Till the beginning of this millennium, workplaces had clear boundaries, even if they were in technology companies. Once you left the workplace, even accessing official email servers or work calendars was almost unheard of, let alone access to work data or applications. Things changed when the Blackberry devices gained prominence, but their use was initially limited to very senior executives only, with the rest of the workforce having to wait till they logged in at work before they could access their employer’s network, data, and applications.
Although the company no longer supports those devices, that was the start of what we know as enterprise mobility today. Businesses increasingly began to encourage employees to use appropriate devices to access the enterprise network. Three years back, the onset of the pandemic made working from home a necessity rather than a choice. As the world limped back to normalcy, hybrid working, a flexible combination of coming to the office and working from home, entered the corporate lexicon.
So how do we define enterprise mobility? Enterprise mobility solutions refer to secure business devices, wireless networks, and other support like the cloud, mobile and web applications, and process management software that are provided to employees to enable them to work from any location. While it helps companies be more agile and efficient, there are some roadblocks and bottlenecks to implementing such mobility solutions seamlessly.
What prevents enterprise mobility?
Enterprise mobility usually takes one or more of three approaches –
- BYOD (Bring your own device), where employees are allowed to use their personal mobile devices
- COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled), which allows companies to control the applications used from the device
- CYOD (choose your own device), in which the employee can select a device approved by the company
The choice and use of appropriate devices are just one aspect of enterprise mobility solutions. These solutions involve giving access to the networks and the appropriate applications, and most importantly, the data usually stored on the cloud. This brings in complexities that inhibit companies from complete adoption. Let us look at some of the reasons that make enterprise mobility difficult to implement:
- Enterprises following the BYOD approach would need to deal with a lack of uniformity, and this fragmentation might sometimes make retrieval of data from certain devices difficult or time-consuming.
- The organization needs to ensure cross-platform for all users, which might sometimes be unavailable or difficult to provide.
- The enterprise-wide data could be at risk if the necessary firewalls are not robust, or if the access credentials get compromised.
- Most mobile devices have more than 35 applications installed on them, and the use of these apps often requires permission to access the phone’s contacts, location, camera, and sometimes even emails. This might result in security breaches.
- For large enterprises with a number of different workflows and databases, with multiple interconnected threads tying them all together, the mobility solution needs to be able to make all of it available to the employees.
In a digitally connected world, enterprise mobility needs to tackle these issues effectively so that adoption can increase. But what are the challenges if there is a lack of mobility across the organization?
How does a lack of mobility affect enterprises?
Let us look at what could be lost if mobility solutions are not implemented. These are the top five challenges that could impede progress:
- Lower productivity:
The greatest advantage in a connected world is that coworkers need not be in physical proximity to work together. A lack of enterprise mobility would mean that work can’t be done at any time and place. This would hamper the organization’s productivity.
- Data access:
If a business does not implement mobility solutions, it might not be possible for employees or partners to access data in real-time from anywhere. This might affect the speed and accuracy of decision-making.
- Lack of collaboration:
Mobility allows multiple people to work on the same files and data at the same time from multiple locations, but this will not be possible if the organization does not have enterprise mobility.
- Higher costs:
Without mobility, the employer would need to invest in employee-specific hardware, and also spend on maintenance, security, and controls.
- Lower customer satisfaction:
It’s difficult for an enterprise and its employees to respond to customer queries or requests in an agile manner if data can only be accessed or approvals are taken when the employees are physically present on site. This might lead to escalations from customers who need to be given solutions quickly.
How are mobility solutions helping against this?
Employees and customers can have a more seamless experience with an organization that has empowered stakeholders with mobility solutions. As we mentioned earlier, companies have realized during the pandemic that employee efficiency is not dependent on physical presence at an office. Easier access to data and seamless collaboration with colleagues can improve the quality and productivity of work.
Device management and mobility management solutions for enterprises are now easily available to ensure that company data and networks are not compromised. If the network and device access can be secured, then the physical location of employees will not matter.
Organizations can save on costs, by allowing employees to use their own devices with appropriate applications pre-loaded with adequate security controls. The use of cloud technology will reduce the expenses on data centers and business continuity preparedness.
Apart from convenience for employees, mobility solutions will also ensure a much better customer experience. The resolution of problems or clarification on queries will not require the concerned employees to be physically present at a central office.
Enterprise mobility solutions will enable much better collaboration among employees who are separated geographically. This will provide faster turnaround and also save on costs.
The use of robust networks and secure devices with need-based access can completely change the employee experience and make the organization’s work more efficient. The time has come for late adopters to look at the numerous use cases of successful enterprise mobility solutions that span multiple sectors and geographies.