Why mobility is a moving target.

Carol Boyle
On: 8 Aug 2018
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Business Mobile

Mobility is not standing still. There was a time when the concern was managing and securing mobile devices, but this soon evolved to include giving workers access to apps and content on mobile devices; wherever they are and on whatever device they choose. Now mobility is finally being recognised for what it is: an enabler of nothing less than complete business transformation.

This business transformation is increasingly needed for two big reasons. From one side come the demands of customers, who expect to be able to interact with all businesses they deal with, on their own terms. That means wherever and whenever they want, which increasingly means on mobile using SMS, web-chat and instant messaging.

On the other side are employees. The ratio of mobile workers to office workers is already 1:1*. By 2020, 75% of the workforce will be digital natives and they expect flexible working. They are used to it and its efficiency and will not settle for less.

By 2020, 75% of the workforce will be digital natives.

This digital savvy workforce represents a danger to businesses that fail to adopt a digital strategy. The fact that 90% of enterprises have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, but less than a third have a formal governance structure for device management and policy** is alarming.

No policy, no provision.

The absence of a policy generally goes hand-in-hand with a lack of provision of useful mobile applications, leaving employees to find their own ways to work, to share data and to collaborate. All too often that means adapting consumer applications such as WhatsApp for business use – with limited security and the likelihood of exposing the business to data and regulation breaches, and reputational and financial damage. A recent whitepaper*** revealed that 72% of employees will use such apps without asking their IT department, for fear of being refused.

72% of employees will use apps without asking their IT department.

Mobile first.

Employee and customer expectations combined mean a “mobile first” strategy is now essential for businesses to attract and retain both groups. Whereas in the past managing mobility was a simpler issue, with only one operating system (OS), one device (BlackBerry), and only emails to contend with, now it’s more complex. There are far more aspects to consider, from BYOD to Mobile Device Management (MDM), and from file sharing to identity management.

The picture is fragmented, complex and challenging, even without taking into account the increasingly stringent regulatory environment. In 2018 alone, three key pieces of legislation will have a major effect on mobile working: GDPR of course, but also MIFID 2 and NIS.

Joined-up thinking.

From a regulatory, financial, strategic, operational and business transformation point-of-view, mobility has to be a priority for every business. A Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) approach can help you to achieve it. With UEM, an organisation can ensure security and control of its desktop computers, its laptops, its smartphones and tablets, and even wearable devices such as smartwatches, in a connected, cohesive manner. However and wherever employees want to work, they can not only access the same applications and resources, but you can be sure they will be doing so with the the same high level of data security as they would have on their desktop in their office.

A line-of-business imperative.

Establishing a mobility strategy will require the involvement of very different business functions from 10 or 20 years ago. Once considered the remit of the procurement department, then IT, mobility is now driven by line-of-business, with 68% of mobile projects initiated outside the IT department***.

It’s imperative to get comprehensive sign-up to the strategy once defined, with relevant departments and people taking ownership of the various aspects: from security at one end of the scale to business transformation at the other.

68% of mobile projects are initiated outside the IT department.

With a workforce for which mobility is as important as having their own chair, and with customers who want to do business their way, it’s not surprising that 80% of businesses now say mobility is increasingly strategic to them***. If your business is one of the remaining 20% then, unlike mobility, you’re standing still.

Explore Three’s Managed Mobility Solutions

* CWSI (Wandera and MobileIron)   ** IDC research for Citrix   *** Digital Transformation Leaders and CWSI whitepaper – The state of Enterprise Mobility 2018, CCS Insight