A Finance Director for a pharmaceutical company regularly travels from Leeds to New York State, a lawyer moves from Sydney to Hong Kong after a spell in the Cayman Islands in between, a sales executive flies from Birmingham to Bogota, and the MD of a Manufacturing plant returns to the UK from China fortnightly.
The movement of professional people on this scale was unimaginable 10 years ago.Add to this that 60% of Finance professionals regard mobile technology as a valuable business tool for the whole company and the mobile workforce comes of age.
These results form part of a recent study conducted by us during our roadshow season that also found 71% saying that mobile technology increases efficiency and productivity - seriously widening the gap globally between where workers call ‘the office’.
This globalisation of business is not just reflected in the geographical reach of companies. For starters there is a global indication that all businesses face the same fundamental challenge - a shortage of the right people and skills in the right parts of the world.
Certain industries have also always had to draw on foreign professionals; oil and gas exploration and extraction for example, typically found in non-developed parts of the world where there is unlikely to be much local expertise.The search for energy and rising regulation in the industry means that even as local skills improve, there is still high demand for the "talent" of non-nationals and this often means a reliance on travel and remote working.
Mining for example is a challenged industry ... not only for specific technical skills but also for management and leadership skills and experience that have not had a chance to develop to the level and quantity required by fast-growing economies. Emerging economies too may also look to developed economies to meet skills shortages in areas like infrastructure, construction and engineering and mechanical goods production.
For many companies, the challenge isn’t about sending workers abroad for business, but of picking the right hardware and software solutions to equip its staff for remote working.
However, there is the need to get it right, from both a staffing and productivity standpoint. A deluge of new devices for example, including smartphones and tablets, has brought fresh challenges for corporate technology managers.
32% respondents in our survey viewed security as a barrier however when it comes to allowing staff to drive innovation and use their own mobile devices.
Traditionally, companies have chosen to issue staff with customised, secure laptops. In many cases though, employees find their user experience is severely compromised by the many layers of protection needed to safeguard corporate networks.
One potential solution is to host office software in the cloud.
Instead of running locally on the user's machine, staff can log on to a virtualised work environment through dedicated applications or a web browser. Such an approach allows staff to access a common user interface from a wide range of devices from anywhere in the world.
With Hosted Solutions, businesses really can provide access to all that information while keeping it within a central infrastructure - behind the firewall, if you will, allowing staff to access a common user interface from a wide range of devices.
It is that ability that is continually pushing the technology innovators on the device side to keep coming out with new capabilities, new formats, and yet not put the pressure on the IT organisations that have to service the user community.
What is clear is that with the cloud comes a trend towards greater flexibility in the way that workers can work seamlessly, remotely and globally. Financial services firms in developed countries are sucking in talent from abroad - to work on projects in places like the UK, the US and Australia. And BRIC nations are becoming increasingly likely to employ foreign professionals.
As regulation is introduced in developing countries, new skills are needed – for example in South Africa, Nigeria and even Singapore and Hong Kong where there is pressure to increase regulatory standards in legal and accounting.The advantages are that as well as the company having the ability to post staff in multiple locations, remote working gives employees more autonomy which in turn means that they’ll work harder, they’ll stay connected and organisations can be even more productive.
Add to this that companies are leveraging flexibility by offering tools and benefits for what is really needed for an individual assignee to make working more efficient and the global movement in foreign and remote working can only keep on rising.
Accounting Software | Cloud computing | Mobile | Remote working | Topical
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