A new report looks at the reasons why big business is slow to adopt wireless technology - and also at the advantages of doing so soon.
So far, wireless technology has made disappointingly few inroads into organisations. A new Deloitte Consulting survey reveals that in 30% of organisations surveyed it had only a minor impact. Most executives surveyed (93%) said that they only use it for voice calls: one in four of them said that their employer doesn't support it beyond that. And yet, logically, it should be an essential part of any comprehensive CRM application.
Senior execs don't understand�
Why this lack of interest? The authors of the report conclude that senior business executives don't understand wireless technology. In fact the survey, which polled more than 650 executives in Europe, North America and Australasia, found that 51% didn't understand its uses and benefits. One in five said that companies are not confident that the technology has developed sufficiently for business yet.
But employees do
However, lower down the chain, three quarters of employees thought that it would help to increase productivity and revenues, and four out of five thought that it would help improve their roles. So much so that surprisingly, some business users are finding wireless so beneficial at work they are even prepared to pay the bills out of their own pockets. Despite the fact that 93% said they use wireless phones for work calls, 28% of employees foot the bills themselves and a further 21% only receive a partial contribution from their employer.
Looking to the future, 51% of respondents said they expect to be using Wireless PDAs and a further 49%, wireless local area networks ("LANs") within four years. Furthermore, 44% expect to be using wireless data for email and information exchange.
Top-down policy needed
According to Deloitte Consulting's Martin Dunsby, companies need to develop a top-down corporate policy on wireless. Indeed, with employees choosing their own wireless technology for work purposes, they could find that they are not only missing out on the benefits to be gained but could also be courting unrecognised risk
It works for Sears
He adds: "Wireless technologies available now can bring major benefits to organizations. There is no need to wait for 3G. The few forward thinking organizations that are already using available wireless technologies are achieving a quick return on investment. At Sears, the US department store chain, a radio frequency ("RF") system beams orders for bulky items to wireless devices on the belts of storeroom staff. This means that products are waiting for the customer at the goods collection point in store. Sears has removed the need for the job of shuttling between till and storeroom in more than 700 stores."
Top ten benefits
According to Deloitte Consulting, the top ten benefits of wireless for business are:
- Gaining competitive advantage: wireless technology can speed the flow of information and improve productivity.
- Quick ROI: break-even periods of less than two years are forecast.
- Saving cost: through time reduction.
- Improved cash flow: faster information speeds cash flow.
- Customer centricity: improving customer interaction.
- Empowering employees: knowledge sharing and improved front line access to data.
- Meaner and leaner: impact on the supply chain.
- Improved agility: more timely and more accurate reporting for management.
- Available now: the technology is ready now; there is no need to wait for 3G, the next generation high-speed wireless transmission standard.
- Broad application: most organizations can benefit from wireless.
Get the Guide
Deloitte Consulting has produced a guide for business managers on the top five wireless technologies most likely to generate business benefit in 2002. Click on the link for this very comprehensive 42-page .pdf document, Top Five Mobile and Wireless Technologies for Business, 2002.