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By now, it should be becoming obvious to every business that mobility is no longer something they can afford to overlook.

What's more, with the likes of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 set to arrive in the near future, offering a significant leap forward for mobile gadgets, it's more important than ever for firms to embrace mobile working in order to take advantage of the next generation of mobile-enabled innovations.

But doing so requires a clear, long-term plan. Many companies may underestimate the time and effort it takes to deliver an effective enterprise mobile strategy, instead opting for a variety of 'quick-fix' solutions, such as allowing workers to use their own mobile devices to access company assets and applications.

Relying too heavily on ad-hoc, unmanaged deployments such as BYOD will leave companies ill-equipped to cope with the new generation of connected workspaces, where constant access at any time, from any location, is ingrained in how a firm does business.

 

The risks of an ad-hoc environment

One of the biggest consequences of such an ad-hoc approach will be that administrators may end up having no idea what their mobile environment looks like. This means no visibility into who is accessing the network, from what devices and at what times.

In addition to presenting a serious security risk - after all, you can't protect your data from activity you can't see -  this means businesses will be unable to develop an effective long-term strategy for the implementation of mobile services. Such quick fixes may give employees the tools they need to be more productive right now, but what about in the years to come?

An unmanaged, ad-hoc mobile network could actually make it more difficult to be productive, as it will be harder for devices to communicate effectively across different platforms that may emerge as individual departments or employees pursue their own solutions that are only focused on their needs.

Such short-term thinking could seriously imperil plans to establish more wide-reaching digital initiatives and ensure firms can keep pace with ever-changing environments. Indeed, recent research by Gartner revealed the majority of digital workplace initiatives will fail to lead to new ways of working in the coming years.

It noted only a quarter of medium-sized and large companies will successfully adopt new ways of working in 80 per cent of their initiatives, which will include distributed decision making, virtual and remote working, and redesigned physical workspaces.

 

Stopping costs spiraling out of control

A strategy that isn't carefully executed across a business can also be harmful to your bottom line, as costs associated with maintaining, repairing and upgrading mobile devices become harder to keep in check.

If businesses have failed to control the rollout of mobile devices, they are likely to find themselves facing a multitude of different platforms, hardware forms and manufacturers, which may not easily integrate or be easy to migrate to a new system when the time comes to upgrade.

This could mean, for example, that certain employees end up locked into platforms that are not the most cost-effective, or users will require expensive and time-consuming training in order to get to grips with different ways of working after an upgrade.

Then there is the cost of developing the applications and services needed to take advantage of mobile. If businesses are developing their own applications to meet a specific need within their business, for instance, it will be much more cost-effective if they are able to focus their efforts on a small number of devices.

If firms have allowed workers to bring in any device, both the costs and time required to support this wide variety of operating systems and firmware versions can quickly become prohibitive.

It should therefore be clear that having a coherent, joined-up strategy that encompasses every aspect of a business is essential if firms are to thrive in the digital era. A piecemeal approach with no clear roadmap for reaching this goal will end up making the process much longer, much more expensive and much harder to manage, so whatever short-term gains a firms believes it may enjoy from quick fixes will quickly be wiped out in the longer term.

Where do you stand on the path to becoming a mobile-ready business? Check out our illustrated guide to see what you have to do to reach the next stage.