One definition of a mobile worker describes someone who spends time in more than one place or travels as part of the assignment. Today that job description applies to a growing number of us. Think of field agents, contractors, freelancers, sales executives and many more. IDC estimates that by 2020, mobile workers will make up almost three quarters of the total U.S. workforce, bringing the total to over 105 million. Industries like manufacturing, retail and healthcare tend to be more mobile, but others are catching up. Healthcare has the largest population of mobile workers at 18 percent of its total U.S. mobile worker base. The story is much the same globally, with estimates putting the global mobile workforce at 1.75 billion in 2020 — almost 38 percent.
The mobile genie isn’t going back into the bottle, and who would want that anyway? “Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology … has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work,” says Bryan Bassett, IDC research analyst, Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions. Mobility is good for business, because it puts us closer to customers, workflows and colleagues. Businesses – and their vendor partners — just have to keep getting better at it.
No surprise then that organizations and vendors are rapidly gearing up to support these untethered employees. IDC’s Bassett rightly notes that the growing needs of the mobile workforce have spawned solutions specifically designed to meet emerging requirements.
Mobile workflow solutions are getting the attention they deserve, especially through Managed Print Services (MPS). Where there are mobile workers, there are likely mobile documents, and documents, devices and workflow are what bring MPS to the mobility party. Different mobile workflows must be available to keep people connected to their end-to-end work processes. MPS providers have stepped up with technology to allow any end-user device to securely print to any imaging device as part of an overall mobile print solution.
Mobile employees require responsive support from their organizations, and if that support involves an intelligent multi-function printer, all the better. Any time a task or process can be automated by using an MFP, that’s time not being taken from a human employee. Mobile strategies then, lead to more productivity both inside and outside of the office.
These Capabilities Take Employee Mobility to Next Level
Today, MPS can make life much easier for mobile employees and the IT teams that support them. Capabilities like these give mobile workers the tools they need to do their jobs, wherever they are:
Mobile Print Options
The ability to connect and print from multiple devices is critical for today’s workers. Some Next-gen MPS providers offer options for secure, accurate printing from most mobile devices to any printer or multifunction printer, regardless of brand. This makes it easy to print typical Microsoft® PowerPoint®, Word® and other standard files from wireless and mobile devices, whether you’re offsite or onsite. Some MPS providers also give the option of mobile print solutions with an onsite server for your internal network, or behind your network’s firewall, for added control and higher volume use.
Mobile Printing via Cloud
Mobile printing through the cloud easily supports local and remote locations and controls visitors’ printing access. Offerings range from basic free services to more advanced for-fee solutions. For example, a basic version might offer an app resident on the device user panel and enable a simple email to the cloud to pull print jobs to the particular multifunction printer.
Mobile Link from an App
Some next-gen MPS providers offer a free mobile app that lets workers scan, email and fax from an Android or iOS-based mobile device to certain multifunction printers. The app also lets them send data to and print from cloud storage. The app provides one-touch workflows between a mobile device and a multifunction printer. Using a manual address or QR code identification for pairing, automatic device discovery makes it easy to find and pair a mobile device with a nearby multifunction printer.
Mobile workers can print to certain printers and multifunction printers from a mobile device without connecting to a network.
Wherever work takes us, As more organizations depend on mobile workers, they’ll need different tools and systems to make sure these employees stay productive wherever they are.