Mobility routinely tops the list of hot trends upending the IT industry. At a certain point, however, we should probably upgrade mobility from a trend to the small business status quo—because today, who doesn’t use a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to make work better and easier?
Recent studies bear this out. Forrester Research’s most recent Forrsights Global Workforce Benchmark Survey, which was conducted in Q4 2013, found that 56% of workers believe they need a smartphone to do their job. 66% believe their device makes them more productive, and 61% believe that having a smartphone makes it much easier to get their job done. Considering that smartphones are a relatively recent technological innovation, this kind of industry saturation is impressive.
“This that smartphones have changed information workers’ roles so much in the past few years that these devices are now a basic necessity for these workers to be able to do their jobs,” Tim Sheedy, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, told ZDNet. “Smartphones are dictating how we work.”
Luckily, small businesses are responding—and not just by distributing smartphones to their employees or relying on some sort of bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Enhanced communication is the most obvious byproduct of an increased shift to mobility. But internal business operations can also improve quickly through the use of real-time expense management, automated inventory control, and mobile-ready sales platforms.
The best part is that solutions such as these can be easily implemented and integrated with a business’s existing systems—especially with the help of an IT professional. Empowering employees with instant access to the information they need often produces an instant boost in productivity, with employees not shy about using their own tablets and smartphones before, during, and after work hours.
Of course, there are challenges that come with mobility’s rapid expansion:
1) Maximizing limited resources. The new norm is three devices per employee, which isn’t cheap—and don’t forget that data usage will surely go up. But a trusted IT partner can secure the solutions you need, at a price you can afford.
2) Balancing user needs with IT requirements. Mobility can drastically increase workflow—but also place a strain on existing service capabilities. If your IT department is small or non-existent, an external partner can help.
3) Setting up strong BYOD parameters. Letting employees bring their own devices is great—as long as firm rules about data encryption, security settings, and backup options are put in place.
4) Implementing Mobile Device Acceptable Use Policies (MDAUPs). Don’t turn mobility solutions free and then expect everything to work fine. A solid MDAUP can spell out all the requirements for device use and protect your business from liability.
5) Wiping and resetting devices when necessary. Smartphones and tablets contain crucial business information—make sure it’s not compromised when an employee leaves the company.
The best way to overcome these challenges is to work with a trusted IT professional like CMIT Solutions that has your short- and long-term business goals in mind. If you want your employees to reap the benefits of mobility—and you want your company to operate more flexibly and nimbly, the way you’ve always dreamed of—contact us today.