Nathan McNeill, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Bomgar, talks about how companies can benefit from going mobile, and how technology is making that switch easier.
Can you provide a little background on Bomgar?
We provide a collaborative remote support solution, in which we focus on a few areas – one’s on the needs of the mobile enterprise, so we’re assuming that the devices you’re using are mobile that your reps are mobile. We also focus on security, since security is always a concern and then around the collaboration ability for a support team to work together to resolve issues on the end system.
Our technology lets you take over an end system and work as if you’re in front of that system. And we have that available to desktop platforms along with mobile platforms.
Are there any industries in particular that you work with? And, if so, why is mobile so important to these industries?
We work across a range of different verticals. We have a fairly strong presence in healthcare and also in governmental services because of our security benefits. We also have a presence in higher education. We work with about 44 of the top higher education institutions in the U.S.
You talk about healthcare and education and other industries – what are the benefits of a mobile work force? Why is it worth the effort?
There are efficiency benefits to be gained from not having real estate. In the last three years, we’ve seen that the real estate business is not for everyone. So companies as a whole are trying to move away from that, and if they can have people working from home or teleworking, there are certain options there that can drive an overall cost benefit.
I think there are some occupations where it’s just part of the job: obviously, if you’re in sales or consulting, you’re going to be mobile. The challenge is how to provide a technology infrastructure that is flexible enough to have the same benefits as mobile workers inside a cubicle. If you went back 10 years you might have an organization that has a double standard where the people who are inside the office have access to things that people don’t have access to outside the office. Increasingly, that double standard had to be broken down. You’ve got to provide the same services across the board. There is a whole segment that is new applications for mobile workers where you get those that are able to be out in the field with the device they’re using, such as iPads in healthcare, even in Department of Defense situations where you might have a rugged laptop or something else that your using for communications purposes or intelligence purposes that may not have been possible a short time ago.
Are traditionally non-mobile parts of a business also seeing the benefits of mobile?
Yes, absolutely. It’s become more of an assumption rather than an exception to the rule, and there are organizations that are making it a proactive shift with teleworking. A lot of government organizations are doing this because of mandates coming down for additional teleworking. Sometimes it is a top-down push, but a lot of times it’s just in the process of doing business. Your employees are no longer in the office as much as they used to be.
One of the things we found was that as we find new employees a lot of the times they want to stay where they currently live. It has become a lot easier to accommodate that with the mobile technologies we have available to us, and it increases the overall productivity of the organization because it means you’re relying less on geographic proximity in order to work effectively with the team. In most large organizations, not everyone is going to be in the same office, so you can train people to work effectively and virtualize teams versus having physical, geographically linked teams. The overall organization can grow in efficiency.
Can you integrate with Android, iPhone and other platforms?
Yes the major ones. We support all the major desktop platforms, too. As we continue we’ve got to stay on top of that like anything and one other application I did want to point out that is specific to our area and one thing that we’ve invested into is around tech support and the ability for a technical support team to be mobile.
You may have a desktop support team or a field service team where they are needed occasionally in the call center, but their day job is mostly out of the office. Or you might have a subject matter expert that’s doing a consulting gig but he’s only needed on occasion escalation from a service desk.
A lot of the time you’ll have an incident that gets halfway through the process of trouble shooting and there’s a snag, but the person who can get you through that snag isn’t available because they’re off servicing a client. If you can quickly bring them in, you can fix it in a minute. If you can’t then it might take a matter of days to get everyone back in the same place before you can fix the problem. That’s the value we see in extending collaboration to the mobile platform.
This article is copyright © 2011