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Report: Mobile Users Straining IT

More mobile users means more strain on networks and IT resources that few are properly prepared to deal with.

The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and Avaya conducted surveys of enterprise executives to reach these conclusions.

The BPM Forum study, entitled "The Remote Revolution: Uptime Issues, Implications & Imperatives in the Mobile Workforce," found that 71 percent of its 400 respondents expect the number of remote workers to grow within their organizations.

On the flip side of demand is the ability to support mobile users. With the increased number of users, 86 percent reported that their IT departments are under increased pressure to support their non-tethered peers.

The importance of reliable always-on access was also underscored by both Avaya and BPM Forum reports. Forty-one percent of respondents to the BPM Forum study noted that ineffective support for their users caused business disruptions for their companies.

More than half of Avaya's 600 respondents to its report, "Working to Communicate Better in Business," indicated that they missed business leads or meetings due to communications gaffes. They also had a financial impact, according to greater than one-third of respondents.

Among the surprise of the studies, according to Chris Kenton, senior vice president of the BPM Forum, were some of the issues that respondents didn't rate as a concern.

"Some of the issues that received almost no rating of concern surprised us, as those included worker productivity, monitoring employee use of devices and access to inappropriate materials," Kenton told internetnews.com.

"Those were things that quite frankly are fairly sexy stories in the news from time to time but less than 2 percent saw it as a significant concern."

From Avaya's point of view, the lack of planning by IT departments for mobility requirements was a noteworthy finding.

"The biggest surprise to us was the deer-in-the-headlights position. That a lot of IT departments seem to see this wave coming but they are not sure what the plan is and they don't want to spend a lot of resources on it," Lawrence Byrd, director of IP Telephony and Mobility Product Marketing at Avaya, said.

"So there is a collision in front of them between escalating demands and the lack of a strategy."

Avaya also asked its respondents a rather surprising question about just how connected they'd like to be.

"In our survey we also asked our users, to sort of warm them up and make sure that they were listening to us, if they could embed a phone in their head would they do so," Byrd said. "Twenty-two percent said yes in the U.S.

"I think that's indicative the people see the mobility requirement as a sort of fundamental part of their life. "