In today's mobile technology-empowered world, it's critical for businesses to understand how to use the kinds of technologies that improve business function and increase employee efficacy.
Bring-your-own-device policies are becoming the standard in the working world. A study from Tech Pro Research found that 74 percent of companies were currently implementing or planning to adopt a BYOD strategy that allowed employees to make use of personal smartphones or tablets on the job. Individual industries have benefited immensely from using mobile devices, as well. For instance, according to Forbes, 81 percent of manufacturing CEOs view mobile as a strategically important concept for their businesses.
As the workforce becomes more mobile and employees rely more on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, how can organizations support the adoption and use of these technologies? Here are five tips for companies to make sure their mobile workforce is working effectively and efficiently:
1. Adopt an effective BYOD strategy
Having a successful plan to implement BYOD is an essential first step to enabling your mobile workforce. An effective strategy educates your employees on what is and isn't okay to use at work, limiting which applications and devices are acceptable can also strengthen network security. There are a slew of other advantages of adopting a BYOD policy, including productivity benefits and keeping employees positive about their work environments.
It's important not to simply allow any device on your network – after all, security is one of the many reasons that organizations adopt BYOD in the first place, and in order to support those strategies, you have to know what's on your network. However, allowing employees to bring personal devices gives them autonomy and can help them meet productivity goals.
2. Communicate with employees
Once your BYOD plan is in place, it's critical for you to make sure it's communicated to your employees. This way, they'll be aware of what they can use at work, which can help alleviate confusion in the long run. Impressing on workers the importance of maintaining a strict security policy – and educating them on the benefits of having such a policy – is key, according to TechRepublic contributor Jack Wallen.
"Employees need to understand the risks involved with BYOD," Wallen wrote. "They need to know how important it is to keep anti-virus and anti-malware up to date. They also need to know how best to keep data secure on their devices and that they should never use those devices on unsecured networks. Their education could easily become a class in Mobile Security 101. But better take the time in the front end, than wind up dealing with the ramifications of having an end user unwittingly open your network up to exploit."
"Cloud-based tools support teams that aren't necessarily in the same location."
3. Consider deploying cloud infrastructure
One of the common characteristics of a mobile workforce is that it can be geographically disparate. Cloud-based tools support teams that aren't in the same location, because data and applications are stored in the cloud instead of geographically locked in on-premises data centers. A survey conducted by The Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that 72 percent of IT executives view collaboration to be the top driver for cloud adoption.
"Business agility has been the number one driver for so long, but this time collaboration was just as high in terms of a benefit coming out of the use of cloud," said Abbie Lundberg, contributing editor at HBR. "That includes internal collaboration and collaboration with business partners and other stakeholders."
4. Build digital workplace systems
According to IT research firm Forrester, organizations that implement digital workplace systems can more effectively support employees who regularly use mobile devices to access legacy applications and core services inside company firewalls. By delivering optimal user experiences for applications across devices, locations and work styles, employees can work more effectively and problem-solve more quickly.
5. Invest in unified communications tools
Along the same lines as the previous point, executives want to make sure they're providing the proper technical support to their employees if they want to cultivate a truly mobile workforce. UC tools and voice-over-internet-protocol technologies allow for collaboration between teams and can improve customer relationships by providing more ways for interactions to take place (via text messaging, phone calls and emails, among other channels).
Contact Teo Technologies today for more information about how we can support your mobile workforce.