By Leif-Olof Wallin
In today’s workplace, employees are not always at their desks. Hence, when businesses add mobility to a digital workplace strategy, the true value is about improving the flow and speed of the core business processes, not simply increasing productivity.
Businesses can create tangible and sustainable business benefit when mobility is used to optimize and partially re-engineer core business processes, reduce latency, eliminate process steps or, in some cases, enable new processes.
Take for example what happens in a retail environment. A customer asks a retailer about buying a shirt he sees on the rack, but in extra-small and yellow polka-dots. The employee can check a garment’s size, color and availability, and arrange to have it shipped directly to the customer’s house, all from a tablet on the sales floor. The employee is with the customer throughout, and the sale is closed (with a swiping device right on that same tablet), not delayed or lost entirely.
In another example, an operations vice president, already on her commute home in New York, receives a call from a supplier relaying the bad news that a shipment will be late arriving in California. From her train seat, she is able to text a colleague for the name of an alternate supplier in Texas, and place an immediate order. The traditional work hours, communication lag, time zone and technical latencies were greatly reduced because that operations chief had a smartphone.
A workplace at their fingertips
Using mobile to interact with the business world is a natural extension of how employees interact within their personal spheres – in both instances, mobile usage offers engagement, flexibility and empowerment.
The act of working in a global economy — as individuals or in collaboration with far-flung colleagues — increasingly occurs outside of regular office hours. By accommodating employee preferences for a single device for both personal and business use, the level of personal engagement may lead to an increase in business engagement.
Increased employee engagement takes shape not only with physical devices like smartphones and tablets, but with the use of company and third-party applications, software and digital tools.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Mobile devices, especially smartphones, are always with the owner and always active.
Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)
Users are most comfortable with a model and OS they have chosen and already use.
Bring Your Own App (BYOA)
Employees use apps – and there are more than a million to choose from – all the time. Allowing them to experiment with new products is fine, as long as basic risk management is in place.
Develop Your Own Application (DYOA)
This is especially appropriate for teams, and an alluring option for millennials, who have gotten used to customizable solutions.
Making the most of a digital workplace initiative
The most successful integration of mobile into the digital workplace will involve all of the major stakeholders: IT, HR, audit, legal, line of business, and, of course, leadership. Emphasize goals like more effective ways of working, raising employee engagement and agility, and exploiting consumer-oriented styles and technologies.
There are many components to a successful initiative:
- Respect varying geographic needs to accommodate cultural and economic differences.
- Assume that BYOD is a natural ingredient of any workplace program, but make room for a CYOD option.
- Consider changes in the service and support network offered by IT, to meet the consumerization and work anytime/anywhere nature of the workplace.
Review and update your digital workplace initiative regularly, to make sure that mobile isn’t addressed to the exclusion of social, cloud, analytics and the Internet of Things. And, while employees have more freedom in choosing mobile technologies, IT’s core responsibility remains the same: strive to contain costs, and, most importantly, continue to secure the organization’s information assets.
Leif-Olof Wallin is a research vice president at Gartner where he advises enterprise clients on all aspects of networking infrastructure and services with a special focus on mobile.
This article was written by Gartner Inc. from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.