Your mobile device is generally an extension of you. It’s a tough reality many of us still hesitate to admit, but, if we’re honest, these pocket-sized computers are a huge part of the way we live and, similarly, the way we work. In fact, as tablet sales are set to outpace laptops this year, it’s also a statistical fact that mobile devices becoming just as important for work today as computers. Productivity has undoubtedly been affected by these devices too, but now that the BYOD dust has settled, what does always-on mobile management look like from a talent perspective?
Of course, we’re still in the early stages, but it should come as no surprise that mobile devices in the workplace need management, and it shouldn’t be a siloed endeavor. Too many companies split responsibilities among the IT department (to deal with tech issues), the finance department (to help pay the bill), and the employee (to own the device). These three areas are important and necessary, but as mobile devices become part of how we work and interact on a daily basis, it makes sense to understand mobile behavior beyond enterprise apps and access to the company Intranet.
The Truly Mobile Worker
Your workforce is spread out today, which is part of the reason they are so plugged into their devices. Giving employees the flexibility to work from wherever they want is a workplace perk many companies are adopting, but this also makes mobility management all the more important and strategic to a company’s overall success. Businesses need mobility teams in place, with the right mix of skills, to make strategic decisions when it comes to mobility.
Mobility management is an increasingly different challenge from the days of early data devices (see: BlackBerry’s first model). As such, mobile programs are no longer limited to a handful of executives, all using the same phone, covered by one of three voice plans on the same carrier.
Workers are now employing multiple mobile platforms (iOS, Windows and Android), device types (smartphones, tablets and Aircards) and data and voice plans. Now, mobility managers must oversee, on average, more than 1.5 devices per employee. What’s more, mobile data and the explosion of cloud applications have quite literally turned smartphones into computers, connecting people with calendars, contacts, work applications and the information they need to do their jobs from anywhere.
Dive Into the Data
eMarketer predicts that there will be 4.55 billion mobile users worldwide this year, with 1.75 billion of them using smartphones. There is certainly no shortage of data being exchanged between these devices. While it may mean that productivity is up in some cases, it also means there’s a lot of available information up for grabs. No, I’m not suggesting you spy on your employees, but the data collected by devices can be a tool for HR, not just IT.
Deciphering data can be confusing, but utilizing data software, for example, can help you understand what applications your employees are using and how they are engaging with one another on their devices. It can even be a money saver, if you’re able to cut back on mobile initiatives that aren’t useful or engaging for employees.
“Dynamic analytics software reveals the hard facts on what makes employees most successful, allowing executives to make smart operational decisions,” Max Simkoff, co-founder and CEO of workforce management company Evolv, tells CIO Insight.
While the management and understanding of employees in a mobile age may sound complex, the benefits can be great: from a better connected company culture to a more cost-effective mobile program, companies need to take the time to dive deeper than the device itself if they really want to know their workforce.