Whichever side of the WTO debates you’re on, there’s no disputing we live in a world economy. Most Fortune 1000 companies have national and international offices, partnerships with enterprises anywhere from the next state to halfway around the world and customers from New York to Tokyo and back again. Managing mobility is a major concern today, both for businesses and the executives who represent them.
Mobile Enterprise set out to find top-level mobile professionals whose jobs demand they traverse the globe while remaining productive. We’re proud to present four stellar executives who not only meet that challenge daily but do so gracefully through continuous connectivity.
Cheers to them, and to the many trendsetters like them.
President of Wisdom Oral Care, CP2 Distribution and The Joel Warady Group
Calling Joel Warady a busy man is a grand understatement. As president of two international consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and founder of an international consultancy, Warady spends about 30 percent of his time in his office and 70 percent on the road. While based in Wilmette, Ill., Warady can more often be found as far from home as Scandanavia, Australia or The Czech Republic.
As an early technology adopter, Warady has had some form
of mobile computer since Radio Shack’s T1000 (which required downloaded cassettes). He also used a lot of hotel fax machines. Today he uses a Palm Tungsten T3, a Nokia 6310 tri-band phone and a Sony Vaio Tr Series notebook. Warady uses T-mobile for both cellular service and hotspots. He checks e-mail on his Tungsten T3 via his phone and a Bluetooth connection. So far his phone has worked everywhere in the world he has.
“People question why I want the additional stress in my life of always being connected,” says Warady, “and my answer is it’s a stress reliever for me. Because I’m able to get calls and access my e-mail from where I am, I don’t come back to the office and find 200
Warady also believes expectations have changed. “It used to be possible to tell someone, ‘I’ll get back to you within a day or so,’” he says. “Now if someone sends an e-mail and I don’t answer within four hours, they think I’m dead.”
Warady’s companies also use Intuit’s QuickBase, a Web-based content management system, to manage daily sales and inventory reports. When he hot syncs his Palm, all the info is automatically downloaded, so he doesn’t have to open his laptop to stay current on numbers.
“I’m always amazed when people say they don’t find it necessary to stay so connected,” says Warady. “I see my system as just the basics, and I can’t imagine functioning without something similar. It’s necessary to remain globally competitive. My biggest challenge,” he adds, “is keeping up with all this and still getting some sleep.”
VP of Enterprise Data Sales, Verizon Wireless
As a VP of sales, Cindy Patterson’s territory is the entire United States. She manages a team of 28 sales associates and support staff and estimates that she spends a quarter of her time in her office and the rest traveling, meeting customers and potential customers.
Typically, Patterson travels with two Verizon wireless EV-DO cards made by Sierra Wireless (the 580 and 5220), a Dell Latitude D600, two Samsung Pocket PC devices (the i600 and i700) and a palmOne Treo 600. She sometimes carries a Compaq 7000 series LCD projector, but ideally she runs presentations from her handhelds and smartphones. Her arsenal is always rotating. “I switch devices a lot because I always want to be showcasing the latest and greatest technology.”
For one- or two-day trips, Patterson only carries the Treo, enabled with Intellisync e-mail. “I use it for e-mail, phone, calendaring and contacts; I can view attachments and everything. It’s easier going through security at the airport. For me, that’s my ideal way to travel.”
A real-time connection, for Patterson, is just another part of
the job. “I get requests for pricing approvals and contract approvals all the time, and I want them approved in real time. I can’t have my team held up because it’s 8 p.m. and I’m not in the office.” Her team has come to expect a response within 30 minutes.
Patterson doesn’t think it would be possible to do her job without these tools; she recalled a time when, after a trip, she would print everything out that needed her response and box it up to take home. “I would spread everything out and work the entire weekend to catch up from a trip. Today’s tools are like a whole different world.”
David N. Smith
President, Silex Technology America
As president of Silex Technology America, David N. Smith oversees
Silex’s international business, which means monthly trips to the Japanese parent company, as well as to China, Germany and throughout the United States. Smith also drives worldwide product development for Silex, which develops and manufactures Wi-Print, a wireless print solution for travelers (created because Smith felt a need for it). He spends about 10 percent of his time in his U.S. office.
A veteran world traveler, Smith carries a host of devices (and just about every cable and adapter created in the last 10 years.) But he says his new BlackBerry 7230 with T-Mobile service is “probably the coolest device.” Smith’s routine used to involve taking out his laptop at airports to catch up after long flights; now he uses his BlackBerry to see if there is anything he needs to respond to before booting up the notebook. Smith’s BlackBerry works nearly everywhere he does, except Japan. So in Japan he uses a tiny Kyocera local-use phone—as well as an iPAQ 3650 with a GPS system and Powerlock Destinator for directions and mapping.
Scheduling continues to be Smith’s biggest technical glitch. “As a world traveler, multiple-time-zone management is just a nightmare,” be-
cause not all calendaring programs come with time zone options.
Syncing can get really messy. “The BlackBerry has the ability to make this appointment at 10 a.m. in Germany but nothing on the notebook side does that,” says Smith. Being connected makes it possible for Smith to manage a business based in four countries. “If a wheel falls off the cart,
it doesn’t fall very far before I can grab it and put it back on,” he says. “But I’m sure my wife would enjoy me not looking at my BlackBerry once in awhile.”
Senior VP of Marketing, VSpan
Jere Richardson, senior VP of marketing, stays connected via VSpan video conferencing, audio conferencing and Web conferencing. “As both an end user and a company that provides the technology, I’m in an enviable position,” says Richardson. VSpan has three offices, two in the United States and one in the U.K., and consequently a widely distributed work force. In addition, Richardson has daily meetings with customers and partners. But because of VSpan’s tools, he spends about 70 percent of his time in the office and only 30 percent on the road. “We use different technologies for different reasons.” Many of those reasons are driven by a company-wide philosophy about appropriate forms of communications.
As an example, Richardson explained how video streaming is used in weekly meetings for training and updating staff. “We use different methods to do this,” explains Richardson “and we switch that up depending on the kind of meeting.” For an interactive discussion, like input on a new product, Richardson believes video conferencing is appropriate. “We’ll use video to see body language, and it encourages people to be more interactive.” He also adds, “It’s less likely that people will be multitasking [with video] as they do on an audio or
a Web call.”
Then there are times when data just needs to be presented, in which case, an audio and Web conference will work. VSpan saves presentations and meetings as downloadable streams for people who missed them and want to catch up.
Both of these scenarios save time for managers like Richardson and his employees: He doesn’t have to travel to satellite offices to present the same information multiple times; home office employees don’t have to come into the office; and nobody has to reschedule a sales call for a work meeting.
When Richardson does travel, he carries a Dell Latitude D600,
a BlackBerry 957 and an Audiovox 9155 GPX phone. But he says he’s much more of a talker than an e-mailer. He recognizes e-mail as a convenient informational tool, but he’d rather make a call or a face-to-face visit for important information. “Having unfettered access,” he says, “is not always a good thing.” •