White Collar Mobility: The Unrealized Potential

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If you’re reading this entry, you are most likely guilty of an all too common disservice to your mobile device: underutilization. However, if you’re reading this entry, you probably know that your Windows Mobile-powered device has more features than email, calendar, and address book.

Sadly, underutilization of the features that put Windows Mobile above competitors such as Blackberry continues to occur in every major city in America amongst white collar professionals looking to gain a competitive edge from the use of a mobile device.

In the June/July issue of Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine, you’ll see my article discussing the challenges of mobilizing information workers in an increasingly mobile world. The strange anomaly of mobility solutions among enterprising white collar industries is that many work force automation tools are already being actively employed by workers in blue collar fields. However, the need for increased productivity in the white collar industries is growing.

When PCs were adopted on a large scale amongst white collar business professionals some twenty years ago, it was quickly discovered that the applications that yielded the greatest return on investment were the ones that were able to deploy business or industry-specific line-of-business-applications. The story is no different today with the increasing presence of mobile technology. The main difference being, mobility allows for productivity out in the field where deals are made and exceptional service is offered. This direct interaction with clients is what makes the use of mobility tools so advantageous.

While nearly all industries have benefited in some way from mobile solutions, few have been able to realize the vast return on investment experienced by task-oriented workers. This large ROI is attributed in large part to the specialization of sophisticated line-of-business applications.

So why hasn’t white collar mobility been given any earth-shattering line-of-business apps? The answer lies not within the technology, but rather within the challenges of identification and implementation of various information tasks. Task automation, on the other hand, is afforded more apparent and straight-forward applications such as meter reading software and lock programming software that may take less pioneering insight to conceptualize.

With the need for industry specific mobile software growing ever larger, I believe that the next few years will yield some very drastic and progressive changes within mobile business software development; specifically within white collar industries. Until then, it is up to a collaborative effort amongst developers, information workers, and industry leaders to find a path to the realization of increased white collar mobile solutions.

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