survey, 93 percent of overall respondents believed mobile technology made them more productive. Only 5 percent saw no influence from mobile technology on their productivity, and just 1 percent felt less productive because of mobile technology.

Tools that contributed positively to their productivity included email (85 percent), telephone (75 percent), text messaging (67 percent) and instant messaging (66 percent).

Mobile employees were fairly evenly split on the value of meetings (53 percent seeing it as a gain) and travel (48 percent seeing it as a gain) to their productivity. And despite its recent rise in popularity, 78 percent of mobile employees saw social media as a drain on their work productivity.

Mobile Management: Adopting a User-Segment Approach to Policy

Mobile IT staff would be wise to assess their mobile computing employees in terms of their workflow and needs, as it appears the demographic can vary widely in how they use mobile technology and tools.

"A one-size-fits-all approach to serving the needs of mobile users is no longer sufficient -- each mobile worker has unique needs based on hours they work in and out of the office, and how they use mobile technology," Evan Kaplan, CEO of iPass, said in a statement. "To be most effective enterprise IT teams should look to adopt a user segment based approach to define and enforce mobility policies."

Based on the findings of the survey, iPass segmented mobile employees into five categories: mobile maniacs, mobile masters, the mobile majority, the mobile minority and mobile minimalists.

The survey found that 88 percent of mobile employees check their smartphone during downtime; 27 percent occasionally check it, 55 percent usually check it, and 6 percent confess to obsessively checking it.

Based on this data iPass identified two segments of this population with extreme behavior. On one end of the spectrum are Mobile Maniacs (6 percent of respondents) suffer from a mobile device addiction, they work the longest hours, check their smartphone obsessively and need to stay connected all the time.

Fifty-four percent of mobile maniacs work more than 60 hours a week, and 23percent of mobile maniacs see a negative impact on their work/life balance due to mobile technology.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Mobile Minimalists, (12 percent of respondents) who are mostly desk bound and believe strongly in "having a life." They admit to not checking their smartphone during downtime, and 37 percent work 40 hours a week or fewer. However, 40 percent see a positive impact on their work/life balance due to mobile technology.

The additional three categories were based on length of work-week. Mobile Masters (34 percent of respondents) are a company's road warriors. They work 55 hours or more a week. They work from home more frequently than the other segments (62 percent telecommute at least one day a week). Eighty percent believe mobile technology makes them much more productive, but 13 percent see a negative impact on work/life balance.

Mobile Majority (47 percent of respondents) represent the mobile population at large. They work 45 to 55 hours a week, in line with modern workday averages. They sit in the middle on telecommuting with 50 percent reporting that they work from home at least one day a week, while 10 percent don't work from home at all.

Sixty-seven percent believe that mobile technology makes them much more productive at work and 34 percent see greater work/life balance due to mobile technology.

Mobile Minority (18 percent of respondents) like the mobile minimalists, work 40 or fewer hours a week, are most likely to go into the office every day, and less likely to telecommute. In fact, 19 percent do not telecommute at all.

For this group, while mobile technology does provide productivity gains, it also enables personal freedom. Almost half see mobile technology as enabling more work/life balance, although 23 percent admit to not checking their smartphone during downtime.

The iPass "Mobile Workforce Report" is a quarterly report that summarizes both survey data, as well as enterprise mobile broadband usage data collected by iPass across its user base of 3,500 enterprises. The report includes responses to a survey from more than 1,400 mobile enterprise employees conducted April 26 through May 14, 2010. The mobile usage data was collected from January 1 through March 31, 2010.


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