How To Equip 5 Kinds Of Mobile Workers

Companies can't have just one mobile strategy. Start by segmenting employees by their needs.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

July 18, 2011

2 Min Read

Segmenting employees based on how they work helps IT departments optimize computer and device deployments to fit employee working styles. For example, the hyper-mobile professionals who split time between the most locations are the biggest users of laptops, smartphones, and tablets, showing such workers appreciate flexibility in what they carry into various settings. Once IT teams have segmented their employees, they'll be better-armed to take the following steps to better meet the workforce's mobile needs:

Streamline the number of devices workers use. While 60% of part-time telecommuters use two or more devices for work purposes, the survey finds that 61% would prefer to just use one device for their computing needs. This argues for IT shops to provide workers transitioning between job sites and home a single computer -- a laptop, most likely-- with which to do their jobs.

Identify candidates to use thin clients and kiosks. A sizeable portion of back-office employees and road-based remote technicians indicate that they do not need their own computer and could share with others. (Some field service technicians may be on the road most of the time but still check into a central location, the only place they touch a real PC.) Consider providing these workers with a central terminal for checking email or accessing specific line-of-business systems, such as the human resources system. In addition, you may be able to reduce IT management costs by providing these workers thin client devices with standardized desktop images.

Find workers to pilot new form factors, such as tablet computers. Companies looking to pilot new form factors such as tablets would be wise to target experiments at hyper-mobile professionals. While most workers want fewer devices to carry, Forrester’s survey finds that 54% of hyper-mobile professionals are interested in carrying more than one computing device. Not surprisingly, this group leads in the use of laptops, smartphones, and early tablet adoption.

Pilot BYOPC programs with a select group of workers. Home-based remote technicians provide perfect candidates for a "buy your own PC" program. Why? They require computers to do their jobs, but don't go to a corporate office, making it difficult for the IT department to service their machines. Furthermore, about half of employees who work only from home and those who work from home and on the road want to have a computer that serves both personal and business purposes. This is an opportunity to allow these workers to acquire machines and provision them with browser-based software or virtual desktop technologies that give them access to business applications.

TJ Keitt is an analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves Content & Collaboration professionals. He will be speaking at Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum, Sept. 22-23, in Boston.

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