Thais trail in mobile workforce survey

Thailand lags behind the rest of the world in terms of a mobile workforce, according to a new report by computer services company Citrix.

Only 10% of Thai companies surveyed said they were actively working on "mobility" solutions, well below the 21% average for Asia Pacific and 24% global average, said the firm's Workplace of the Future report. Citrix, a company which specialises in virtualisation, networking and cloud-computing technologies, surveyed 1,900 senior IT business professionals in the report.

A mobile work style is defined by workers being enabled to access corporate resources from multiple locations. Mobility solutions include desktop virtualisation, mobile applications, cloud file-sharing and online collaboration and communications services.

Yaj Malik, Citrix vice-president for Asean, said 45% of Thai companies and 83% worldwide are expected to have mobility solutions by mid-2014.

He said only 15% of Thai companies have adopted formal BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policies, where personal mobile phones and tablets are used for work, compared with a 27% rate in Asia Pacific.

Key challenges hindering BYOD policies in Thailand include information security and poor understanding by employees about the risks of using personal devices to access business information.

On the other hand, companies which have moved forward with mobility policies see benefits that include a more flexible workforce, lower costs in maintaining physical office spaces and other employee-related expenses and business continuity solutions.

Allowing workers to access their work from home or elsewhere outside the office results in greater work-life balance, personal productivity, lower commuting time and flexibility, the Citrix survey said.

Employee demand is the main driver for companies to adopt mobility policies, cited by 53% of Thai respondents in the survey.

But Citrix noted that a lack of technology know-how may be a key factor constraining adoption by businesses. Just 15% of Thai companies expressed an understanding that technology is available allowing secure and reliable access to data and applications from anywhere at anytime, through any device.

"Thailand is one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia, thanks to huge demand for a mobile work style, particularly in the financial services, manufacturing, energy, public and telecommunications sectors," Mr Malik said.

According to market research company IDC, smartphone demand in Thailand grew 76% in 2011, with the market overall valued at US$1.5 billion.

"With Thailand just recovering from the devastating floods of 2011, enterprises realise that business continuity is also a key benefit from mobile solutions," Mr Malik said.

About the author

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Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter