One of the biggest buzzwords in the IT world right now is mobility – and with the huge advances made in this technology over the last couple of years, why wouldn’t it be? Smartphones and tablets are now well in the mainstream and it’s not just tech enthusiasts and early-adopters that have discovered the potential these devices have to revolutionise the way they work.
Recent figures from Gartner illustrate just how mobility has taken over from more traditional platforms. It found that sales of PCs have fallen by 1.7 per cent worldwide in the first three months of 2014, while for the year as a whole, it’s projected that 1.9 billion mobile phones and 270 million tablets will be sold. By next year, sales of tablets will actually outpace those of desktop and notebook PCs for the first time.
And it’s not just for personal use for which buyers will expect to adopt these devices. Individuals will increasingly be demanding the ability to use these gadgets in their professional lives as well – whether this is through company-issued smartphones and tablets or their own personal items. This is a growing trend that businesses will likely not be able to resist, as even if they enact prohibitions on mobile devices, employees are still likely to use their own devices regardless of policy.
As a result, businesses need to have a strong policy in place surrounding mobile devices. But the most successful companies will not see this as merely a necessity that is required to counter unauthorised usage and ensure security. By embracing the technology, many companies will find they are able to enjoy a significant productivity boost as a result of letting people work when, where and how they want.
But is this always an appropriate solution? Some organisations may worry about the risks associated with loosening controls on how workers access mission-critical data and applications – particularly if they are dealing with highly confidential information that requires close governance. So will mobility be effective?
In many cases, the answer is likely to be yes, as the benefits of an effective mobile system can far outweigh the potential risks and costs associated with rolling out such an initiative. As well as the greater productivity that being able to work on the move brings, it can also lead to increased employee satisfaction.
Adopting advanced mobility tools can help a business support flexible working policies, while the ability to access the corporate network from outside the office can be hugely valuable to remote workers such as sales professionals, as well as business travellers who may need to frequently move between locations.
And having a good mobile capability isn’t just good for a firm’s employees either, as it can help companies connect and engage better with their customers, who will by now have added mobile to the number of channels they expect to be able to engage with a business on.
Therefore, whether it is to encourage employee productivity or engage better with consumers, having a strong business mobility strategy is crucial for firms in the current mobile-first environment, no matter what sector they operate in. And companies that don’t get on board with this are likely to be very quickly left behind by more advanced competitors.