Information Workforce Approaching "Mobile Majority"

Almost half of U.S. information workers already split time between home, office, or other locations

U.S. companies aren't just going mobile. According to a new study from market watcher Forrester Research, they've gone mobile.

Almost half of U.S. information workers already split time between home, office, and other remote locations, Forrester says.

That's just one finding in Forrester's US Workforce Technology and Engagement Online Survey, which collected responses from almost 5,000 U.S. information workers. Just over half (53 percent) of rank-and-file information workers are immobile, Forrester reports, while slightly more than a third (35 percent) of managers and supervisors say they're tied to their offices.

Among directors or executives, this number drops to just one in 10.

"Looking out five years, Forrester sees three technology 'trains' impacting the future of workforce productivity, innovation, and advocacy. All three of these trains have left the station: enterprise mobility, enterprise social, and cloud services for business," said Forrester vice president Matt Brown, in a prepared release.

"We expect a tsunami of mobile user demand for access to portals, productivity tools, and back-end transactional and reporting systems as these devices make it into the hands of the broader workforce."

According to the survey, Research in Motion (RIM) has the largest installed base, with about 42 percent penetration among information workers, in spite of the fact that rivals Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are coming on strong. Google's Android platform is second, used by just over a quarter (26 percent) of workers. Apple has the third-largest installed base, with 22 percent.

Gen Y workers (those aged 18-31) are two times more likely than baby boomers to use social tools; in spite of this, social use in the enterprise continues to lag, posting no better than a 12 percent adoption rate.

One reason, according to Forrester, is that enterprise-oriented social technologies have a seven-year lifespan. As a result, the social "market has failed to displace traditional collaboration technologies like email as a preferred way to communicate at work," said the Forrester statement.

Tablet devices are already having an impact, Forrester says: 11 percent of information workers are using them, in some capacity. "Despite a tablet market that's barely a year old, this is astounding growth," said Brown.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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