Guest blog: Mobility – more than tech deep

James Stevens
It’s easy to view mobility purely in terms of technology and process, but in reality it is as much about reassessing the workforce culture and considering a new approach to work as it is about IT infrastructure. Simply put, mobility presents a tremendous opportunity to empower more people to work from locations that aren’t their regular workplaces.

Life’s hurdles sometimes mean it’s simply not always feasible to get into the office – and this is a reality for businesses to consider. Implemented effectively, a mobility solution can have a profound impact on people’s working lives, allowing them to deal with disruptions we face every day, whether it is snow, caring for a sick child or being ill. In other parts of the world, disruptions now have more velocity, more amplitude and greater magnitude than ever before – as a result of natural disaster or political upheaval.

More and more mobile

The impact of mobility and consumerisation in the enterprise world is profound. According to analyst house IDC, by 2015 the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing approximately 37.2 percent of the total workforce. Mobile workers use multiple devices, laptops, smartphones and tablets in the office and on the road. They expect their desktop and their data to be available wherever they need to work.

This illustrates why mobility is, or should be, front of mind for all CIOs. With increased expectation, one way to drive a consistent mobility programme is to appoint a specific team to deal with the most difficult obstacles created by increased mobility: the multitude of mobile devices being introduced to the business, total cost of ownership, security implications, third party integration and consistent,corporate policies.

From managing mobile devices to defining workstyles

Conversations with numerous Citrix customers indicate that mobility is fast becoming the priority for business across the UK – and arguably organisations want to mobilise their employees for two reasons:

– The pressure and opportunity of consumerisation, from BYOD to CYOD (choose your own device) – the latter option bridging the gap between employee choice and IT’s need to manage and secure the organisation, by giving users a range of pre-approved devices to choose from. If the workplace is changing because of mobility, businesses need to support these changes beyond traditional corporate applications.

– The emergence of Generation Y into the workforce: Some businesses forget that ‘new’ technologies aren’t new for this generation, who live and breathe work life harmony on a daily basis. If a business doesn’t offer its employees the opportunity to utilise their own devices and on-demand applications, they may move on to a company that will allow this – creating a ‘war for talent’ in the industry.

Mobility is a matter of trust and culture

As the definition of mobility shifts from simple management of devices to encapsulate a broader range of technologies, such as social and web collaboration, secure mobile sharing, mobile network control and desktop and application virtualisation, it’s time to take a broader look at the workplace culture as a whole.

Ultimately, the goal for businesses is to design solutions that natively and intrinsically support employee mobility – as a new generation of workers emerges and the broader working population are influenced by the consumer technology experiences they are constantly exposed to. This type of enablement will drive companies and employees to reach their full potential. Trust, combined with culture, should be at the heart of all major business transformations. At the end of the day, people need a trusting environment to thrive and grow – and that starts with mobility.

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