IT is at the centre of every business, ensuring that each department, from marketing to HR, runs effectively – IT is the lifeblood of the business. IT managers are currently dealing with an influx of different devices in the workplace, which is set to increase in coming years.
According to Cisco, by 2020 we may have an average of 6.58 devices – which will inevitably make managing IT even more complex. The evolution of technology has meant that connectivity is becoming simpler, and as a result workers expect to be connected whenever and wherever, on an array of different devices and different platforms: the days of 9-5 working hours are dead and gone.
As a result of this surge in device proliferation, there is a huge risk of businesses losing control of end-user computing – but despite this, 60% of UK businesses have yet to incorporate a mobile device policy into their business plans. This is understandable; the mobility revolution is happening very rapidly.
Users are more tech-savvy than ever before. As a result, they are actively choosing to avoid IT policies that stand in their way of using the tools that make them more productive. They are working from laptops, smartphones and tablets – each of which may have entirely different operating systems, causing further headaches for IT managers. As users become distributed, it is tougher for IT departments to manage their productivity, through targeted software updates and patching, whilst maintaining a secure environment for the business.
Moreover, these users will happily blur the lines between corporate and business applications, which is a concern for the IT team who need to manage and secure company information. For example, workers might run Outlook and Excel on the same device as their iTunes account, along with their personal photos.
When these two worlds merge, protecting corporate information becomes even more challenging. For example, if a user has DropBox installed on their personal mobile device and is using the tool to download corporate information, confidential company data could end up in the wrong hands if that user was to lose the device or have it stolen.
Getting the balance
IT departments need to strike the right balance between freedom and control, offering independence to users, whilst ensuring that company data is protected and all risks are managed. The importance of the IT department understanding workers’ individual needs, alongside their physical estate, is crucial in achieving a productive workplace.
Users want to be sure that, whether its skimming emails or checking the ERP system, the process of connecting via the device of their choice, is not going to impede the speed with which they want to access that information. If it’s easy, workers are more likely to comply with IT policies.
Managing all there is and all there ever will be
Today, IT is clearly very complex to manage and is becoming harder every day. Those organisations that don’t consider a user-based approach to IT could be storing up a lot of trouble for the future.
IT managers need to take a user-centric approach, putting the employee first and offering a flexible secure device policy. But building a strategy around the use of all devices from scratch isn’t an easy process and there are many factors that IT departments must consider.
By putting the user at the heart of the policy and implementing an integrated service, systems, security and mobility management solution, organisations will be able to increase productivity, allowing users to connect anywhere, anytime, in any way, whilst maintaining the security of the corporate environment. They will have taken the first steps to simplifying IT management today and in good shape to manage all there ever will be in the future.
IT departments should demand comprehensive, integrated solutions that provide a price per user, not device. As user demands surge, only those businesses with an employee-focussed management model will win out.