A guide to enterprise mobility

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Mobile working can provide companies with an array of benefits, including flexibility, scalability and business continuity. Forward-thinking businesses should examine their current mobile working arrangements and devise a strategy for employees to work on the go if they have not already done so. As Gartner forecasts that global IT spending looks set to reach $3.8 trillion (£2.3 trillion) in 2014, experts are predicting enterprise mobility will play a greater role for businesses over the coming years. Indeed, the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the market for enterprise mobility solutions in China will reach $4.67 billion in 2017.

Benefits of mobile working

Chief among the myriad benefits of mobile working is flexibility for both employers and workers, as employees can work when and how it best suits them and make optimal use of their time 24/7.

Business continuity problems such as heavy snow, flooding, traffic congestion, epidemics and other disruptive occurrences can have a major impact on an organisation – something that can be mitigated by having enterprise mobility plans in place. According to the London Chamber of Commerce, the 2012 Olympic Games saw 1.5 million of the five million workers in the capital operate from home.

Furthermore, mobile working can be easily phased in by businesses, offering excellent scalability and the opportunity to integrate mobile devices through back end systems. This provides significant scope for future expansion for a relatively low cost, potentially boosting market share and profitability.

Implementing a mobile working strategy

Companies such as Canopy can assist businesses looking at ways of implementing an effective approach to mobile working. The cloud offers an ideal location in which to store information securely and remotely, allowing access as and when individuals require it.

The focus of enterprise mobility policies needs to be the processes and structures in place to facilitate effective mobile working in order to achieve the best results. Recent data from the IDC indicated that over one-third (37 per cent) of organisations in India cite mobility as a leading IT priority over the coming fiscal year, as resource optimisation and productivity demands lead to a shift from “’mobilising the people’ to ‘mobilising the business processes’”.

BYOD and enterprise mobility

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) allows members of staff to work while they are on the move, facilitated by improved processing speeds and superfast connectivity. Indeed, it was recently announced that mobile coverage will even be available in the Channel Tunnel.

Smartphones and tablet devices have become increasingly popular with consumers as well as businesses, with Deloitte recently predicting that by the end of January 2014 over half of UK consumers will own or have access to a tablet. This familiarity with the technology can make employees more efficient when using handheld devices in the course of their work and tech companies are targeting the business market with their product offerings.

Overcoming potential challenges

Potential challenges to BYOD and mobile working can include overly secure networks, with organisations advised to ensure they walk the fine line between too much security and too little. The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK recently issued a reminder to organisations to consider the potential risks associated with BYOD when it comes to the use and safeguarding of personal data. Conversely, Camden Council’s chief information officer John Jackson has cautioned against overly stringent security rules in the public sector, as these can have a negative impact on BYOD and innovation.