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Mobile Access To Software: A Tremendous Opportunity (Part 2)

Continuing from yesterday, this IFS survey examines how and why manufacturing professionals will access enterprise data remotely.

The following IFS survey offers an overview and extensive projections on remote access to enterprise data.

This study was conducted by IFS North America and Mint Jutras, an independent research-based consulting firm that specializes in analyzing the business impact of enterprise applications. This is part two of a two-part survey. Partonecan be found here.


In mid-2011, a study was conducted among manufacturing executives and professionals of middle market to large manufacturers to better understand their interest in and demand for mobile device access to enterprise applications.

This study illuminates:

  • how enterprise software is currently accessed via mobile devices
  • what types of mobile applications and interfaces respondents are most interested in
  • how mobile interfaces may change the way we work.

Major Areas Explored

  • Which mobile devices are used now and anticipated replacements
  • Where and how people access (or would like to access) enterprise software from a mobile device
  • Priority placed on the mobile interface
  • How much time respondents spend working remotely
  • The degree to which respondents work outside of normal business hours
  • How the amount of personal time spent may increase or decrease with mobile access to enterprise software

Key Findings

  • Manufacturing professionals view the mobile interface as an important consideration in enterprise software selection
  • Few respondents currently rate access to enterprise software from their mobile device highly and many have no access today
  • The mobile interface is more important to respondents who regularly work during personal time than to those who work primarily during business hours

Places people are most likely to work from outside the office


Where people work outside the office has a bearing on the priority of mobile access. Those working at home, in hotels or on customer sites may have access to a reliable internet connection in these locations, as well as a suitable place to work on a laptop. But in public places like restaurants, taxi cabs and airplanes, the lack of a stable wireless connection and the lack of a suitable work surface make mobile access more critical.

Priority of Mobile User Interface

The vast majority of respondents indicated that during software selection, the mobile interface for an enterprise application was as important as other features. Overall, 82% said the mobile interface was either the most important feature or as important as other features.

Lifestyle and Productivity Impacts Mobility

  • Today the lines between work and private life are blurred, even in a traditional brick and mortar industry
  • Mobile access to enterprise software can facilitate this blended lifestyle, but what impact will it have on the way people work, how often they work and where they work?
  • Will this drive new productivity for people who spend time in transit or in other locations where a hand-held, mobile device is the only viable tool?
  • Will it cause work to increasingly encroach on personal time?

Time Spent Working Remotely During Business Hours

Most respondents spend at least four hours per week working remotely. Often this translates into one day a week spent working outside the office, either through travel or in search of quiet time away from the office. Most homes are now connected and reducing the cost of commuting is desirable.

Frequency of Requiring Access β€œOn the Move”

Working on Personal Time

Meanwhile, the majority of respondents report working on personal time either every day or several times a week. Work-life balance advocates may wonder about the degree to which always-on connectivity to the enterprise system may cause individuals to work more on personal time and how much this may disrupt private lives.

Would remote access cause you to work more outside normal business hours?


  • Mobile access to enterprise software appears to be a tremendous opportunity to increase productivity given that additional work can be completed while in transit, both inside and outside of work hours
  • While mobility is far from a universal feature today of enterprise applications, as software users recognize the value, software providers must necessarily respond with features and functions
  • The ability to connect and respond immediately improves productivity and far outweighs the cost of the intrusion of a mobile device


  • This research was conducted collaboratively with Mint Jutrasand IFS North America, the Americas subsidiary of a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and other enterprise solutions
  • The study was executed in June of 2011 and was administered over the Internet among subscribers ofManufacturing Business Technology (MBT). Respondents were pre-qualified for using both enterprise software and a mobile device. Individuals were further qualified for being employed in companies estimating 2010 revenues at $100 million or more
  • In total, 281 corporate, operations, and IT executives and managers in manufacturing companies participated in this study

About the Respondents and Their Facilities

  • Respondents to the study were largely senior IT and manufacturing operations personnel.
  • A broad range of industries were represented and included aerospace/ defense, food and beverage, medical devices, computer systems and peripherals, chemicals, wood and paper, metals, etc.

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