The growth of distributed workforces is transforming the way businesses operate across various industries and geographic regions. As organizations invest in new technologies and devices to facilitate digital transformation, manual workflows continue to pose data security risks.
In a recent global study by SOTI, “When Work is Anywhere: Managing Technology’s Role in the Distributed Workforce,” the healthcare, transportation, and logistics (T&L), warehousing, and distribution sectors were found to be investing heavily in new technologies and devices. But effective management of this expanding distributed workforce is crucial for maintaining productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness.
The SOTI study was conducted online between February 4th and February 17th, 2023, through interviews with 2,500 individuals working in companies with more than 50 employees worldwide. The 2,500 interviews were distributed across eight markets, including the United States (500), Canada (250), Mexico (250), United Kingdom (500), Germany (250), France (250), Sweden (250), and Australia (250).
Rise in Deployed Devices On-Site
Advancements in the IoT, e-commerce, real-time supply chain visibility, and critical communications have driven organizations toward distributed operations. Over the past 12 months, 34% of organizations in France reported a substantial increase in the number of mobile devices deployed within their businesses. This figure surpassed that of Germany (30%), Canada (33%), and Mexico (32%).
Besides, respondents from various industries indicated that the number of devices, including smartphones, scanners, rugged devices, printers, and SaaS applications, had increased over the past year.
Faki Saadi, Sales Director for France, the UK, and Ireland at SOTI, states,
“Over half, (56%) of French businesses are managing at least one new technology they were not managing a year ago. These new technologies offer capabilities in data capture and flow, customer support, and supply chain tracking. However, without a secure infrastructure, these technologies present a challenge for businesses that must equip themselves with means to remotely control and manage these devices and, most importantly, the sensitive data residing on them.”
Growth in Devices, Data, and Security Risks:
The increase in the number of devices has led to a surge in data collection, processing, and storage. This reinforces the need for enhanced security and compliance in data management. 42% of French respondents stated the need for better access control to protect their IT networks, while 34% have increased investments in securing mobile technologies.
Mr. Saadi continues, “When an organization has teams spread across multiple sites, device management becomes complex. Organizations have the responsibility to secure, control, and manage devices and their applications to avoid bugs or cyber-attacks. With the right solution, remote device management becomes easier, thereby avoiding downtime. Visibility and control over mobile operations enable businesses to enhance long-term performance. Similarly, the lack of visibility over a mobile device fleet can lead to unexpected issues, resulting in downtime and frustration for all stakeholders—employees, customers, and the IT department.”
Outdated Processes Threaten Productivity Gains
The advent of the distributed workforce has made the adoption of technology necessary in two ways: one in the form of the physical devices themselves, and the other in the efficient management of all devices in an increasingly spatially spread operational environment.
However, manual workflows continue to play a significant role, with 31% of global organizations still managing workflows manually on paper, while 44% handle them via email. These results indicate that organizations still have a long way to go in truly managing a new digitized operational infrastructure.
Digital Transformation is Key to Optimizing Workflow Management
The unstructured method of manual workflows is particularly concerning in the healthcare sector, where manually-entered information and data may pertain to patients without being secured. Overall, the study reveals that in the healthcare sector, 61% of organizations manage their workflows manually. The sector is closely followed by the legal sector (69%), distribution (59%), and education (59%). The study also indicates that the United States (70%) and Australia (67%) are the countries where manual processes are most prevalent, compared to less than half (46%) in France.