It's interesting to note that the remote access marketplace is proving to be a mixed bag for resellers (see story page 78). While the opportunities are there, getting a foothold in the marketplace is not necessarily easy.
Nick Verykios, national marketing manager of networking distributor 1World Systems, believes that the remote access equipment sold today is being used primarily for sales force automation and teleworking projects, at about a 70Ð30 split.
When you consider the number of sales people in the world compared to the total number of employees, these figures seem highly skewed in the wrong direction. A workforce of home-based employees would be an enormous boost to the sales of remote access equipment, but it seems the predilection of major corporates to drag their feet is holding this opportunity back.
According to Nick Hough, president of the Asia-Pacific Telework Association, studies have demonstrated productivity gains from teleworking of around 15 per cent. Not to mention the fact that employ- ees need not travel to work, can stay close to their families, don't require expensive CBD office space, etc.
The Australian public service was the first body worldwide to institute a teleworking workplace award, but only 60 people have been approved to work under it. Likewise, an award at Telstra only covers two people.
Fortunately, Hough says there are also numerous pilot programs operating. NSW Roads and Traffic Authority is trialling a program involving 80 people, while Qantas is experimenting with home-based telephone sales operators.
But it seems that if you want to make a buck in this marketplace you will need to do some evangelising. Hough says it is important to actively sell the proven productivity benefits of teleworking, while pointing out that the cost limitations that stalled projects two years ago no longer exist.
For further information on teleworking call:
Asia-Pacific Telework Association
Tel (02) 9241 2933 Fax (02) 9241 5354
Tel (02) 9902 2748 Fax (02) 9438 2410