We are fast approaching a future wherein everyone is perpetually connected. This is largely due to two technologies. Firstly, internet connections are sending burgeoning amounts of data at faster rates through farther-reaching networks. Secondly, smartphones and laptops are becoming lighter, comparable in processing power to desktops, and last longer between charges. These advancements have led to the rise of mobile employees.
Mobility is a boon for businesses because it increases productivity. However, not every mobility solution is worthwhile, efficient, or secure enough for business applications. To address these challenges, a new discipline has been developed: enterprise mobility management (EMM).
Enterprise mobility management is an evolving set of processes and technologies that have been integrated to enable remote work without compromising on corporate data security. To have a better understanding of EMM, let’s look at it through the lens of business management functions.
To plan is to create a set of specific steps towards an organizational goal. Imagine a shoe store manager who wants to reduce customer wait times. He comes up with a plan to give sales clerks tablets with real-time data from an inventory management system.
Coming up with goal statements like that is not easy, and defining action steps may be harder. Because mobility solutions are rooted in IT, the planning function of EMM is best fulfilled by expert consultants from a reputable managed IT services provider (MSP) such as Edward Technology. They can identify your pain points, clarify your objectives, and determine how mobile technology can be implemented in your organization to fulfill those objectives.
Once a plan has been finalized, its implementation will require the distribution of resources and the organization of manpower. The shoe store manager in our example above must canvass for cost-effective tablets, choose between plug-and-play software and bespoke apps, and delegate tasks such as mobile device maintenance and IT systems management.
Of course, the manager can instead go to an MSP to procure the hardware and software that best suit the company’s needs. That way, salespeople stick to sales, and IT experts handle technology support. Cloud services in particular allow businesses to use tailored software systems without having to spend a lot on IT infrastructure or worry too much about things like software updates and data backups.
Making your workforce adopt new technology can be difficult, even if it’s for their benefit. Most people naturally remain in their comfort zones and resist change, but it's your job as a manager to challenge the status quo.
There are several things you can do to gain your employees' support, such as including them in any procurement decisions, letting their peers train them on how to use mobility solutions securely, and holding the management team to the same set of standards as employees.
To lead also means to recognize that workers are not merely means to a corporate end. We all have aspirations to serve a higher purpose and belong to a place we can be proud of. To inspire enthusiasm among users, show them that their adoption of mobility matters and that work-life balance is an important corporate value. Regularly report on how mobility leads to more tasks done, appreciable time savings, or other metrics that are related to shared goals. You can even gamify EMM to make it more exciting. For example, you can reward users who process the most orders or close the most sales on their devices.
While mobility is great for productivity, it can be disastrous for data security. Lost or stolen devices become access points to hackers and corporate spies. Disgruntled employees can turn against you by divulging company secrets outside of corporate firewalls. The need for data security with regards to mobile devices is so great that it led to the inception of processes and technologies that comprise EMM today. Here are those that enable the control function:
- Mobile device management (MDM) – the use of software to control, secure, and enforce corporate data policies on mobile devices
- Mobile application management (MAM) – similar to MDM, but allows for policies to be set on specific apps instead of on the entire device
- Mobile content management (MCM) – the means for controlling the access to and transmission of corporate data on approved apps
- Identity and access management (IAM) – enables the setting up of security protocols to control what users can do with corporate data (e.g., view-only access versus editing and email forwarding rights), when they’re allowed access, and where they can access it — regardless of what device they’re on.
Mobility may just be the competitive edge your enterprise needs to pull away from your rivals. If you’re interested to learn more about how EMM can help your bottom line, contact our experts at Edward Technology.