Think your business doesn't need a mobile strategy? Think again.
Today's world is mobile-first. For many people, their primary computing device and means of accessing the internet isn't their desktop or laptop PC any more, but their mobile phone. In fact, according to figures from Statista, almost half of people in the UK (48 per cent) say their smartphone is their most important means of getting online at home, at work, and elsewhere.
This compares to just one in four (24 per cent) that rely mainly on a laptop and only nine per cent for whom desktop PCs are their primary connectivity device. And any attitudes your employees have to connectivity in their personal lives is likely to spill over into the workplace, especially as workforces get younger and more tech-savvy.
Yet many firms still seem stuck in the past when it comes to recognising this. While digitisation will have been inevitable to some extent, for some firms there remains a reluctance to fully embrace the mobile way of working. Perhaps smaller businesses are concerned about the cost or security implications or worry that it will create extra administrative and maintenance tasks they don't have the time or resources for.
This can lead to some companies thinking, if they have got along fine so far without mobile devices, do they really need to add them?
Mobility is happening here’s what you can do about it
However, it is a fact of life for every business that, one way or another, mobility is already happening. Even if you've never bought a smartphone for your company and think all your work is office-based, there will still be occasions when smartphones, tablets or other devices creep into your IT estate.
Even if it's just employees getting a head start on their day by checking their emails on the morning commute, this still creates new touchpoints into your network, more ways in which data can be accessed, and more potential security risks. Therefore, if you do nothing else, you need plans in place to ensure your critical business data is protected, wherever it is viewed from - and as a blanket prohibition on accessing data from outside the business' perimeter is likely to be ignored, you need a plan to manage it.
As for cost issues, the productivity gains that even the smallest business can expect to see as a result of embracing mobility will usually far outweigh the cost of procuring and managing such devices. Being able to access key business information instantly, wherever a worker is located means they can work much more efficiently.
It also helps firms adjust to changes in how their employees want to interact and work together. Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends survey for 2018, for example, found almost half of firms (44 per cent) expect the use of face-to-face meetings to decline in the next three to five years.
At the same time, technology platforms are on the rise, with 70 per cent expecting to make greater use of online collaboration tools, 67 per cent using more work-based social media, and 62 per cent using instant messaging. While all these tools can be used on desk-based equipment, they are often designed with a mobile-first environment in mind, for it will be easier than ever to keep connected on the move.
Transforming how you do business
In truth, though, tomorrow's enterprise mobility will extend far beyond simply accessing business applications and files like spreadsheet on the move. Today's leading businesses are looking at how they can implement advanced features - such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence - into their mobile solutions to give their employees more insight and capabilities than ever before.
So getting back to the initial point - does your workforce need mobile devices? The answer is clearly, unequivocally yes. But the real question is therefore to what extent you integrate these devices and how you manage them properly.
It may well be the case you aren't ready to take the jump into AR or other advanced technologies just yet. But ensuring your workforce is connected wherever they are helps you prepare for a mobile-first environment and ensures that your firm is future-proofed for whatever lies ahead. If companies don't move now to embrace this, they will find themselves a long way behind and facing huge difficulties in catching up in the coming years.