Remember the old famous slogan “Don’t leave home without it?” This is what people are now doing with their mobile devices―no one is leaving home without them. In the beginning, they were a means for people to stay connected. They have far exceeded everyone’s expectations, having become a necessity for each and every generation, and it doesn’t stop there. Mobile devices play an important part for organizations when it comes to managing their employees. Between 2009 and 2010, companies felt a need to incorporate mobile devices into the work stream by implementing BYOD (“bring your own device”) for connecting to the corporate network. There were several benefits to this concept, including a boost in productivity from having employees use devices they were already familiar with. Having employees use their own devices also eliminated the need to buy each employee their device of choice.² This allowed for easy access to the organization’s applications and technology on the go. There are some disadvantages to mobile, including loss of data, loss of control, compatibility problems, risk of viruses, and additional IT support costs, which discourage companies from implementing these options. Let’s look at how Deloitte assessed the practice of implementing mobile in organizations.
Deloitte collaborated with Forbes Insights to understand what differentiates successful implementations from less successful ones. Organizations that included a mobile component with access anywhere, anytime, with any device were included in the survey results. Some of the key findings identified that 45 percent of the organizations surveyed felt that mobile deployments improved their productivity. However, depending upon the industry, these same levels of productivity expectations were not met in industries that included consumer and IP, as well as TMT. These organizations felt that the root causes of this were infrastructure and custom applications.
| • Deploying mobile options to your technology implementations does not necessarily result in an increase of success or rate of adoption|
• Tech implementations should include a mobile component, if possible
• Providing mobile access does not require training
To determine the value of mobile solutions, the survey compared respondents with fully mobile capabilities to those with limited mobile capabilities. The following responses assisted with defining mobile maturity:
- 21 percent – Each of our technology solutions includes a comprehensive mobile component, including access anywhere, anytime, with any device
- 41 percent – Majority of our technology solutions include mobile capability
- 22 percent – Have a balanced blend of mobile- and nonmobile-capable technology
- 10 percent – Have a limited mobile option in our technology solutions
- 5 percent – No mobile options offered
Potential benefits of mobile devices
Let’s look at the many mobile devices that can help employees stay connected. Many of the benefits of using mobile technology center around improving communication. Mobile devices help keep businesses and employees connected with each other. They give employees the ability to communicate instantly and respond quickly to business needs. Laptops can be viewed as a powerful computing device that offer access to all the applications needed to run a business. Potential benefits of using mobile technology for business include:
- Higher efficiency and productivity of staff by allowing virtual or remote work, which supports workplace of the future; organizations with a high level of technical maturity are more likely to reap benefits from remote work options
- Increased ability to communicate in and out of the workplace
- Improved networking capabilities
Cell phones are often a must-have business accessory for many good reasons. Cell phones mean that business owners and employees aren’t tied to an office. They can stay in touch from anywhere. Smartphones are increasingly powerful devices that are closer to mini-computers than old-style phones. As smartphones become more and more popular, business owners may consider implementing policies to deal with the use of these phones. This may include a no-talking-while-driving policy or a security policy that requires the use of passwords to protect valuable business data that may be kept on smartphones.
Laptops are the go-to devices of mobile business processing, and most companies offer employees their choice of laptop to create some familiarity on the employees’ part. This can help to maintain productivity without learning a new piece of equipment. Laptops are easy to carry around and offer a budget-friendly option for most companies. Wi-Fi access and hotspots are readily available for employees to stay connected as needed.
The benefits of mobile outweigh the challenges. Most individuals can grasp the usability of a mobile device simply because they have one that they use either at work or at home. In the past, training may have been an issue, but this challenge no longer exists. This type of equipment can be released to an employee with no training necessary. If organizations don’t currently have an existing mobile program, it will be necessary for them to establish infrastructure and buy-in from the organization before investing in a mobile deployment. Some organizations may not buy in as easily due to safety issues. There are several precautions that can be taken to ensure that mobile devices are secure:
- Keep corporate data safe by requiring that mobile devices have a screen lock or password.
- Wipe corporate information from devices if they’re lost or stolen.
- Publish and distribute private apps.
- Enforce stronger device passwords.
- Make your preferred work apps available to users in a catalog of recommended apps (Android and iOS).
- Keep work and personal apps separate on devices with a work profile.
- Restrict access to device settings and features, such as mobile networks, Wi-Fi, screen captures, and more.
- Monitor compliance with policies you set, and get reports about users, devices, and OS versions.
The survey results also compared companies that adopted a full suite of mobile and those that limited mobile use. The results showed that respondents who implemented a full suite of mobile solutions saw significant benefits, compared with respondents with limited mobile use.
- Increased adoption with a bring-your-own-device policy (71 percent) vs. limited mobile (31 percent)
- Gained faster access to newer technology (69 percent) vs. limited mobile (32 percent)
- Reduced replacement and maintenance cost (69 percent) vs. limited mobile (33 percent)
- Appealed more to the preferences of multiple generations of users (71 percent) vs. limited mobile (30 percent)
The future of work
The future of work for mobile may be driven by how organizations staff their resources, an increase in automation via mobile devices, and where people work in general. The smarter the device, the more people feel the need to be connected. This can create a greater impact on the way businesses see their relationships with internal and external customers. Organizations today should also understand the needs of their workforce as it applies to mobile use. Millennials and Gen Z were practically born with mobile devices in their hands, and they likely expect to have them incorporated somehow into their workday. The question remains: How will mobile affect the future of work in the next five years? If you are thinking about building a new business in the next few years, don’t stock up the IT storage area with desktops, because you may instead want to consider how many mobile devices you might need to run your organization.
| Ramona Cheatham is a senior consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, specializing in organizational transformation with a focus on change management for technology-enabled transformations. |
Jeffery Hall is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Digital & Cloud Enablement practice, advising and managing client business transformations driven by digital innovation.