How is Mobility Changing the Way We Work?

For many of us our smartphone or tablet has become our primary means of communicating.  Maintaining separate devices for personal and business use has become such a nuisance that employees are rebelling, now relying on just one mobile device, and blending their personal and work lives as never before.   This evolution has taken place so quickly, that companies of all sizes are scrambling to adjust.  A recent survey by Symantec Corporation* on the current state of mobility around the world puts things in perspective. 

Researchers contacted over 3,200 IT people in companies of all sizes across 29 countries.  In the study, businesses are categorized as either Innovators or Traditionals.  Innovators are defined as those that are embracing mobility in the workplace, and aggressively adapting security policies and operations.  Traditionals are those that are taking a more cautious approach, and reactively responding to the disruptive changes brought about by mobile devices in the workplace.   It is not surprising to discover that the majority (66%) of Innovators say the benefits of mobility outweigh the risks, while the majority (74%) of Traditionals state the opposite. 

The innovative organizations report 50 percent more employees are using smartphones versus at traditional businesses.  55 percent of the Innovators purchase these phones for employees, while the Traditionals do so 44 percent of the time.  Mobility for businesses is more than allowing employees to use smartphones.  The Innovators are actively implementing policies to manage and safeguard all mobile usage.  They are adopting technology tools to protect their information and permitting employees to use their own devices for work purposes.  The survey also found that enterprises are more likely to deploy technology for mobile device management than small and mid-sized firms. 

Early adoption of increased mobility in the workplace can come with added costs; such as lost productivity, financial costs of implementation or loss of data.   Which begs the question, why do Innovators still say that increased mobility is worth the costs?  The Innovators are willing to absorb the initial costs because of the benefits they reap in overall productivity, business agility and efficiency.  In addition, the Innovators experience significant gains in market perception, brand equity, customer satisfaction, and market competitiveness.  There’s the added bonus of happier employees and improved employee retention.  And Innovators reported 50 percent greater revenue growth and profits compared to the Traditionals.

It’s fine to proceed with caution when adopting a company-wide mobility strategy, but you need to embrace mobility.  Start with applications that will bring your employees the greatest productivity.  Use the experience of the Innovators as your guide for how to gain the benefits while minimizing your risks:

  • Protect your applications and data
  • Ensure secure access to applications
  • Establish mobile device management
  • Implement end-to-end threat protection
  • Provide secure file sharing

* “State of Mobility Global Results – 2013,” whitepaper, Symantec Corporation

Beverly Maddalone is a Marketing Professional with extensive experience in communications and information technology.  Her career spans more than 20 years with 4 Fortune 500 Companies, where she served in a variety of product and marketing management leadership roles.  Her prime focus is guiding business owners of all stripes through the process of designing and implementing marketing strategy.  She is a strong believer in the transformational power of social media for achieving success in today’s marketplace.  A native of New Jersey, Beverly now makes her home in Tucson, AZ.  In addition to her business writings, she blogs regularly about desert living from the perspective of a Jersey Girl.  Her personal mantra is “Authenticity +Transparency = Loyalty.”