The Vodafone Critical Response Time Index, which examines the changing attitudes of UK organisations to e-mail behavior and is now in its second year, revealed recently that one-third of UK organisations still expect an e-mail response to a new business enquiry within two hours.
Of more concern is the growing trend for organisations (up 11% on 2007) to expect an answer to an e-mail enquiry within half an hour. According to survey respondents, the cost of these lost opportunities averages 18 840 pounds ($35 000).
The Index also reveals that the pressure from needing a quicker turnaround and the potential financial loss is causing a problem in the workplace. More than one-third of respondents could relate to occasions when the lack of easy access to e-mail when away from the office has caused an issue.
In response to the growing use and availability of mobile e-mail, Vodafone extended the Index this year to ask a number of additional questions. This exposed a growing demand for e-mail access on the move, and uncovered a number of benefits to be gained from more widespread adoption.
For instance, 42% of respondents said that in order to work efficiently they require the ability to access and respond to e-mails when away from the office during work hours. Over half of those surveyed were of the opinion that all employees will need mobile e-mail access in the future, with some 12% of employees and one in five employers believing that this requirement is already a necessity.
The survey also identified that three out of 10 workers are upset to find an inbox full of new messages when they return from meetings, whilst 17% feel anxious when they are 'off-line'.
About one-third of the workforce believes that the absence of mobile e-mail access leads to wasted time, such as between meetings or travelling to events.
This figure doubles amongst road warriors, such as service engineers, who spend a significant amount of time out of the office. The average amount of time wasted across a typical working month equates to 31 hours.
Enterprise mobility should be firmly on the IT department's agenda as the demand for flexible working increases and there is greater pressure on the IT department to incorporate mobility solutions. There is now enough evidence to justify spending on mobile e-mail, as well as applications, services, and integration of technologies.
Mobilisation of e-mail is now an operating imperative, and not just for a selected few senior executives, but for all customer-facing employees.