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Mobile is failing over two-thirds of frontline workers

New data shows frontline workers are experiencing a global increase in mobility problems which negatively impact their work and their company

As Covid-19 continues to affect countries across the globe, two-thirds of frontline workers are experiencing mobile issues each month that impair their ability to do their jobs – a rise of 16% compared with the same time last year, according to research from B2M Solutions.

For its third Annual state of enterprise mobility survey, the enterprise software tools provider surveyed 1,505 companies across the US and Canada (33%), the UK (33%), France, Italy, Germany and Spain (33%) using an independent market researcher, in September 2020.

The provider screened the pool of survey respondents to ensure they depended on a mobile device to do their job daily, while IT worker respondents were screened to ensure they were in charge of supporting mobility in an enterprise. There were over three million devices under management by IT respondents in the survey.

The survey found that 87% of IT workers had some form of tools in place to proactively monitor and manage their critical IT infrastructure. Despite 97% of companies in the survey having a device management tool such as MDM/EMM to manage mobility, only 2% of these companies said these tools allow them to proactively manage and control critical issues. 

Poor or unstable Wi-Fi or mobile coverage was experienced by 70% of workers. Almost two-thirds (63%) flagged that enterprise device batteries drained very quickly and did not last an entire shift, while 62% reported that the mobile apps they use often crash. Almost half (44%) said their device reboots itself for no apparent reason.

But B2M said these findings were just the tip of the iceberg. Alarmingly, it found that 85% of monthly mobile issues go unreported to IT, up from 80% last year, and almost half of IT managers (48%) admitted to an increase in the number of worker-reported issues over the last 12-18 months.

The company also warned that with Covid-19 still forecast to plunge the global economy into the deepest recession since the 1940s, the spotlight on the impact these issues are having on company financials has never been more acute.

One of the most worrying business issues flagged was the potential of lost worker productivity. IT workers reported a loss in productivity, with 88% of IT reporting that it takes 30 minutes or longer to resolve mobile issues – time that could be used to service customers.

Also, almost three-fifths of respondents (58%) reported that mobile issues had caused their companies unnecessary costs. B2M calculated that these total costs, over five years, were likely to account for 80% or more of the enterprise’s total cost of ownership of mobile devices. 

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The survey noted that increased costs from IT related to a high percentage of unnecessary swapping of healthy batteries and devices in an attempt to resolve workers’ mobility issues quickly.

Another knock-on effect of mobile issues was lost revenue. Just over two-fifths (41%) of companies reported lost revenue due to mobile device issues and downtime. Also, two-thirds of workers reported having at least one issue a month with their mobile device and each device taking an average of 30 minutes to fix.

Given this, B2M concluded that it was no wonder more than one-third (35%) of the companies surveyed had reported lost customers.

Another issue highlighted in the report was increased stress. Three-fifths of workers felt stressed when their job could not be done because of mobile issues. To compound this, 44% faced anger and rudeness if mobile issues affected their ability to service customers effectively. 

“Despite the enterprise’s growing reliance on mobile devices and applications, the number of mobile issues affecting a worker’s ability to do their job is on the rise,” said Gary Lee, chief revenue officer at B2M Solutions. “Clearly there is a need for better solutions that provide more detailed analytics alongside real-time visibility.

“Proactively spotting and fixing problems, and in some cases even predicting them, is the key to empowering frontline workers and IT teams with the tools they need to keep mobility up and running. Without them, we risk more disruption, lengthier downtime, poorer customer service and higher costs – all of which companies can ill afford as we look to a more positive pathway into 2021.”

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