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Unlocking the Potential of Business Mobility
May 31, 2018
What is true business mobility, exactly?
Business mobility. It’s mobile hardware, and working from various locations, sure, but today it’s much more. We expect a smooth transition as we move to various locations, and an easy switch from one device to another.
We want the ability to manage forms and documents quickly, and to stay connected to the people and resources we need to keep our business thriving. Ask any business person how much time they can afford to sacrifice due to connectivity losses, a security breach, or information access issues and you’ll hear the same response over and over: as little as possible.
True mobility doesn’t just work, it enables and encourages employees to be equally (if not more) productive away from the traditional office. It’s mobility free of cumbersome apps, hardware limitations, outdated processes, and other barriers that frustrate employees and send them in search of a workaround - or to a new employer with a desk and window office.
A variety of sources predict that anywhere from 40 to 70% of the American workforce will be mobile by 2020. As the mobile workforce increases - regardless of where the percentage ultimately lands at - solutions to mobility will grow as well. And as those numbers grow, the trends in business mobility continue to grow and evolve as well.
Seamlessly integrated experiences
Let’s start with the idea of the seamless experience: All the critical elements working together to deliver an integrated, flexible solution that allows an employee to focus on their work instead of figuring out how to do their work. It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer, of course.
Seamless integration for a nursing staff at a hospital shouldn’t be the same as that for a mobile salesforce, or for engineers on a production floor. There are, however, some general guidelines to use as a starting point, whether you’re ready to update your current mobile solution or just beginning to think about it.
All laptops are not alike
Aesthetics aside, it’s worth the time to do a little research before buying that mobile device. Make sure it’s designed to withstand the rigors of business travel, and not just from the classroom to the dorm room, or from the kitchen to the living room.
In addition, determine if your working environment deserves a specialized construction, like rugged, or MIL-STD tested, for example, or a virtual reality (VR) workstation backpack.
Bottom line - make sure you’re getting PCs that match your business requirements rather than settling for a home office product. You might spend a little less initially, but the long-term experience may cost you much more.
Do consider an SSD drive, and invest in plenty of processing power to stay up and running when connections are spotty or when you’re managing multiple apps and programs.
Printing matters, too
Mobile printing runs a wide gamut - from Wi-Fi solutions for the home office, printing from the road, or sending documents directly to a customer’s location. The myriad security vulnerabilities that can exist within your printing environments can be managed via secure printing solutions.
Identify your business needs, learn the rules, and make your decisions accordingly.
Then there’s security
Mobile security deserves plenty of attention, and we’ve written about the subject in other Tech@Work articles you can access by searching from our home page.
Here, too, the key is to think about the diverse mobile environments where you - or your employees - may be working, and identify potential risks in all of them. Many of our best mobile security solutions are built into our business-class products, and are designed to work seamlessly, such as those in the HP Elite Business PCs.
I’m not sure we’re compatible
Beyond your hardware, you’ll want to take inventory of the applications needed on the road and in the home office to be sure that your mobile solution can carry its weight. Make sure you have the compatibility, and the power, that will keep you and your workforce efficient and flexible.
Third-party and internally-developed apps should be functional, intuitive, and integrated with the rest of your business’ systems.
Look for an effortless document sharing solution that fits your style. With services like Google Docs and other cloud-based systems, you and your team can simply pick up where you left off in any location without missing a step. This is truly a business imperative for any mobile solution, saving hours in backups, file copies, transfer steps, version control issues, and much more.
Communication apps like Slack or Zoom, and collaboration tools like ZoHo or Wrike will also keep the conversations rolling and the ideas flowing throughout your team. Many also use WhatsApp on their mobile phones as an alternate method of encrypted communication and effortless international calls.
A strong supporting cast
What’s behind your devices is just as important as what is on your devices (or even more so). Your IT infrastructure is a key part in delivering that seamlessly integrated experience. With multiple operating systems, additional power requirements, application integration, system upgrades and more, it’s not something to take lightly.
It pays to take a fresh look under the hood, and match your current needs with your infrastructure. Your ideal solution will be determined by the daily processes you use.
If all these decisions seem overwhelming, perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look at Device as a Service (DaaS). Like having a staff of experts at your fingertips, a DaaS solution is customized to your environment - and your business. It can bring simplicity to an increasingly-challenging environment, freeing up time and reducing stress across your organization.
This IDC infographic can put it into numbers for you.
As if navigating the hardware/software/infrastructure world was not enough, your success will also depend on your company culture. Your internal policies will either enable or hinder your remote workers and mobile employees.
Check in regularly to ensure that new work styles are supported via rules and guidelines, communication processes, benefits, and more. It’s important to provide these team members with the same conveniences and benefits as they'd have if they were working with their colleagues in the same physical location.
It’s also helpful to stay up on trends like VR and artificial intelligence (AI). They’re already changing the way we do business, and that trend is likely to continue. Investigate 3D print for giant leaps in manufacturing capabilities that could alter the way we do business in a revolutionary way.
New apps are also pouring into the market for everything from barcode scanners, inventory management tools, business expenses and more.
How does your business stack up?
There’s a lot to think about and a lot riding on your commitments to business mobility. Don’t let the technology sneak up on you and put your business in the back seat. Though it may sound daunting, each step you take toward seamlessly-integrated business mobility solutions is a step toward your continued business success.
There are plenty of tools available, and HP® is here to help. You can always chat with a business expert for products and solutions when you need advice.
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