In short, no. Many office workers will continue to have a business phone on their desks for the foreseeable future. However, more employees have begun to use their personal mobile devices (aka consumerization of IT ) as their primary mode of communication while out of the office and the trend will continue. Tethered phones are a common sight in offices, yet walk into any office and many workers will be walking around and conducting business on mobile phones.
Furthermore, read any mobile industry article or BYOD trend analysis, and you’ll get the sense that organizations are throwing out their desk phones en masse and allowing or even encouraging employees to use their mobile devices for business. But to mobilize your workforce and allow them to BYOD, it’s not as simple as reimbursing your employees for their phone bills.
Time to Go All Mobile hits on many decision making factors for whether an organization should ditch the desk phone. Before replacing that desk phone, there’s cultural, technical, financial and security requirements to take into consideration. We’ve seen a similar mindset shift when laptops became powerful enough to replace desktops. Organizations successfully adapted and deployed corporate laptops. They crafted new policies for mobile workers, implemented data security measures, and trained their laptop-enabled knowledge workers.
The shift from conducting business on desk phones to conducting business on mobile devices is very different from the shift from desktop PC-based workers to laptop-based workers. It used to be that we expected employers to provide all the necessary tools, but now many people want to use their consumer device for work. In the past, when a worker needed to be on the road, corporate IT issued both the laptop and BlackBerry which were secured and pre-loaded with the approved business applications. Today when an employee uses a mobile device for business instead of their desk phone, there’s a good chance it’s their personal iPhone or Android device. It’s an interesting shift.
While workers want a mobile solution, the desk phone is not headed the way of T-rex. Like desktop PCs, desk phones will continue to be seen in offices while workers increasingly use their personal mobile device for work. For many of us a mobile solution is another tool in our communication toolbox and not a replacement for the desk phone, yet.