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What type of mobile worker rules your company?

Shane O'Neill | Feb. 18, 2011
From wannabes to mavericks, today's four types of enterprise mobile workers demand unique IT strategies, Forrester says. Here's their advice on how IT can serve a diverse, roaming workforce.

Profile: Task workers are usually delivery drivers, retail sales employees and field service employees who do not work at a desk. Their work consists of specific physical tasks and they frequently use mobile devices to do their jobs. Task workers are mostly found in the transportation, retail, healthcare and manufacturing industries.

Mobile task workers now account for 11 percent of all corporate employees, according to Forrester, and will grow to 13 percent by 2015.

Mobile task worker

Mobile Devices and Apps Used: Task workers use mobile devices with specialized, industry-focused applications. The mobile devices tend to be ruggedized, and the apps are usually native applications on a single platform that address specific activities such as deliveries. A good example of a task worker application is an "automatic vehicle location" app for the transportation and distribution industries.

IT's Role: Because task worker devices and apps must be standardized by the enterprise, the corporate IT department is in charge of mobile device purchasing and application decisions. For these reasons, IT considers task workers to be official mobile employees and IT has control over the devices and applications that task workers use.

Mobile Wannabes

Mobile wannabes

Profile: This is the segment gaining the most momentum, according to Forrester. Mobile wannabe workers are in their mid-20s and work primarily at desk jobs in an office. They do not use company-sanctioned mobile devices or get mobile support from corporate IT. Examples of mobile wannabe roles include executive assistants, clerical personnel and customer service reps.

Nevertheless, these wannabes are determined to use their smartphones for work and their ranks are growing. Mobile wannabes accounted for 16 percent of all corporate employees worldwide in 2010, but by 2015 the segment will grow to 30 percent, according to Forrester. This momentum is stoked by Millennial workers who grew up using mobile phones and are now entering the workplace.

Mobile Devices and Apps Used: Mobile wannabe workers tend to walk in the door with an iPhone, Android phone or BlackBerry as their personal mobile device. Compared to all other segments of a company, mobile wannabes are the most comfortable using smartphones. They use many mobile apps for personal activities like social networking, but are eager to use their smartphones for work e-mail and intranet access.

IT's Role: Corporate IT does not directly influence the mobile device selection of mobile wannabes because they are mostly desk workers who purchased their own smartphones. Therefore, IT does not consider these employees to be official mobile employees.


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