Society is in the midst of a digital revolution, in which many aspects of our work and personal lives are becoming increasingly digitised.
Remote collaboration and a growing choice of devices and file-sharing applications means that workforces are becoming more dispersed, with employees now able to work from wherever they wish, at hours that best suit their lifestyles.
To enable this, and to address any issues that may arise from this burgeoning style of working, requires a business to implement a meaningful and up-to-date enterprise mobility strategy. It’s important, however, that such a strategy strikes a practical balance between achieving staff productivity, profitability and security.
Enabling employees to work more flexibly and improve productivity requires them to be able to access important apps and data at any time, from any location, across a range of devices. While allowing this access, however, organisations will need to ensure that their networks are protected against the increasing number and variety of security threats targeting employees’ mobile devices and the sensitive corporate data they contain or have access to.
Once a balance between productivity and security has been achieved, there remains the fundamental question of whether the mobility strategy represents a commercial benefit, and is actually worth the investment. And if it does, would greater investment result in greater benefit?
To investigate this, Synchronoss recently commissioned a survey of UK and US enterprises, looking at whether a more mature mobility strategy led to greater productivity and profitability.
Surprising lack of progress
According to the survey, the majority of UK businesses (91%) considered mobility as being a positive way of improving productivity, although the survey went on to highlight a surprising lack of progress when it actually came to advanced mobility within these businesses.
Employees of two in five UK enterprises (39%), for example, don’t have access to mobility solutions for even the most basic of tools. A quarter of organisations didn’t provide their workforce with remote email, and a third didn’t offer calendar access (32%), while over half (54%) claimed to have limited visibility over the devices and apps used within their organisation.
Across the world, 38% of firms were classified by the report as occupying the first stage of maturity in terms of their mobility strategy. These firms were typically recognised as having no requirement in place to secure their employees’ mobile devices, even in light of risks ranging from a host of mobile security threats such as malware hidden in downloaded apps or in emails, to the physical loss or theft of the device itself.
These organisations were found to be 15% less productive, and 29% less profitable than those with more mature mobility strategies in place, who offered their employees such capabilities as data collection and analysis, multi-factor authentication, and file-sharing apps.
A simple step toward profitability
43% of organisations made up the next level of maturity, by having implemented dedicated file-sharing tools for their employees, along with the compulsory use of passwords and PINs on their devices, and the collection and analysis of device usage data, even if to a limited degree.
The 19% of organisations that comprised the final level were those considered the most mature in terms of their mobility strategies. This consideration was based on how they had integrated apps and creatively used mobile contextual data, such as location and app usage, to actively improve the performance of their business.
The organisations that had reached this most mature stage tended to be 15% more productive and 29% more profitable, on average, than those at the lowest level. Interestingly, it was the simple step from the first level to the second that delivered the quickest and most significant improvements.
>See also: Digital in the enterprise
By introducing file-sharing tools, for instance, as well as a minimum requirement for native OS security measures on a device and the monitoring of usage data, enterprises saw their profitability grow by 9% and their productivity by 7%.
Intelligence and security
Simply providing its employees with mobility tools won’t necessarily bring about the increase in productivity an organisation is looking for.
By collecting data from those employee’s devices, however, an organisation will be better able to make more informed and deliberate changes to its processes and operations, intelligently reshaping and improving each iteration.
That data can also be used to improve an organisation’s security, strengthening processes around the verification of user IDs by highlighting contextual deviations in interactions with an employee’s device. Then, confident that stronger security provisions are in place, the organisation can further improve productivity by adding further capabilities or data sources to that device.
The benefits of investing enterprise mobility solutions have, until recently, been largely theoretical. It’s clear from this study, however, that committing to a more mature approach, and investing in advanced mobility tools, can deliver significant improvements in productivity to a business and contribute to significant gains in profitability.
Sourced from Richard Anstey, Enterprise CTO, Synchronoss