Supporting Mobile WorkersBy Tony Kontzer Print
Professional services firms are implementing automation, mobility and document management systems to expand market share and become more profitable.
Supporting Mobile Workers
The increasing use of PSA applications has dovetailed with another area of focus among professional services IT departments: mobile access to data and processes.
Gartner estimates that mobile application development will outpace development for PCs by 2015, spurred in large part by industries that increasingly support a large population of mobile workers, with professional services being among them.
"Supporting the mobile user is a big part of the IT manager's job in professional services," says Richard Fouts, a Gartner vice president.
Under Quinlan's guidance, Deloitte has invested heavily in mobile solutions in recent years, establishing a program in which it supports a variety of smart phones and tablets and governs how they are used. More recently, the firm adopted mobile application development platforms that he hopes will generate apps that the firm’s consultants will find indispensable.
Ultimately, Quinlan says his goal is to use mobile technology not only to support back-office functions, such as submitting time sheets and expense reports, but also to provide services to clients. (He declined to speculate as to what services these might be or how they might be delivered.)
Like the growth of PSA software, cloud computing is a big driver of the move toward mobility. Gartner’s Fouts says that by 2016, half of the Fortune 500 (including many of the largest professional services firms) will be storing customer data in the cloud, and that data will increasingly be accessed from mobile devices.
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