Empowering a mobile workforce is essential in any modern enterprise to meet business goals and remain competitive, as Roberto Casetta, VP EMEA at software firm FrontRange explains.
Mobility increases end user productivity, agility and job satisfaction, resulting in improved business performance.
Although workforce mobility is most often associated with the adoption of portable devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets), the topic is actually more applicable to the portability of IT services. The core goal of mobility is to enable users to access business resources – including applications, data and other services (such as email, messaging and databases) – from any device at any location at any time.
Ironically, most end users have already embraced mobility concepts and incorporated them into their regular work experience. In fact, according to research by industry analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), roughly 58% of mobile device users and 29% of laptop users actually purchased the devices themselves and brought them into their workplace.
No longer content with being chained to an office environment, workers are demanding unprecedented mobile access to business IT resources. In many cases, IT managers have been caught unprepared to support the influx of new requirements for supporting mobility. Introducing enterprise mobility is therefore primarily a challenge for IT operations to accept changes to its processes that will foster improved workforce productivity.
However, introducing process changes to support mobility is not a trivial matter. IT administrators are already exceptionally busy meeting existing server and desktop support requirements and service level agreements, while meeting security and compliance objectives. Typically, IT administrators spend the bulk of their time on reactionary "firefighting," often requiring an inordinate amount of out-of-hours support. This leaves little time to implement new procedures for extending support to an additional set of mobile devices and operating systems.
Further resistance to supporting enterprise mobility comes from the fact that IT administrators are used to having complete control of the endpoints they support and are often reluctant to allow end users the freedom to select and use devices without restrictions.
To be effective in supporting workforce mobility, IT administrators must focus on the secure delivery of services, rather than maintaining control over the endpoints. Devices also still need to be managed, but just to ensure they are optimally configured to perform business tasks, rather than fully governed by IT operations. This can be a difficult concept for IT administrators to accept as they must let end users take some or all responsibility for their own devices.
Enterprise mobility management processes shift the role of IT administrators to focus primarily on the secure and reliable delivery of business IT resources in order to empower end users with the flexibility to perform business tasks on any device with which they will be most effective.
In order for IT administrators to successfully enable enterprise mobility, management processes must be adopted that effectively reduce administrative efforts and costs while enabling broad but secure end user access to business IT resources. Methods for achieving this can be logically segmented into three key areas listed on the next page…