Enterprise team management is evolving to support a mobile workforce

CIOs are being pushed by their companies to support a more mobile and global workforce than ever before.

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Microsoft has a team of 120,000 people, Google relies on a team of 72,000 employees, Yahoo has 8,500 and Netflix has 3,500 team members scattered around the world.

The power of the internet has allowed for these massive teams to work closely together from virtually anywhere with a stable internet connection. For recruiters and bean counters, this is great news – cheaper and/or more talented workers can be sourced from a much larger pool of talent.

For CIOs, the list of challenges is endless, including:

  • Maintaining a secure, reliable data connection for teams working in remote areas.
  • The bring your own device (BYOD) culture that requires cross-platform applications to run on potentially compromised devices.
  • Creating and supporting technology that keeping leadership, management and front-line personnel in sync; time zones on-demand schedules, infrastructure challenges and language barriers have to be thoughtfully navigated.

Thankfully, technology is aggressively evolving to address these issues.

Enterprise management of BYOD tech is now baked into most operating systems

If you were to tell me in 2007 that Apple’s new iPhone would prove lethal to RIM’s Blackberry, I would have laughed. And I wouldn’t have been alone – Microsoft’s CEO could barely hold back.

But nearly a decade later, a third of new phones sold are iPhone variants. In their most recent quarter they stole market share from Android and Windows smartphones in every market outside of China and Germany. Even a large portion of Google’s and Microsoft’s employees bring their Apple iPhones to work.

Oh, and I almost forgot Blackberry – the ubiquitous corporate mobile device of the early 2000’s. They waived the white flag of surrender last year, announcing they will no longer create their own smartphone devices.

There were many things that precipitated this seismic shift in employee smartphone preferences. I would argue that the final death nail in RIM’s coffin was the aggressive pursuit of enterprise customers by Apple – from licensing Exchange ActiveSync through Microsoft to creating an iPad that changed the way both consumers and executives interacted with their technology.

Suddenly the phone and tablet that everyone wanted had compelling enterprise capabilities – universally baked into the operating system. This precipitated a shift that is continuing to gain momentum today, from traditional workstations to a truly mobile workforce.

Cloud-based, cross-platform team management applications

Smartphones today have more computing power than the entirety of NASA in 1969 – that’s the year we put a man on the moon!

All of this computing power would be useless without the ability to network devices together in a way that allows for shared information and seamless communication. Enter cloud-based employee management platforms. From field service scheduling to seamless team collaboration with Google Drive, the cloud is being pressed into service in new ways to solve challenges that CIOs are desperately looking to put in the rear-view mirror.  

Security in the cloud

Having all of this information flying around cyberspace makes things easier for mobile teams to stay in sync. But it’s a scary proposition for technologists that are worried about privacy and security.

Hackers gaining access to privileged corporate data, especially involving their customers’ financial transactions, is a costly breach. The average cybersecurity breach cost companies $4 million in 2015. The idea of throwing all of this data into the cloud, and away from carefully designed corporate firewalls, takes a bit of a gut check.

But, even with all of the fear, there is reason to believe that the cloud is actually safer than a traditional corporate server rack. First, there is data redundancy. A catastrophic forest fire that wipes out a data center near Yosemite won’t result in a total loss of the data that was handled by that center.

And in terms of fending off a data breach, according to industry experts, “Whether it's more secure or less secure, [the cloud is] at least as secure as most enterprise environments.”

Enterprise-grade mobile collaboration

Thanks to innovations by technologists around the world, the way we communicate and interact is changing daily – mostly for the better. Enterprise IT teams are able to bring in outside tools and technologies to supplement massive global teams of talent.

The world is getting smaller, and team efficiency is skyrocketing. In the very near future, CIOs will be able to go back to looking for ways to innovate, instead of putting out fires caused by global expansion.

Although, I may be overly optimistic. How much longer will our office bookshelves boast titles like Business at the Speed of Stupid? At least we know workplace tech is getting better and not worse, and maybe that’s as good as tech evolution gets?

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