Feb 17

Fitting mobility into the enterprise

At Fujitsu Forum, held in Munich in November last year, Benno Zollner (the CIO of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, outside Japan) asked the question:  “Why are (organizations) spending so much for Workplace IT?”  It is a good question.  It has made me think 1)  about mobile devices and 2) about roles and what is deployed with which characteristics. I am going to explore both of these here…

To me the most startling statistic that Benno used was  that it costs organizations something like €130 per user/per month for a managed workplace. This included basic communications, Microsoft Licences, corporate email services, Internet fees, operational services, LAN services (per port) and print services (and probably much more that is not listed).  But this excludes any hardware cost and, presumably, advanced communications services like mobile voice and data.

On the assumption that Fujitsu is more efficient than most, this means that most organizations may currently be spending (say) between €120-€200 per user per month — or €1440 to €2400 per user per year.  The implication is also that this is for a ‘standard user’, one with a laptop or desktop probably situated in an office somewhere and connected to standard IT infrastructure (network, servers, Internet gateways, email, etc.).

With 1000 employees that become a significant sum.  It certainly explains why there is so much interest, not least from Fujitsu on behalf of its clients, in reducing the cost of the corporate workplace — particularly in virtualization and centralization via what Benno referred to as the “Web Desktop”, thereby reducing the cost per month per user.  (Such a “Web Desktop” could offer centralized email, calendar, contacts, tasks,  text, spreadsheets, presentations, file sharing, social media integration as well as other web services integration.)

But going beyond this, Benno also included mobile sync-ing as well as app management.  This suggests that he expects mobile devices to become a key element of any solution.  This makes perfect sense — and is hardly surprising, given the increasing popularity of Bring (or Buy) Your Own Device (BYOD), whether this is a phone, tablet or laptop or combinations of all three.

By bringing such an approach to enterprises the intention must be to increase flexibility beyond the standard laptop/desktop, and with reduced cost per user (even if that user has multiple devices.

In thinking this through, I felt that Benno challenged his listeners with the following observations:

  • role and locality make ever less difference (n a mobile world)
  • there is (or should be) no difference in the future between internal and external users
  • a continuum exists between stationary and mobile workers
  • a different, parallel continuum exists, from task workers through to knowledge workers and power users.

In the following chart I have tried to expand and elaborate on these points.

What should be apparent is that there indeed, as Benno  described, continua which relate to roles (task, knowledge and power) as well as between what each role is likely to need in order to deliver its purpose.

Yet, while confirming what Benno and Fujitsu have been thinking, the large green oval on the right remains a mystery — at least with today’s mobile technologies/roles.  The top right quadrant seems empty, for lack of any obvious occupants.

If you can think of what should, or even might, deserve to be there I will be most interested to hear your suggestions (and please feel able to contact me (charles@constellationrg.com or charles.brett@outlook.com or charlesbrett on Twitter).

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