Businesses are becoming more and more aware of the strategic value of a mobile workforce. It’s not just about enabling people to work from home, but about business transformation, driving customer engagement and reducing costs. Increasingly, staff are demanding and being given the freedom to work however, whenever and wherever they need.

The blurring of boundaries

We are continuing to see a blurring of boundaries between work life and personal life, as well as an integration of personal life in the work environment. This trend is being amplified as younger and increasingly connected recruits enter the workforce wanting to use their preferred technology, which is often more advanced than that of the company they are working for. Organisations need to create clear policies that allow people to work the way they want, without losing visibility, security and control of devices and data.

New communication, collaboration and social tools are reshaping business goals and operations. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the consumerisation of IT is accelerating, and the ‘new worker’ is forcing IT departments to be more agile in quickly meeting their needs. The new generation of employees is speeding up the requirement for new ways of working and is the main catalyst for making the workplace of the future a reality today.

A flexible and secure approach to technology will certainly help businesses attract and retain core talent. In promoting employee satisfaction and engagement, enterprises have the opportunity to gain tangible competitive advantages and become more responsive to customer needs at the end of the day, delivering better business results.

Enabling mobility across regions

Enterprises looking to implement mobile working on a global scale are often challenged to create seamless, high-quality communications across the company. Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution. However, the key to success here is maintaining visibility across all regions and proactively managing costs from the beginning. In addition, businesses need to fully understand, manage and control the mobile devices they have accessing and storing company information, ensuring that they are secure and conform to corporate policies.

Each country and region will have different needs and requirements, so in order to enable true, cost effective mobility, enterprises need to take a more strategic approach. Businesses need to establish whether they have the right resources and capabilities to manage mobility strategies effectively in-house. Third-party providers can deliver a range of tailored solutions across the multi-national footprint of the enterprise ranging from partially managed support, to complete mobility outsourcing.

There will be varying concerns and points of view from all areas of the business, including operations, finance and IT. For example, operations will want a solution that evolves with the requirements of the business and offers global visibility. Finance needs to understand exactly what the spend will be and limit the financial exposure of the business and IT is being challenged to support more devices in a secure environment with increasingly limited resources.

As a result, the enterprise needs to consider the development, implementation and maintenance of an effective mobile policy which best meets these sometimes conflicting demands. And nowhere is this more important than in the area of IT support. The idea that simply passing responsibility of the device to the employee will automatically cuts IT support costs is misplaced.

Developing an effective mobile policy

IT departments often find themselves managing multiple operating systems and applications. Having the right Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategy in place will provide IT with visibility of how devices are being used throughout the network as well as give them the power to protect sensitive data, should a device become compromised. In addition, MDM provides a means of collating data usage which can be used to manage costs and keep the security strategy relevant and up to date.

Businesses need to put the right processes in place that centralise the management of mobile communications and increase transparency across the hundreds or even thousands of mobile workers that enables a company to create a truly mobile workforce.

Each corporate must make a considered response and develop a policy which aligns with the broader goals of the business in meeting the aspirations of its staff. The most effective mobile policies are those which both managers and employees, across a range of departments have contributed to. Without this communication, policies can be one-sided and fail to address core requirements of the business. Only then can the organisation capitalise on the potential of mobility and effectively protect its IP and employees from associated risks.

The distinguishing factor of any successful business is the ability to predict and respond to the next trend. A robust mobile policy allows the true capability of mobility to be unlocked – an essential step for any company committed to preparing itself for the workforce of the future.