Beyond BYOD: Mobile first strategies for business

LOL, ROFL, BRB – as online acronyms go BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has plenty of competition for most overused phrase on the internet, and with good reason too. BYOD is unquestionably changing the way we work as our mobile devices are becoming integral parts of who we are as people, not just employees.

However a business that can’t look beyond that acronym is dramatically undervaluing the way a mobile first strategy can transform its business.

We know productivity, efficiency and employee satisfaction can be measurably improved by bringing in a BYOD policy. Which is why most forward thinking companies now offer it as standard. Employees choosing their own devices did present challenges to the enterprise, particularly around security, but these can now be solved.   

Some think they have it figured out, but those companies with simple MDM schemes (mobile device management) are kidding themselves if they think it solves the issues. Data security is a real threat and takes a concerted effort beyond MDM.

Containerisation, where apps operate within a secure encrypted container on the device, means that sensitive data is secure, usability is unaffected and employees have no privacy concerns. If businesses are taking a containerised approach to BYOD, the security and usability barriers are lifted and BYOD best practice comes into effect in most situations.  

Many companies can already say: ‘My employees use whatever device they want when they read and send work emails’. Many of these have not mastered all of the security intricacies associated with mobility; even fewer have gone beyond the ‘ease of use’ offering to get real business benefit.

Enterprises that think a simple BYOD scheme makes a mobile strategy are wrong. Not only are they wrong they may be crippling the business as we move into the next phase of mobility opportunities in the enterprise.

Transformers in the business

There are three stages to a mature mobility strategy: Run, Grow and Transform. It starts with secure device management in the Run phase. This is the basic functionality of managing devices, both those employee bought or company supplied. Let employees work on mobile devices and make sure nothing catastrophic happens. Tick.

However, it’s stages two and three where true mobile productivity and insight comes in as the focus shifts to mobile applications and data. First by tracking and deploying mobile applications and then establishing mobile collaboration through secure app-to-app workflows, where mobility can be a true catalyst for change. Those businesses at the final stage can incorporate partners and customers into their mobile schemes to transform how they operate.

Mobile first in manufacturing

Business transformation. Sounds great, but a sensible reader will be demanding some examples.

Take an aerospace manufacturing use case. Traditionally an engineer may be in the nose of a plane carrying out repairs. He is stuck in a cramped environment and will be coming in and out to refer to plans on a desk and to check the availability of parts. If he does finally establish that a new part is needed, the order isn’t immediate and he will likely be forced to wait for it to arrive.

A manufacturer that is in a more strategic phase of its mobile strategy will not work like that. First that engineer will take the plans into the plane with him on his iPad (the blueprints are sensitive and must be containerised). He can then consult the plans as he completes his analysis of the plane. When he finds out what part is needed, he can communicate directly with suppliers to find out who has the required part and which partner is closest to his current location.

A job that had a two week turn around becomes a job with a two day turn around. These are the types of practices that fundamentally alter processes. Incorporating partners and suppliers into the workflows will not just increase efficiency or productivity, it will change the nature of how companies do business. Most important of all, this process is done with greater security of sensitive blueprints and pricing information than the previous paper options.

Customers first

That’s the production end of the workflow but how can a mobile first strategy change the way we interact with customers?

Insurance is an industry that has had its fair share criticism for the way it deals with customers. Now let’s take an insurer that has its mobile-mind in the right place.

Insurance representative arrives with a tablet at the scene of a car collision. Takes a photo of the dented fender, copy & pastes it on to the form, fills in the form while at the scene and then gets the claimant to sign the document on the iPad. From there the signed PDF is instantly sent to processing at head office and the claimant receives a copy of the same form.

This process is massively improved because it can be done quickly and more accurately than before. However, it would be impossible to do securely if the applications were not containerised. Security underpins processes like this, because of the value of the information and scope of the risk of losing the customers or the insurer’s data (see image below).

Quick, transparent and secure – three things customers are maybe not used to from insurers.

Application Analysis

Processes are changing as the power of mobile begins to take hold. The way companies review these processes is changing too. An awareness of data and analytics is driving smarter decisions across businesses. This will be especially true as the critical data mobile devices produce is harnessed.   

Those enterprises with a mature mobility strategy will, or should, have advanced application analytics. Not only will that give a broad visibility of what apps are proving most useful it will also:

  • Drive investment decisions and maximise ROI with actionable insight
  • Scale infrastructure as appropriate to support the growth of applications
  • Spot issues to prompt more proactive features upgrades before user complaints are made
  • Find those applications which are not used so they can be promoted, removed or replaced with more popular ones

To BYOD and beyond

Businesses need to look beyond BYOD to get the most out of it. BYOD is a crucial part of the modern workplace but it’s only one part.  

Businesses are condemning their future if they cannot see past those two acronyms, MDM and BYOD. They should be looking to dramatically change the way they provide services, interact with customers and review processes in innovative, secure and collaborative ways.

If you only think BYOD you're missing the point. But if you’re missing BYOD there's no point at all. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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