A recent study by SIS International Research1 found that waiting for information was the largest hidden communication cost among 513 responding businesses. Other hidden costs included barriers to collaboration, and travel expenses used to get employees in separate locations to sync up. Mobility is the solution that successful businesses have found to eliminate these expenses and boost productivity. By offering employees the ability to work remotely, as well as programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), 29 percent of the global workforce is now fully mobile2, using three or more devices for work.
Despite these moves towards mobile, however, not all businesses are fully onboard. Three significant obstacles still keep many businesses from fully embracing the mobile workplace: concerns over security, company fit, and implementation. Rather than let your business get left behind, learn more about these obstacles so you can address them, and enjoy greater flexibility and productivity.
Concerns about security are the single biggest impediment to greater business mobility. A 2016 industry study3 found that 39 percent of businesses say security is the largest factor keeping them from implementing BYOD programs, the largest such concern by far. Within that category, businesses are specifically concerned about such security mishaps as data leaks and lossage, and an inability to secure an employee’s private device from unsafe content or malware.
39% of businesses say security is the largest factor keeping them from implementing BYOD programs.
Mobility programs are particularly difficult for IT departments to manage. Instead of ensuring security and compatibility within a single common office environment, workplace mobility introduces countless new devices and possible network connections, with an array of potential problems so vast that it’s simply impossible to secure them all. Worse yet, these concerns are often not properly addressed. The same 2016 study3 found that 35 percent of respondents reported that they required additional IT resources to manage mobile security — however, only 30 percent of respondents planned to increase their mobile security budget to deal with these problems.
While security is a large concern, it hasn’t stood in the way of the huge portion of the workforce that has chosen to make use of mobility tools and processes. Here are some solutions that forward-thinking businesses are using to mitigate these security concerns:
● Focus your security efforts where they’ll be most useful. Your IT department can’t realistically secure every device in every scenario for every way your employees will potentially use it. Either limit your employees’ choices by providing a few pre-approved options for mobile devices (called a Choose Your Own Device, or CYOD program), or focus on securing your business apps instead.
● Calculate your mobility ROI carefully. When you begin planning your mobile workflow, you’ll want to fully consider everything that might affect the ROI of your mobile initiative. That includes positive influences like increased productivity, reduced expenses, and greater employee satisfaction and retention. On the other hand, it also includes your increased IT budget and the cost of your premium cloud software and mobility tools.
● Consider security at the beginning and end of each device’s lifecycle.When an employee starts using any mobile device for work purposes, consider a short training to help avoid costly security breaches like malware, unsecured wifi networks, and how to report a compromised device in the case of loss and theft. Similarly, when your employee is ready to retire a device used for work purposes, make sure all relevant work data has been removed.
Perhaps the biggest myth about mobility is that it is only appropriate for certain businesses. For example, some organizations who work in regulated industries such as accounting and insurance worry that allowing employees to use mobile devices for work will cause them to fall out of regulatory compliance. However, the heavily regulated banking and financial services sector is actually adopting the use of smartphones for work purposes4 more quickly than any other industry. Other common misconceptions are rooted in legacy processes and company culture. If the following claims sound all too familiar, changes are your biggest mobility challenges stem from company fit. Here are some suggestions for responding to these barriers:
● Our company is too small! While large enterprise businesses with hundreds or even thousands of employees often get the most attention for going mobile, even the smallest businesses are making huge strides. A 2014 study5 found that 60 percent of small businesses under 100 employees currently support BYOD programs. Moreover, 70 percent of small businesses surveyed reported that they would increase mobile spending in the coming year.
● We’re not tech-savvy enough! Because mobile workplace tools largely consist of new software products, and because the practice has gained popularity within the tech industry itself, there is a common misconception that businesses committing to mobility must be very tech-savvy. The SMB Group, however, doesn’t seem to see this as a real barrier. Noting the widespread adoption of simple tools like email and online contacts and calendars to over 80 percent of surveyed businesses, the market insight group predicts5 huge growth in these same organizations adopting additional cloud-based software tools.
Adopting a mobile strategy doesn’t require a tremendous amount of technical ability within your business, only a solid plan. If your employees engage in risky transactions online, instead of a BYOD program, consider providing pre-set mobile devices with firm security features that can preclude such behavior. If you don’t have dedicated IT resources to implement your mobile program and manage security, you can contract a trusted third party to crafta mobility solution that’s just right for your needs.
● Improve employee adoption. The opportunity to work from home, step out of the office, or take care of pressing tasks after-hours without missing a beat sways most employees to take advantage of any mobile option provided by their employers. In fact, 56 percent of respondents to a 2016 survey claimed that greater employee satisfaction was a main driver and benefit to adopting a mobile program in the first place.
However, some employees will avoid learning how to use new tools in favor of a process that they’re used to. To help ease adoption, some mobility apps offer the option to plug in to more familiar tools like email. For example, some file sharing apps allow users to share a file exactly the same way they would send an email with an attachment in Microsoft Outlook, or even work as an FTP server for employees used to that experience.
● Evaluate your mobile apps Pay attention to your team — are there crucial parts of their day-to-day work responsibilities that they’re unable to complete remotely? Sometimes, having a key piece missing can prevent your employees from wanting to use any of it at all. If your team complains that an app is too difficult to use, lacks crucial features, or creates frequent errors, you may have chosen the wrong app.
While it’s a significant investment of time and resources to stop using a tool that isn’t working for your team and switch solutions, it’s usually better than allowing the problem to continue. But how do you decide which tool is the right choice for your team?
One easy way to plan your mobile strategy is to consider all your team’s mobility needs at once. Do you need email, calendars, file sharing, and CRM? How about remote PC access, e-signatures, workflow management, and contacts? While one tool likely won’t provide every single solution to your mobility puzzle, you can look for tools that connect with one another via API integrations. Using these integrations, you can easily automate parts of your workflow, making your mobility solution create less work, not more.
1.“Uncovering the hidden cost of communications barriers and latency.” SMB Communications Study. Jan. 2009. Retrieved from http://about.pdpsolutions.com/bm.doc/smb_communications_ study.pdf
2 “Why Business Mobility Is Going Mainstream.” Wired Magazine. Apr. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/04/ why-business-mobility-is-going-mainstream/
3 “BYOD & Mobile Security.” Crowd Search Partners. Jan. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.crowdresearchpartners.com/ wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ BYOD-and-Mobile-Security-Report-2016.pdf
4 “Tablets to Bridge the Gap with Smartphones as More Data-intensive Mobile Applications Migrate over to Tablets.” Frost & Sullivan. Jul. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.frost.com/prod/ servlet/press-release.pag?docid=2913146695
5 “Trends in Small Business Adoption of Mobile Solutions.” SMB Group. May. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.smb-gr.com/smb/ trends-in-small-business-adoption-of-mobile-solutions/