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Authored by Iynky Maheswaran, Head of Mobility
We are living in a period of unprecedented change in the workplace. Employees have grown accustomed to using powerful, always-on mobile devices in their personal lives and are starting to demand the right to use the devices and applications they know and love during work hours as well. Companies that can balance this desire with the need to control security and costs will be able to capitalise on mobility as a source of competitive differentiation.
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As a CIO, your job is to enable your organisation to make the most of mobile technology, using it to increase revenue streams and improve the bottom line. Many companies are stripping CIOs of their power and resources, due to the idea that they don’t add as much value to the business as they once did. The age of enterprise mobility presents a new opportunity for CIOs to prove their value by creating effective enterprise-wide mobility initiatives that drive true competitive advantage.
What is Enterprise Mobility?
Enterprise mobility refers to the shift in business practices from traditional fixed workstations to mobile, always-on employees. To work effectively outside of the office, these mobile employees need secure access to corporate data on their mobile devices.
Enterprise mobility allows workers to become more productive and gives them the freedom to use their own devices—but it also increases security risks. A strong enterprise mobility initiative can help a company take advantage of the benefits of enterprise mobility while also meeting security and compliance mandates.
What are the business benefits of enterprise mobility?
First, a few words on what enterprise mobility can do for your organisation: this isn’t just another trendy topic for industry personalities to go on about. The benefits are real, and they are easy to demonstrate.
Of course, there’s the simple fact that employees want mobility. When workers are accustomed to the power and flexibility of their mobile devices, going back to a fixed workstation can feel a bit like stepping back in time. On the other hand, giving employees what they want—the ability to complete work assignments on mobile devices, including their personal devices—can help you keep employees satisfied and engaged.
In addition, enterprise mobility helps keep workers connected with one another, no matter where they are in the world. The greater level of communication that mobile devices offer helps ensure that projects progress smoothly, and encourages greater levels of innovation through collaboration.
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Finally, since consumers are frequent mobile users themselves, empowering your customer-facing staff to use their mobile devices opens up a new channel for connecting with your customers. By taking advantage of this, you can connect with customers wherever they are, using the messaging that they want to hear, which will help drive up sales numbers and increase revenues.
What is the enterprise mobility situation in Australia?
From an Australian perspective, there is a huge opportunity to be gained when it comes to mobility. Although Australia is a leader in 3G penetration (3rd in the world) and smartphone penetration (2nd in the world), the rates of adoption for enterprise mobility management solutions lag far behind the US and the UK.
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When taken together, these facts mean that Australian businesses are in a great position to make enterprise mobility a part of their overall business strategy, while also learning from the successes and failures of businesses in other countries.
What are the IT challenges involved with enterprise mobility?
When it comes to enterprise mobility, the main concerns from a CIO’s perspective are most likely going to be security and compliance. Allowing a bring-your-own-device policy creates the need to support and account for a much wider variety of devices than ever before, both in sheer number of devices and in different types of devices. This creates a variety of different security concerns, including keeping malware off company networks and protecting any sensitive company data that is stored on employee-owned devices.
In addition, there’s the sheer fact that it’s harder to account for how employees spend their time on their own devices. According to the IDG Connect report “Australia & BYOD”, when most CIOs worry about their employees using their personal devices for leisure rather than work, they are really more concerned about the unintended consequences of that leisure time than they are about the effect it might have on productivity. Since the productivity gains that enterprise mobility can drive are well documented, it seems that the issue is more about ensuring compliance than it is about policing employees.
What does it take to create a great mobile initiative?
Creating a great enterprise mobility initiative requires you to completely rethink the way your organisation operates, and it’s not just an IT thing either. The goal of an enterprise mobility initiative should be to drive business value across the organisation; therefore, IT and the line of business should work together as partners to drive the best results possible.
When developing a new mobility initiative, there are four main steps you should take:
- Prepare your organisation for mobility. This phase involves drawing up a master blueprint that defines what devices you intend to support, how you will roll out your initiative, and how you intend to measure the overall success of your plan.
- Create a mobile app development initiative: Enterprise mobility is about more than just porting web apps over to mobile devices. Your organisation needs to plan for how you can create mobile enablement through a development methodology that inspires rich user interfaces.
- Create a mobile app distribution strategy: How will your employees, business partners, and customers receive the apps that have been built for them? This will take a completely different approach than the one used to deploy applications to enterprise-controlled PCs.
- Create a device and application management initiative: Finally, come up with a plan for how your organisation will manage the devices and applications your employees use.
If, as we reach the end of 2014, your company is just starting to plan its enterprise mobility initiative, then the sad fact is that you’re already behind, and need to be playing catch-up.
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To kick start your journey to a truly mobile enterprise you first need a clear view of your existing mobile fleet. Get a free mobile bill assessment today to get a clearer picture of your current spend and where you could be saving money.