More Outsourced Services Help Companies Support Telecommuting, IDC Reveals

FRAMINGHAM, MASS — Small businesses and telecommuters seem to be a good mix. According to IDC, approximately 9 million Americans will telecommute this year, and more than half of them will work for a small business. Additionally 25% of all U.S. small businesses employ at least one telecommuter. To ensure these employees are as productive at home as they are in the office, small businesses are increasing the amount of support they provide to them.

One way small businesses are supporting telecommuters is by offering remote access to the corporate local area network.

Table 1

U.S. Small Business LAN Owners' Use of Remote Access Technology for

Telecommuters, 1999

All Small Number of Employees

Businesses

Fewer than

100

employees Under 5 5-9 10-19 20-49 50-99

Currently

allow

remote

access

to

corporate

LAN 29.1% 17.3% 31.1% 28.6% 37.2% 54.4%

Source: IDC, 2000

Although small businesses are willing to provide support for their telecommuters, they often need help to do so.

"Businesses that seek to capitalize on cost savings and employee retention benefits require well-planned and well-managed telecommuting strategies," said Mary Porter, senior analyst with IDC's Small Business and Home Office research programs. "However, small businesses often don't have the manpower to implement the strategies, and as a result they are turning to outsourcers for help."

Providers of outsourced telecommuter services deliver the necessary combination of technology, broadband access, management, training, and support to enable corporations to develop telework strategies and achieve efficiencies. Their services run the gamut from planning telecommuting programs to providing the equipment to hiring and training employees to trouble-shooting technical problems.

"Telecommuting enables companies to improve their bottom line by reducing the costs associated with real estate, travel, and overhead. Outsourced services provide the vehicle to monitor and report such progress and demonstrate the value of a telecommuter program," Porter said.

IDC's new report, Outsourced Telecommuting Services: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (IDC #B21226), examines the U.S. telecommuting market and the need for outsourced telecommuting services. The report defines outsourced telecommuting service, reviews the activities service providers could perform, and discusses the advantages of the service. It also forecasts the number of U.S. telecommuters through 2003, looks at the number of small businesses that employ telecommuters, and discusses factors driving and inhibiting telecommuting growth. Finally, the report profiles leading telecommuting service providers. To order a copy of the report, contact Sally Donovan at 800-343-4952, ext. 4219 or at sdonovan@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 42 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group , the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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