We'll start with a recent stat. Did you know that 67% of CIOs and IT Professionals believe that mobility will impact their business as much or more than the internet did in the 1990s. In fact, there's a whole host of stats out there that show how important Enterprise Mobility is:
- 61% of workers report working outside the office at least part of the time,
- On average, 3+ devices are used daily by an employee for work activities,
- The number of devices managed in the enterprise increased 72% from 2014 to 2015.
It's just a fact of business life now; to roughly quote General George S. Patton,
"Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Many companies have already adjusted elements of their work practices to account for Enterprise Mobility, but what are the important things that need considering?
1. Enterprise Mobility & BYOD
- At least 67% of workers already use their personal devices for work purposes,
- Up to 88% of IT decision makers feel that BYOD is a positive move for their organisation,
- 59% of IT decision makers believe they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they didn't embrace BYOD.
There's actually a lot to take in within the scope of BYOD. The simple fact is, it's already a thing; at least on some level within businesses. Worryingly though,
77% of employees have received no instruction in the risks of using their own devices at work and less than 10% of all organisations report that they have complete awareness of what devices access their networks.
There's a tangible business benefit of smartly implementing BYOD in the workplace, the convenience level for workers; they know the technology they use all day, every day; they have familiarity and expertise.
The adage, 'you're either a Mac or a PC person', well most technology works that way. It's better to have your team working at their most productive on a device that they can be their most productive using.
Whatever solutions in your workplace that employees may need to interact with will need to be BYOD compatible. There's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, 'Device Agnostic', and it's not entirely a realistic expectation; there are so many different types of devices and even operating systems, that to be truly device agnostic is a lofty goal indeed.
However, the onus is on the employer to know what devices their team are using - and to cater for those. Cloud Storage? Make sure your employees can access it from their device. Virtual Desktops? Ensure whatever solution you choose to integrate into the workplace, it's not just obtainable from the tools your colleagues are using.
2. Enterprise Mobility: Remote Workers
- 77% of companies with >2,500 employees allow remote working,
- 37% of workers in the Americas said that working remotely reduces their access to company information and involvement in team activities,
- Remote workers are 11-20% more productive
If you're going to allow for Remote Working, at least for some of your employees, some of the time, you need to take steps to ensure it works for everyone involved.
Workers need to access much the same facilities from out-of-the-office as they do when they're in. We're talking cloud storage, secure communications, virtual desktops and more.
Many enterprises have their computer systems behind a firewall that could present a serious blocker for remote working, so you'll need to factor in this remote element when planning your infrastructure; equally the software that you use in the office needs to accommodate for remote working,
Software-as-a-Service and App based tools can make life incredibly easy for remote workers and stop that 'closed door' effect that can stifle productivity.
Remote Working in the global sense doesn't just mean somebody working from their home office for 1 day a week, it's not uncommon for workers to be based significantly further away, or perhaps an on-the-road worker needs to be as engaged with the work systems and processes from the other side of the world; are you taking the necessary steps to allow this?
What about meetings? When working in the office, the ability to attend meetings might be taken for granted; if you're rarely in the office though, this becomes a massive blocker to contributing and collaborating.
Many organisations are turning to wireless presentation systems that not just deliver that in-room wirless presentation capability but also allow for connected-meetings to take place where remote workers can join, share & contribute just as simple as if they were sitting on the other side of the desk.
It's immensely frustrating to not be able to access and contribute; to not be able to share and collaborate and just generally be as engaged as somebody in the office can be. Obviously there are things that just aren't practical, but the actual act of working should be (and can be) made to be almost trouble-free.
3. Enterprise Mobility: Security
First things first - Security is paramount. Your company data is an asset that needs protecting, so BYOD presents a hurdle that you need to overcome. Your employees are going to be bringing a whole range of devices into the workplace and connecting them to the network; it's no good if they end up butting their heads against a firewall, but you can't just have open access for any device to get in behind your security settings - finding a balance is the line you need to tread. It's not uncommon for organisations to have different networks for different levels of security access;
VPNs equally can provide a level of security and a solution that suits certain situations. Ultimately, your workers need to get on as if nothing is up, whilst behind the scenes you need to have the digital architecture in place to ensure you stay secure, their devices stay secure and they can access all that they need, when they need it.
For more reading on collaborating across distributed teams check out a few great posts: The Essential Guide to Collaborating with Remote Workers and Remote Access, Wireless Presentation & Collaboration from Distance.