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How to navigate the rise of enterprise mobility

(Image credit: Image Credit: Varnish Software)

The world is mobile. We use our smart phones for everything and this goes well beyond the device and its features. Whether you’re texting, emailing, socialising, web-surfing, buying, researching, reminiscing, dating or entertaining, mobile is culture. It’s how we connect and experience our lives both personally and professionally. Naturally, this habit is extending into work lives and enterprises need to keep up if they want to remain competitive. 

Nowadays, 61 per cent of enterprise workers work outside the office at least part of the time and have more than three devices that are used daily by an employees for work activities. With the continued shift in mobile enterprise level work force, it’s never been more important for enterprises to adapt to these new trends so their company isn’t left behind.  

To help provide a better understanding of how this mobile phenomenon will impact the enterprise space, here’s an outline of trends to look for, why it will benefit your business as well as some potential challenges we could face.   

 What are the benefits of going mobile?

There are many positives to a mobile culture – the most impactful being the freedom to work away from your office at the convenience of your handheld device. Mobile culture also offers increased productivity.  

  • Convenience – Workers love the freedom of NOT being tethered to an office. They can pick up their kids and still be responsive to their co-workers.
  • Speed – With mobility, workers can meet from anywhere in the world and make critical business decisions. You don’t need the expense of travelling or the lead time to get everyone into the same conference room. They can call it in.
  • Productivity – The ability to work from anywhere, anytime increases everyone’s productivity, and that benefits the large enterprise.
  • Morale – Workers are happier when they have a sense of control over their schedules and their lives. Higher morale results in more creativity and productivity at their tasks.

Challenges of enterprise mobility and how to resolve them 

Mobility offers the freedom from being tethered to a desk for 40 hours a week. You can make a doctor’s appointment, see your kid’s soccer game and still be productive. But it’s a double edged sword. How much of that soccer game do you actually see when you are looking down at your phone? You’re physically there, but not emotionally present. And the reverse is true. If you are responding to an important office email from your phone, from the soccer field, are giving your co-workers giving your best quality?

As an enterprise, there are several ways that you can encourage a mobile culture without sacrificing the quality of work due to overlap from personal and professional lives. Following are some simple rules as a company that your employees can appreciate. 

  • Don’t expect an immediate response to email. It’s okay to respond in 24 hours.
  • Respect people’s personal time. If it’s not a crisis, hold-off on “pressing send” until you know your co-worker can focus and respond.
  • Face time is special time. In the rare occasion that you are meeting with your colleagues face-to-face, use it for just that. Put the phones away. In person, is still more productive than web-conference. You can see someone’s expression, reaction and body language to gage their interest and confidence in an idea or project. There’s no hiding in person, the way you can in a webinar.

Another common concern for a mobile workforce is security. Controlling their data and IP on disparate mobile devices is a challenge. However, seeing that mobile is not going away, CIOs should develop a policy that embraces mobile work culture and increases productivity through mobile.  

One option to mitigate risk is to provide company-owned mobile devices to your employees. However, as more information is stored on the Cloud and synchronised to various devices, it is becoming even more difficult to separate the company data from one’s personal data.

A better long-term option is to employ Apps and Services created specifically for business. This goes beyond calendars, contacts and email. Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 per cent of business coordination will be done using collaboration tools, meaning that businesses will have access to even more CRM, presentation management, human resources and content tools for enterprise resource planning.  Some of the major players, i.e.: Salesforce, SharePoint, etc. have already shown us how these apps will not only empower our mobile workforce but ultimately will let enterprise companies control their data.  

There’s a direct correlation between the employee mobile experience and security. If the App is easy to use and makes employees more productive, they will use it. And they will be less inclined to create their own work-around. And if they are relying on the App, then that means all of their data that they produce for their job is still under the enterprise’s control. So choose an App and/or service that is tailored to your employee’s specific workflow needs.

Why mobile will shape the future of your workforce 

The mobile culture certainly benefits all workers, but as millennials, and even Gen Z look to enter the workforce, these so-called benefits will evolve from “nice to have” to “need to have.”  

Millennials have grown up in a mobile culture, to some degree a mobile only culture. They have grown more accustom to the likes of Snapchat instead of email. They meet dates on Tinder instead of at a party with friends. And spend more time watching videos on their phone or laptop versus an actual TV. On the flipside, growing up with the advent of the Internet of Things taking hold in every industry, Millennials have a very entrepreneurial mindset and can see possibility and opportunity where typically large enterprises may be stymied.

It’s clear that mobile will continue to be a dominating factor in today’s workforce so if you are looking to improve your business, create a more efficient workflow and agile work environment that younger generations want to work in, it’s critical that your enterprise company incorporate mobility into their business strategy.  

AlexAnndra Ontra, Co-Founder, Shufflrr
Image Credit: Varnish Software

AlexAnndra Ontra, Co-Founder of Shufflrr, oversees client services, sales and marketing. Alex applies her expertise in Presentation Management to service Shufflrr’s broad array of clients including Royal Caribbean, ADP, and Time Warner.