Enterprise mobility 4.0: Reaching the extended enterprise

Enterprise mobility has progressed dramatically in recent years. What started as basic email and calendar applications quickly evolved into enterprise mobility 2.0: internal web apps with the ability to sync and share data on corporate-owned devices.

Not far behind v2.0 was v3.0: custom applications with the ability to support business process end-to-end on employee-owned devices. The next logical step in enterprise mobility’s evolutionary process is expanding v3.0 to the extended enterprise.

2015: The year of the extended enterprise

With the sharp rise in temporary and contract employment, the extended enterprise is a more integral part of the workforce than ever before.

Until recently, non-permanent additions have had limited mobile access to the enterprise, but this needs to change. Tasked with a wide range of responsibilities, it is time for organisations to wake up to the fact that in order for contract, field, and temporary workers to be as productive as their full-time counterparts, they need access to the same data.

Enterprise mobility 4.0 makes it possible for the extended enterprise to be more productive while at the same time safeguarding sensitive corporate data.

The result is that organisations and their temporary workforce get the best of both worlds—the freedom and flexibility of enterprise mobility and the peace of mind that comes with securing corporate data.

Making BYOD work for the extended enterprise

The extended enterprise enjoys the same positive benefits from BYOD as their full-time counterparts, so as an IT decision-maker it only makes sense to start thinking about how to incorporate them into your enterprise mobility initiatives.

Up until recently security has been a major obstacle in incorporating fixed-term workforces into enterprise mobility efforts. Thankfully, technology has caught up to address these concerns.

There are two major solutions currently available for managing BYOD initiatives. The first is mobile device management (MDM), which is a holdover from the days when corporate-owned apps were the norm. Under MDM, employees must consent to passing control over their personal devices to the enterprise. This, not surprisingly, can bring up concerns over privacy and ownership.

The second solution, mobile application management (MAM®), offers a more modern approach that can easily be applied to full-time and fixed-term employees.

MAM tackles enterprise mobility on an app level, leaving employees - contract or otherwise - in complete control and ownership of their own devices. At the same time, the enterprise retains complete control and ownership of its enterprise mobile apps.

Through a technique called app wrapping, you can add a host of security features to applications post-development and distribute them to an extended network. Managed by a central administrative console, IT managers can push updates, remotely wipe data, and restrict usage of wrapped apps remotely.

Combined with an enterprise app store capable of displaying apps based on roles or permissions, IT management can feel secure in making enterprise mobility options available to the extended enterprise.

The final key step in the process is providing fixed-term employees with the proper training and background information.

Catering to the extended enterprise

With MAM, enterprise mobility can easily be extended to employees of all types using the same basic IT infrastructure. That is not to say, however, that full-time and fixed-term employees should be managed the same way in all regards.

Due to the temporary nature of their contracts, it is worth creating separate enterprise mobility agreements for the extended enterprise. These agreements need to clearly state what would take place following specific events such as the end of the contract period, termination of the contract, job abandonment, and loss or theft of the device.

Organisations must also consider the fact that contractors generally have less time to dedicate to training than their full-time counterparts, so any required instruction should be scheduled swiftly.

With comprehensive IT solutions that address longstanding security and policy concerns, organisations no longer have an excuse for excluding contract and temporary employees from their enterprise mobility efforts.

Enterprise mobility 4.0 offers significant advantages to companies of all sizes and is poised to spark a marked shift in how organisations manage their extended network.

Alan Murray is Senior Vice President of Products for Apperian.