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With mobile working becoming more commonplace, Vodafone Global Enterprise believes companies should adopt the latest working practices and solutions to enhance productivity and increase employee satisfaction

A new research study on mobile working has revealed that nearly 60 % of European multinationals currently have limited or no mobile working capabilities in place, with managers concerned about pricing predictability and the impact on corporate culture as two of the key barriers to adoption.

According to a pan-European* study undertaken by Vodafone Global Enterprise - the Vodafone business that manages the telecoms needs of multinational enterprise customers - only two fifths (41%) of the 500 multinationals surveyed said they had a comprehensive mobile working solution in place. A further 44% said it was an important priority, while one sixth (15%) said they did not have a plan to initiate mobile working.

The study asked respondents what they thought were the main reasons behind companies not embracing mobile working solutions. 70% of respondents highlighted fears that differing tariff structures across many different markets would prove complex to manage. Other fears included deterioration of productivity and the security implications of corporate applications being widely used on mobile devices.

However, large businesses are becoming more mobile and the study identified a strong desire amongst European enterprise employees for mobile working capabilities. Almost three quarters of firms (70%) said their employees wanted the option of flexible working.

This survey reinforces the considerable opportunity for providers of managed mobile solutions such as Vodafone Global Enterprise, which has recently expanded its client base to around 575 multi-national corporations and reported revenues of £1.1bn in the year to 31 March 2010.

Founded in 2006, Vodafone Global Enterprise now provides services and pricing structures that directly answer the business concerns raised in this survey. These include:

  • “per seat” pricing – which provides complete transparency and budgeting predictability across countries and continents
  • “Device Manager” – which enables the remote management of mobile devices ensuring corporate security and the ability to upload business applications worldwide
  • “fixed and mobile converged” solutions – which allow companies to consolidate their telecommunications management, including IP Centrex systems, and
  • “Master Services Agreement” – a single signature contract covering 38 countries

These are just a few of the products and services being offered by Vodafone’s Global Enterprise division. It also provides businesses with managed mobility solutions, beneficial pricing bundles, centralised procurement, global portfolios of devices, advantageous roaming packages and consultancy advice for companies considering mobile or “total communications” (fixed and mobile) options

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone Global Enterprise, said:

“the perceived barriers to adopting mobile working practices are easily overcome. Our experience shows that mobile working leads to cost savings as companies unify their communications needs and it also boosts productivity, because it enables employees to make better use of their time. “Further benefits are higher levels of job satisfaction amongst employees, reduced travel costs, potential savings from avoiding extra office space and the ability to lessen the company’s carbon footprint”.

Industry analysts also support the view that the benefits of mobile working far outweigh any perceived barriers.

"The benefits of mobile working and home-working in particular, are becoming clearer to businesses,” said Nicholas McQuire, Research Director at IDC. “Although there are some perceived obstacles, the benefits around cost reduction, enhanced productivity, more robust business-continuity plans and improved sustainability and compliance are helping organisations to overcome any doubts and offer employees greater flexibility in terms of where they choose to work."

In order to assist companies considering embracing mobile working, Vodafone Global Enterprise has produced a White Paper entitled “Mobile Flexible Working”, which outlines how to approach this transition and optimise the benefits. At its core is the premise that mobile and flexible working is an irreversible development, as the world becomes increasingly connected and the relationship between work, home and the community evolves.

Notes

The survey polled 500 managers of multinational companies across Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
In this research, the term “mobile working” was defined in its fullest sense meaning the provision of the correct productivity tools (e.g.VPN, mobile email), security and managerial support to enable employees across the enterprise to work remotely in an effective manner.
This release is the first in a series of findings from Vodafone Global Enterprise designed to identify key trends in mobile working.