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Mobile Computing and Mobile Workforce for Lufthansa

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 800
  • Category: Customer

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1. Are many of the Lufthansa’s challenges identified in the case similar to those being experienced by other businesses in today’s global economy? Explain and provide some examples. 2. What other tangible and intangible benefits, beyond those identified by Lufthansa, might a mobile workforce enjoy as a result of deploying mobile technologies? Explain. 3. Lufthansa was clearly taking a big risk with their decision to deploy notebook computers to their pilots. What steps did they take to manage that risk, and what others might be needed in today’s business environment? Provide some examples.

Ans 1. The specific challenges that Lufthansa faced (as it is aircraft industry) and those that could be generalised with reference to challenges faced by global businesses or businesses working beyond borders, are: Regards workforce:

– Mobile workforce needing to carry state of the art equipment that suffices their work needs (not only technical specifications like notebooks being light as in Lufthansa’s case, but also upgrades and updates, stability and security of data, etc i.e. meeting overall performance capabilities.) – Being able to constantly communicate, input in decision-making, provide training and other value-adding activities during off-home -site periods both to maximize efficiency and reduce downtime – Provide adequate support to mobile operations while keeping a tight lid on cost and being able to justify the investment Regards Customer:

– In businesses that harbour passengers, or mobile customers, or even those which has ‘waiting time’ as an intrinsic part of doing business (like coffee shops, airports etc) it becomes essential in a highly ‘connected’ world that an array of competitive services be provided to these clients other that the essential purpose. The economics of ‘paid’ or being provided for free is a different question. The packaging of your business needs to be competitive and attractive as well as worthwhile for the customer. Examples; Other businesses have also provided their employees with IT mobility, including HP, and many most others. Even traditional, non-IT sectors like several NGO’s are now using these mobile devices for internet and social media based activism (both domestic and international).

Ans 2. Tangible benefits for the workforce would include owning individual laptop or other technologies to use for work, at home and at leisure. Also, costs will decrease for the company because they would no longer need to pay for training facilities, paper copies of training manuals, travel of workforce to training venue as well of the resource persons. All round increased communication leading to a better managed, streamlined, accurate and standardised business processes, for example payroll, time-sheets, joint-decision making etc, eliminating chances of human error. In many departments, such as Sales and Marketing or Customer services and Operations, the value in particular lies in communication and its effectiveness in addressing customer needs, which increases with the use of mobile technologies.

Intangible benefits would include an updated, ‘connected’, and more productive, time-efficient and overall happier employees that could enjoy a more flexible work environment. There is also a line of thinking deployment of mobile technologies and information technology promotes greater accountability and transparency in system, processes and decision-making, thereby an overall ‘fair’ workplace environment.

Ans 3.
• Lufthansa’s undertook concrete steps to ameliorate risks by firstly, making the introduction of the use of mobile technology a very sound proposal to both the pilots and their union, basically ensuring a user buy-in. The political understanding was garnered. Strategically, the process of introduction of computing technologically into Lufthansa was done in phases, for the pilots first and then general deployment, this too was a risk curtailing measure, enabling feasibility assessment and feedback before system /organisation wide implementation. • It was ensured that there were no physical and software glitches or constraints in the use of the computer notebooks by the pilots, and that it suited their work needs and environment perfectly (example, the weight consideration, brightness for use inside cockpits, battery longevity upto 5 hrs etc). They provided the notebooks to update on the move, so that the pilots would not have any trouble with software upgrades and ensured workability in multiple locations (like downtime). Thereby, technical specificities were perfected to suit user- needs. • Keeping overall costs down while achieving greater productivity was an important aspect of this initiative (example, standardised hardware and software platform to reduce support and upgrade costs).

Some other risks, which may be not necessarily, have been overlooked by Lufthansa: 1) Data protection so that sensitive data is not easily compromised (unauthorised corporate data access). 2) For trans- national businesses (as well as national) regulatory requirements and scrutiny is ever increasing in some countries, example In China there are clear limits and government control on internet use. For new businesses, comprehensive knowledge of the (IT) regulatory environment important, so as not to risk violation.

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