Preparing for the mobile workforce

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By Niven Perumal, Product Manager Vox Telecom

The days where employees are confined to desks in front of a company-owned-
and-controlled personal computer are long gone. Workers are increasingly mobile,
jetting off to different locations around the country (and the globe), and they no
longer keep office hours, preferring to fire off emails and complete tasks on the road
and from home.

This was when we first saw the concept of BYOD (or Bring Your Own Device),
and with it, Mobile Device Management, enter the market. The premise behind Mobile
Device Management was, initially, the need to control the data employees were
accessing - mainly for security purposes and to curb the abuse of company Wi-Fi.

The first phase of MDM was concerned with restricting information - and with
good reason. If a CEO?s IPad, containing the latest pricing strategy, was stolen, the
IT department had to be able to remotely shut down the device to prevent a
competitor from accessing it. Likewise, if an employee left the company?s service, so
would their smartphone - with all the potentially sensitive emails contained on it.

Since then, we?ve seen Mobile Device Management move away from restriction
and refocus on enablement. In simple terms, it?s no longer about what employees
shouldn?t be doing with their smart devices, but about all the things that they should
be doing.

A recent study surrounding the "evolving workforce' (sponsored by Dell and
Intel) has shown that the vast majority (69%) of IT leaders have one goal in mind
when it comes to allowing smart devices in the workplace - increased productivity.
When employees are able to choose the technology they can use, along with their
degree of mobility, they become more efficient. Moreover, employees are insisting on
specific devices when they enter a new job - it?s become the norm, not the
exception.

Employees also feel the need to work from their personal devices, wherever they
are - with less than two thirds of global employees surveyed stating that they feel
they "can get their work done in a traditional 9 to 5 schedule'. The devices that the
average employee is able to use, and has at his or her disposal, are becoming part of
their skillset.

This has meant that companies are not only preparing for a mobile workforce,
they are ensuring that they get as much mileage out of mobile as they can. We?re
seeing companies build more efficient apps to speed up sales processes. A banking
company could, for example, send a consultant to a client?s office. There he or she
could, using their smart device, sit in front of the customer, quickly profile them,
send the data off for a credit check and then complete the sale in minutes. And then
top it off with a quick confidential survey to gather information for further
campaigns.

Company-owned devices will have similar built-in functionality so that employees
won?t have to configure their Wi-Fi settings or set up their intranet - they will
receive their tablets with the applications in their browsers, along with Microsoft
SharePoint applications so that product sheets can be viewed on- and offline for
easy access during sales calls. Rather than email customers information - by which
time the sale might have gone cold - representatives can instantly access and
present information to clients face-to-face.

Cloudware, revolutionary application delivery software, is being packaged into smart
devices, so that employees can load their CRM programmes (such as Salesforce.com)
onto their devices and complete or update proposals and contracts on the road.
Digital signatures will ensure that documents are signed off by clients right away.

The working world is on the move - and your company can?t afford to be left
behind. Ensure that you are putting mobile device management tools in place that
not only restricts workers? activity, but also enables them to do a lot more.

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