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The mobile device disconnect

We have all heard about it: “The death of the PC”. Mobile devices are replacing the need for more full functioned computers. Right? That is why IDC predicts a 4.9% decline in PC shipments in 2015– this is on top of the 6% decline they predicted in 2014 (actuals were 2.1% decline) and the 10.1% decline predicted in 2013 (actuals were 9.8% decline). You read this and you can’t help but come to these drastic conclusions and wonder if mobile devices are up to the task . . .

A new commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Citrix, shows the opposite behavior when it comes to how people use devices (vs. what they are buying). In this study, questions were asked to information workers at organizations with more than 1,000 employees around the increasing number of devices and applications they use and locations where they prefer to work. In reviewing the results, there were three key takeaways for me:

  1. Mobile devices are the preferred devices in most locations. . . As much as people want to use their mobile devices for work, PCs – both desktops and laptops – are the preferred devices when sitting at an office deck. While this shouldn’t be a surprise as your desk is where you do real work, it was surprising that the desk is the ONLY place where a PC is the preferred device. Every other location or situation, such as at home, while traveling, in a different room at work (meeting room), etc., a mobile device is preferred over a PC. Without further information, this would lead me to believe that maybe the rumors of the death of the PC may have merit…
  2. . . . But PCs are the preferred devices for real work. This is where things get interesting. When asked which device they would prefer to use for a set of applications, such as email, internet browsing, office productivity tools (think Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc.), and more, PCs again won out…and by a wide margin! As an example, 91% of information workers said they prefer using a PC for office productivity suites compared with only 4% that prefer a mobile device. This may seem obvious, but similar results for other apps as well: 76% prefer using a PC for browsing the internet vs. 22% that prefer a mobile device and 58% prefer a PC for email, while only 39% prefer a mobile device. So, despite an overall preference for mobile devices when not at an office deck, the reality is the PCs still are preferred when it comes to getting work done.
  3. The disconnect? Mobile devices are not provided access to tools needed to get work done. When asked about the ability to access applications and data on a mobile device, only 40% of information workers said they could access the apps they need on a mobile device and 34% said they could access data on that device – this compares to 77% and 74%, respectively, who feel they can access apps and data on their laptops. Other comments we heard were frustrations around the inconsistencies in experience when moving between devices. So, now it begins to make sense: while mobile devices the preferred form factor, the access and experience available make them hard to use.

Thankfully, this is a problem that can be solved with technologies available today. Mobile workspaces seamlessly and securely unite all apps, data and services and deliver them to people on any device. With these technologies, people get access to the exact same tools on their mobile devices as they have on their PCs, making the mobile device a full class citizen in the quest for productivity.

To get more details and hear what Forrester has to say, read the March, 2015 Technology Adoption Profile “Maximize Productivity And Security With Mobile Workspaces” here or listen to the Citrix on-demand webinar, entitled Five Forces Driving the Need for Mobile Workspaces with a featured speaker from Forrester Research.

Or, if you are experiencing similar challenges, take a look at how Citrix Workspace Suite can prevent the mobile device disconnect in your organization.

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