Where is Your Mobile Strategy?
Tomorrow’s office will be defined by wherever employees happen to be working at any given moment
Too many business owners today think having a mobile strategy means issuing smartphones to workers, giving them access to the company network and calling it good. But with mobile workers expected to make up 72 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, this is an extremely short-sighted approach.
Business mobility is booming because the combination of laptops, tablets, smartphones, wireless technology and unified communications tools makes it possible for people to work whenever and wherever they choose. And more workers are doing it because they can.
Futurists are aware of this trend, and many now say that offices as we know them are morphing into something completely different.
Rather than occupying space in a single brick-and-mortar building, tomorrow’s office will be defined by wherever employees happen to be working at any given moment. It will be a collection of locations - home offices, coffee shops, airplane lounges or wherever - all connected through the digital ether.
Progressive companies recognize this is where everything is headed, and many have been devising aggressive mobile strategies to not only enable remote work scenarios but encourage them.
Because studies show workers who telecommute are more productive since they don’t have to fight traffic to work, can start their day earlier and have more time at the end of the day to work later.
Remote workers also tend to be more loyal because they appreciate the work-life balance that remote work scenarios allow. And it doesn’t hurt that having remote workers means companies don’t have to pony up as much dough for building space, utilities, insurance and other overhead expenses related to supporting a physical location.
If you have employees working remotely, or you are considering heading in that direction, it’s important to keep pace with mobile technology because it’s changing all the time.
Where to start
The best place to start building a mobile strategy is around the devices themselves. The hardware. You will want to determine whether you’ll issue the same devices to all employees, create a fleet of “choose your own devices,” or CYOD, or tell employees it’s okay to “bring your own device,” or BYOD.
Each of these approaches carries certain management and security implications that you’ll want to consider very carefully since it means you’ll have to have varying levels of IT support behind them.
Many companies are staring to notice a trend where employees aren’t just choosing to work with one mobile device but are actually using an average of three in their daily routines. For example, they might start a job on a smartphone or tablet then reroute it to a laptop or desktop for completion.
Obviously, this can be inefficient, which is why companies are beginning to deploy enterprise-class detachable 2-1 devices like the HP Elite x2 and convertibles like the HP Spectre x360 that combine the productivity of a notebook with the mobile convenience of a tablet that can go anywhere.
More than just the device
Your mobile strategy should also consider the rising tide of mobile productivity and messaging applications. Some of the most popular productivity apps include Evernote, which enables employees to store documents and assorted files while on the go; Expensify, for frequent travelers who need an easy way to track receipts; and both Slack and Google Hangouts, which provide affordable mechanisms for employees to communicate, collaborate and share files from disparate locations.
From a pure mobile messaging standpoint, consider apps such as What’sApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ Mobile, Skype, Viber and Snapchat.
Depending on where your employees are working, they may use any one of these apps or a combination to do their jobs. You may want to have clear policies in place about which mobile messaging apps your business is willing to support, based on how difficult they are to manage and how secure you believe them to be.
Speaking of security
Your business absolutely cannot overlook security’s importance to a mobile strategy. According to Verizon’s Mobile Security Index 2018, 85 percent of businesses surveyed say they face at least a moderate risk from mobile security threats, 74 percent say these risks increased over the past year, and 73 percent expect mobile security issues to get worse in the coming year.
Alarmingly, companies that sacrificed security were 2.4 times as likely to have experienced data loss or downtime because of a mobile-related security incident, the report found.
For basic security, there are many free security apps available for download. But growing companies will want to consider the value of investing in security software as a service, such as: McAfee Mobile Security 2.0, which offers unlimited cloud backup and end-to-end defense; Lookout for Android, which monitors other apps for viruses and provides firewall protection, and LastPass Password Manager Premium, built to encrypt your passwords.
One other often-overlooked aspect of mobile strategies is the growing popularity of cloud printing.
Cloud printing enables businesses to print documents from any mobile device if they’re connected to the Internet. For example, with HP Mobile Printing, you can easily print and scan to your HP DesignJet printer or MFP from your smartphone or tablet via wireless printing or Wi-Fi Direct. Plus, you can print remotely by emailing files directly to ePrint-enabled printers.
Today, if a business hopes to be around in a few years, it must have a thoughtful and sincere commitment to a mobile strategy. It’s no longer enough to support a few devices and network connections.
Successfully competing in our digital world means having a well-designed plan for making multiple devices, apps, security solutions and printers available for remote workers.