Mobile Working: A Headache Or A Business Benefit?

Mobile Working

With 50 million tablets purchased in the past year, mobile technology is on a meteoric rise. Indeed, over the past 20 years, whilst our desktops have remained largely the same, mobile computing is arguably the industry success story. But for many IT managers the consumerisation of IT poses a massive headache, potentially creating security risks for businesses. This fear is fuelled further by the worry that introducing mobile working will be expensive and difficult to coordinate.

This mindset has deterred many businesses from embracing the ‘mobile revolution’. In fact, recent research revealed that 40 per cent of employers refuse to permit mobile access to work resources. However, this strict policy does not mean that mobile devices are not being used in the workplace; the research also showed that the use of smartphones and tablets is on the rise, with 37 per cent of those surveyed noting that they are using mobile devices to access work information more frequently than they did a year ago.

Businesses, can no longer clamp down on mobile devices as they could in the past, banning personal devices altogether from the workplace. The consumerisation of IT means that the conventionally personal and professional devices are becoming inextricably linked. In fact, by ignoring mobile working and not implementing a formal policy to adapt to this shift will only lead to problems for businesses.

Instead, mobile working should be embraced. It can offer a competitive edge for businesses across the UK enabling employees to work on the go, share information as it is processed – increasing staff productivity. By following some simple steps and by facing up to what ‘mobile’ really means for your business, tablets in the workplace can offer a competitive edge for organisations and need not be avoided.

1. Communicate with your employees

Research showed that 47 per cent of workers feel that their personal devices are more effective than their work devices. Find out what it is that users like about their own devices and why the technology they use in the workplace doesn’t live up to these expectations. Clarify why mobile working is being deployed in certain areas of the business and not in others and crucially, make sure your employees know what is expected from them in terms of data security.

2. Focus on the end result

Providing your employees with mobile technology shouldn’t just mean helping them access emails on the go or making their IT more user friendly. Clarify what unique benefits mobile working can really offer your business and encourage them to capitalise on these opportunities.

3. Equip employees with the correct applications

To really make the best of mobile computing, the correct data solutions and programs must be employed. This doesn’t need to be expensive and it is only with the right software your business will achieve the best results.

4. Security should be by the book not a brick wall

Yes, security is important, but this alone should not prevent a mobile deployment or upgrade from going ahead. With the right software and plan in place, the benefits of mobile working can heavily outweigh the cons.

Tony Speakman is Regional Director for FileMaker International, Northern Region. Since joining the company in 2002, his primary role has been to support and drive the continuing growth of FileMaker’s customer base, expand the company’s sales and distribution channels and to drive business through both SMEs and corporate workgroups. Tony has over 25 years experience in the IT industry having previously held senior UK positions at The Program Management Group, Hyperion Solutions, Claris International, Lotus Development and Novell.

  • Joe

    Some companies are embracing a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) approach with their employees. As long as security issues don’t overwhelm user choices, I don’t see people using smart mobile technology in or out of the workplace as a problem. As FileMaker developers we’re seeing more and more instances of FileMaker Go on iPad and iPhone used to access business databases from wherever there’s an internet connection. Long may it continue! Joe – igeek http://www.igeek.co.uk