Mobile Phones: The GLUE that Will Finally Unify and Takeover Enterprise Communications

Updated: September 09, 2010

Businesses stand to benefit from this change in a myriad of ways. Not only will companies be able to reduce their communications costs, but they will finally be able to reap some of the productivity benefits they have been promised for the last few years. With the convergence of cellular and WiFi networks, and the integration now possible between mobile phones and PBX's, users will be able to use one device that supports all of the same applications, phone calls, Web connectivity, video, and media functionality regardless of their physical location.

Users will now finally benefit from having data mobility, where you can take IP-PBX services with you, as well as the ability to have a single device with one single phone number. This mobile phone takeover could solve a variety of business problems, but the primary value for most enterprises might be the enormous potential for increased productivity. The more time people spend waiting, the less productive they are. By having their cell phone be their office phone, phone tag will become a thing of the past, and calls will be made at the user's convenience. For enterprise IT teams, this means less equipment to manage and support, lower costs, and happier internal customers.

The truth is that we've been hearing about this for years - so why is it all coming to fruition now? This is the result of the coming together of wired and wireless technologies, which encompass four essential aspects: networks, applications, devices, and cost.

Validating our case

The mobile phone question is not going away any time soon. What we do know is that the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, now verging on 40 percent of the total workforce population worldwide, as reported by analyst firm IDC. When you consider the fact that almost the majority of employees do not remain at a fixed location throughout their work day, you can begin to see the benefits of the smartphone, and why its triumph over the communication hardware battle is inevitable. Employees are mobile in a variety of locations - both within the office but away from their desks, as well as outside the office at various locations, including client and partner sites, hotels, airports, and at home.

With regards to mobile collaboration, solutions that enable single-number reach, single-number voicemail, and extended business communications can be deployed to help ensure that customer calls are received the first time, that timely responses are provided, and that partners and employees are spending their time moving the business forward, not managing multiple mailboxes.

Despite all of the benefits outlined above, businesses have been hesitant to accept or to take on the responsibility of managing these new mobile/smartphones. The fact remains, however, that whether or not the enterprise wants to support these devices, employees will continue to use them, as is evidenced by a recent Information Week survey[1], in which 41% of the 512 companies interviewed found employees were using unsupported mobile devices.

[1], June 28, 2010.

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