IT support increasing to meet consumerization and mobility

A survey commissioned by Unisys to IDC about the “IT Consumerization” phenomenon in Brazil indicated that companies may increase their IT support for tablets and smartphones next year because more employees are bringing their own equipment to work.

IT support for iPads, for example, should jump from 18% (today) to 46% in the next 12 months. And iPhone support is expected to grow from 52% to 68% in the same timeframe. To better understand this concept and what is going on in the enterprise in Brazil, RCR Wireless News asked some questions to Paulo Roberto Carvalho, outsourcing director for Latin America at Unisys.

RCR Wireless News: The increase of IT support for mobile devices stems from the consumerization? Why?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: It is somehow, I understand that, yes, but it is not limited to this. Mobility is a tendency in all directions, both in the personal consumer’s world as well as at the corporate level. The consumerization (the concept means that devices developed for the consumer, “common” individuals, are adopted in the corporate environment) can be regarded as accelerating the process, but not the motivator. So, with a greater number of devices, as well as growth in diversity of types and models, the effort required for IT support increases significantly.

RCR Wireless News: Which factors are behind this increased IT support?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: Indeed this increase is due to the fact that companies are, every day, more mobile. This occurs because companies need to expand their boundaries without necessarily opening new units (remote staff), as well as by the need to increase their productivity; mobility allows employees to interact with the corporate environment for longer periods of time. For example: an employee who is spending two hours in an airport waiting for a flight can use this time to access their e-mails.

RCR Wireless News: Is there a business segment in which firms are more likely to embrace mobility and therefore increase the demand for support?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: In the recent past, companies that had sales forces to visit clients or similar activities (such as insurance agents, staff surveys, among many others) were more likely to adopt mobility. Nowadays, it is difficult to identify a segment that cannot take advantage of the benefits of mobility, whether for reasons of speed or productivity. Even in small enclosures, this feature has been adopted. We found several businesses using remote devices to place orders and now we even have restaurants using tablets for menus. All this diversity creates a huge effort, with regard to developing applications and supporting them in every way.

RCR Wireless News: In this aspect, what are the similarities and differences between Brazil and other countries?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: From a user perspective, Brazilians are very similar to those from the “first world.” In many situations, thanks to the creativity and bold spirit of Brazil, mobile resources are used more intensively and generate better results. However, Brazil has lost to other countries access to new technologies. While import barriers are far more permissible, cost is still a big offender to get the technology quickly into the hands of the masses.

RCR Wireless News: Among the study’s findings, which findings did you highlight as the main points and why?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: Clearly we can point out demand increased for support for mobility solutions. However, we noticed that major IT departments don’t address this issue properly. In many cases, IT areas are focused on reacting and this keeps help desk and support staff so busy that they can not stop what they are doing to figure out what is going on and plan the IT department’s future.

RCR Wireless News: What is the trend with companies in Brazil today? How much are they open to consumerization and mobility?
Paulo Roberto Carvalho: I can say that consumerization is no longer seen in isolated cases. Today, it is a reality that affects virtually all companies. We note that there are companies reluctant to accept that these technologies invaded their environment, and there is no way around it. This is also a movement from the bottom-up and from outside to inside. More than considered a wave, it should be classified as a “tsunami.” Moreover, companies are becoming convinced that, even if it was possible to contain the consumerization, this would not be recommended because it could compromise their productivity and competitiveness. Today, mobility, enhanced by consumerization, is a differentiating factor for the survival of many companies.

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