The proliferation of smart mobile devices has fundamentally changed the day-to-day operations of modern business. Whereas it was once a nice add-on for employees to be able to remotely connect to enterprise systems in real-time, it is now expected and required by most who frequently work outside of the office such as the field sales team.

According to an IDC report, by 2015, those employees will represent 37 percent of the global workforce – around 1.3 billion workers. An effective enterprise mobility platform is needed to maximise employee productivity.

Now, companies do not have to depend on third-party providers to implement an enterprise mobility strategy. Companies are now able to – and should look to – own their own mobile initiatives. In today’s disparate mobile ecosystem, the advantages of a company possessing the ability to create and modify custom apps easily, cost effectively and securely are clear.

Mobility platforms are ushering in a move from old-fashioned mobile device management (MDM) approaches to agile and effective app development and management. MAM solutions offer app discovery, provisioning, update notifications, entitlement, revocation, and other app-centric features as well as methods for secure app deployment and management.

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is a major factor behind this requirement for a formalised and flexible enterprise mobility strategy. Employees wishing to use their own devices for work – be it an Apple iPad or an Android smartphone – is rapidly becoming the norm. A 2012 report from the Aberdeen Group shows that the percentage of companies welcoming personal devices on to a business network grew from 10 percent in 2008 to 80 percent 2012.

The advantages of BYOD are numerous, but efficient means of engagement and interaction are by far the most significant benefits. Enterprise apps can allow employees to complete critical tasks without the need for interruptions thanks phone calls and emails from managers or customers. By using mobile apps with specific functions and capabilities, employees can be productive on their own schedule.

However, as a result, security has become a very important concern and one, alongside flexibility, that a suitable mobility platform must address.

A powerful enterprise mobility platform satisfies both requirements and more. They can typically allow users access to apps based on their department, role, organisation level, location, device type, tenure, and more, drawing this data from corporate directories and providing or restricting access to apps based on this centralised source of data.

Regarding flexibility, the ability to instantaneously deploy x-platform app changes reduces the need for production software updates and is a great advantage considering the multitude of devices which may be present due to BYOD.

In addition, sharing data via enterprise mobile apps is safer than distributing via email or websites, as the data can be secured and managed at the app level. Separating the business functions and the personal functions of an employee’s device via the platform’s management and security capabilities means that business can remotely wipe sensitive data if a device is lost or stolen, while leaving personal information intact.

An intelligent BYOD policy is a great way to get more people to use mobile business apps on familiar devices, therefore maximising productivity. It follows that a strong enterprise mobility strategy can create a competitive edge in today’s business arena. Still, it must be executed well. Companies should strive to seek an enterprise mobility platform that is suitable for their specific business needs; one that allows them to maintain control without sacrificing security, flexibility or functionality.