Enterprises are experiencing the highest global talent shortage in more than a decade. With the overall U.S. unemployment rate currently at 3.9 percent, IT and other technology-dependent business sectors are experiencing particularly acute talent shortages for several reasons, including generational transition and shifting demographics.
As Baby Boomers retire, an estimated 46 million Millennials and other younger workers are entering the workforce with especially high expectations around on-the-job technology, including access to mobile devices they prefer instead of one-size-fits-all corporate IT solutions.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents in recent Jamf research said they are more productive when allowed to use familiar technology – often the same technology that’s at their fingertips 24/7/365. In fact, younger or “NexGen” workers increasingly consider mobile workplace solutions as no less important than the devices they use in their day-to-day personal lives.
Enterprises increasingly understand the importance of implementing a mobile strategy that drives business efficiency while appealing to the next generation of emerging employees. There is also a defensive element at play: 89% of enterprise leaders say their industry is either being disrupted by digital technologies like mobility solutions, or such disruption is only a matter of time. It makes sense to engage employees in efforts to address disruption while gaining competitive advantage.
In this context, with talent shortage on the rise along with the changing expectations among NexGen enterprise employees, it’s important for enterprise businesses to understand the nuances of choosing the right mobility solutions.
Since having access to preferred mobile technologies is of high importance to NexGen employees, an effective mobility approach is critical for businesses looking to recruit and retain them. Enterprise employers must meet this demand by implementing choice-driven technology programs that empower employees and give them options when it comes to their preferred choice of devices utilized within the workplace.
When implementing a choice-driven technology program, it’s critical for enterprise leaders to think about:
- How should a choice program be launched within my enterprise?
- How should we manage the technology to meet business-critical objectives?
- How can we ensure it is safe, reliable and secure?
- How can we best support and troubleshoot these solutions?
There are many complexities when delving into how to best orchestrate a choice-driven program. Most importantly, enterprise leaders must train and augment their IT staff to ensure that preferred mobile solutions are effectively deployed, managed and supported in the workplace.
Oftentimes, taking on a new or more comprehensive enterprise mobile strategy is perceived as a long, painful and costly process that could potentially disrupt business and complicate internal infrastructure. With users (especially NexGen employees) demanding always-on connectivity and 24x7x365 support, few companies can afford to act leisurely when implementing a preferred mobile strategy. Taking time to create an effective mobile strategy lays groundwork for success and is well worth the effort.
When choice-driven technology programs come to mind, offering and supporting solutions that complement the needs of today’s NexGen enterprise employees is critical. Within this process of deploying, managing and supporting these devices, it’s important for enterprises to think about a variety of components.
The emergence of BYOD
Over the last several years, a majority of enterprises (more than 70% by one estimate) have established or plan to establish policies that permit employees to use personal devices for work purposes. These so-called bring-your-own-device strategies (also known as BYOD) have been shown to increase productivity while (in some cases) reducing the cost of mobile deployments – depending on what is being supported on the devices.
The savings, beginning at $350 per employee per year by one estimate from Cisco, have been identified in the areas of hardware, telecommunications, and support. On the hardware side, the employer effectively transitions the hardware purchase and upkeep expenditures to employees who often prefer to use their own equipment. This trend has picked up speed as companies find ways to protect data and intellectual property.
In addition to potentially reducing costs, BYOD also brings ease of use for NexGen employers. Using a personal device with which they are already accustomed can improve employee engagement and innovation and make it easier to train employees on new apps. Mobility is very personal, compared to legacy computer terminals and desktops. By the end of the year, Millennials will account for the highest percentage of workers compared to Gen X and boomers. While workers of all ages usually have smartphones of some kind, employees under the age of 35 are often more eager to personalize their devices and to dive into new technologies (e.g. augmented reality) that are likely to play a growing business role as the digital revolution continues.
Choosing the Right App-Development Process
For the NexGen workforce, device flexibility and usability are important. With this, it’s critical for enterprises to select an app development approach that best suits the needs of customers, employees and the business infrastructure. For instance, when choosing between web-based versus building apps natively – or a hybrid approach bridging both – there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A decision often becomes a trade-off debate between cost and performance requirements. If the goal is developing for a distinctive platform and specialized performance – including features such as offline functionality – designing native applications is more likely to be the preferred approach.
Rapid and On Demand Support
Along with managing choice-driven programs for NexGen employers, enterprises are tasked to support the exponential mobile growth with traditional support options designed for desktop-based devices and apps. It’s evident that today’s mobile devices aren’t used like traditional desktops, and mobile support cannot look like traditional help desk-based troubleshooting for desktops. With mobility being a 7x24x365 asset for most enterprises today, the underlying support infrastructure has to be present to support always-on availability for NexGen employees.
Implementing a choice-driven technology program for the enterprise workforce can be complex, especially considering the ever-evolving digital transformation faced across industries. But competitive pressures will leave few options to building up internal IT resources or finding a more cost-effective solution by investing in a managed mobility solutions provider that offers end-to-end solutions that transform the workplace.
The bottom line is when it comes to productivity among today’s most in-demand workforce, technology preference has to be considered throughout an enterprise.
Marco Nielsen, Vice President, Managed Mobility Services at Stratix
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