See also: seven tablets for business
Increasingly, clients expect the organisations they partner with to work where they are, rather than stay rooted in their corporate offices.
For this to happen, people need to be as productive outside of their office as within. Forward thinking organisations are mobilising to maximise time with clients and business partners.
Whether it is through laptops, or increasingly smartphones and tablet PCs, the key is to ensure your workforce have a seamless and secure two way connection to the information they need.
This ensures that they not only have unfettered, safe access to data but they can also enrich stored information through insights gleaned outside the office.
The alternative is to have the lifeblood of the modern company, its data, stagnating in silos which can neither be accessed nor refreshed.
Connecting the people you have deployed with your customers and suppliers with relevant data and allowing that data to be constantly kept up to date, is a huge opportunity for your organisation to offer the best possible service to your clients.
In fact, by mobilising your data, applications and staff, you stand a far better chance of winning new business from existing customers as well as making your company more attractive to new prospects.
Modern companies realise their staff often achieve a lot more if they’re out working with partners and clients. That time spent face to face is where you can build strong relationships and get under the skin of a client’s business.
Staff need the infrastructure and a powerful mobile device to allow them to be as productive outside of their office as in it. They need to be able to access data in the field and collaborate with colleagues and clients without any hindrance.
Securing your devices and connections
The prime consideration when mobilising your staff is ensuring that the ability to work where your clients require them to be does not compromise data integrity.
When an organisation’s staff are accessing their own company’s data, as well as information stored by customers, and potentially third party partners, security has to be the prime consideration.
There are some very simple but important golden rules around the devices themselves.
They need to be encrypted and to be set up so they can be blocked and wiped remotely if lost.
People may think that a pass code is sufficient but if there’s data on a device, someone has the potential to read it.
Just as the smartphone, laptop or tablet PC has to be secure, so too does the connection handling confidential information.
If the application is going to be used for sensitive information, such as sales figures or financial predictions, the safest way is for data to be routed over the company’s Virtual Private Network.
This provides a secure connection that an application can be set up to log on to automatically. However for a lot of services that employee’s need security might not be such an issue.
For these we often provide them through a browser, both for our staff and customers. It means a user can work through their device’s web browser over their network’s own connection or, if there is one, a shared Wi-Fi signal.
Performance and talent gains
The benefit of having staff who can work seamlessly and securely within a customer or suppliers’ business as easily as their own can never be underestimated.
In fact, the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology quantified the productivity gain of giving staff unfettered access to the right information at the right time.
It believes it leads to a 7 per cent boost in productivity; equivalent to handing out more than two hours of extra capacity per week to every employee.
Organisations that put in place the network, applications and devices to ensure staff can work where clients need them to be will find it easier to attract and retain top talent.
Today, consumer mobile products are incredibly powerful and staff are likely to have a preference for the device they believe will help them organise their home and work life most efficiently.
Organisations that don’t tap in to this Bring Your Own Device movement will find it far harder to recruit and retain the top people that will keep clients delighted.
Those who do, will conversely find mobilisation a means of getting data to its people in the field and ensure those people are the best available.