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Summary:

A mobile workforce is no longer the exception; it’s the rule. While that sounds like an employer’s dream in terms of more productivity through place-shifted work, it opens up the door to enterprise infrastructure and support challenges faced by the rise of the new workplace “mobilocracy.”

Evan Kaplan

The workforce going mobile is no longer the exception but is instead the rule as more employees expect to use their own connected devices in a corporate capacity. While that sounds like an employer’s dream in terms of potentially more productivity through place-shifted work, it opens up the door to enterprise infrastructure and support challenges faced by the rise of the new workplace “mobilocracy.”

Speaking this morning at our Net:Work 2010 event, Evan Kaplan said this mobilocracy expects certain support and services, which he called the “mobile worker bill of rights.” Kaplan, the president and CEO of iPass, an enterprise mobility provider, says these expectations include: staying connected, choice of device, being free of security threats, full I.T. support and a single account in the enterprise. For these rights to be realized by the mobilicracy, Kaplan said enterprises must design infrastructure and services with moblity as a primary factor, not as an afterthought.

Why should companies cater to mobile workers? One key stat from iPass’s research of their 2.5 million users tells the story: those in the mobile workforce end up working much more, to the tune of 240 extra hours per year. These workers find more pockets of time to work on various devices in the new hardware stack, which Kaplan says is a smartphone, tablet and a laptop. Each of these on their own are nothing without supporting services from I.T. and infrastructure, however. The best way to design with mobile in mind, Kaplan said, is to lean on those resources that are already tech-savvy in mobile and cater plans for them. For an extra six weeks of productivity, admitting to the rise of the mobile workforce and then catering to it sure seems like an investment with nothing but upside.

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