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Mobility: The smart investment for every CIO

Synchronoss CTO Richard Anstey urges CIOs to take a closer look at mobility, with potential revenue at risk for those who do not.

By Ellie Burns

Thanks to technology, our work and personal lives have undergone a digital transformation over the last ten years. Every home has multiple, connected devices, from the fridge to the tablet, and work environments thrive on cross-border collaboration through apps and file sharing services.

Mobility: The smart investment for every CIO

Richard Anstey, Enterprise CTO, Synchronoss.

The workplace has evolved to the point where employees have the flexibility to dictate the hours they work, and where they work until tasks are completed. Over 70% of businesses worldwide have flexible working policies in place, with 61% confirming it’s had a direct impact on company profits.

That’s why now, more than ever, businesses need to implement an effective enterprise mobility strategy that strikes a balance between staff productivity, profitability and security. It’s no easy feat for any CIO, but an essential one if enterprise mobility is going to be successful.

There are a number of questions every CIO is under pressure to answer: Is an enterprise mobility strategy worth the investment? Will productivity improve, without compromising on security? Will the increased productivity actually boost revenue? And where do you draw the line on investment – multi-stage or all-in?

There are no easy answers to those questions as every organisation is different. However, there are insights that organisations can learn from to steer them in the right direction. A survey, recently commissioned by Synchronoss, looked at enterprises in the UK and US to determine whether a more mature mobility strategy equated to greater productivity and profitability. The majority (91%) of UK businesses see mobility as a positive and essential way to improve productivity. The reality is that not every organisation knows where to start or has an effective strategy in place.


Lack of progress is a risk

In the age of hackers, data breaches and ransomware, enterprise-level security has never been more important. However, 38% of organisations globally have no requirement in place to secure their employees’ devices, leaving them open to a range of security threats, from malware ridden emails to loss or theft of the device itself.

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The issues go even deeper than security. 1 In 4 of UK organisations that the study classified as “Entry level” on the Maturity scale, don’t provide their workers even the simplest of mobility tools, such as remote email and calendar access. And 54% of organisations have limited visibility over device and app usage, which means reporting problems or making improvements is difficult.

This lack of progress stifles a company’s productivity, and their profitability as a direct result. Nearly 30% of Entry Level organisations are less profitable compared to those with advanced mobile capabilities. That’s down to the fact that these businesses are 15% less productive overall. With the majority of the businesses surveyed in the mid to large size organisation (500-1999 employees) range, that level of profit and productivity loss can put the company’s survival at risk.


The power of enterprise mobility

There are organisations who are getting enterprise mobility right and experiencing a transformational impact.  It’s more than just securing devices, it’s also about having dedicated file-sharing tools, multi-factor authentication, integrated apps and the proper collection and analysis of device usage data.

The 19% of organisations identified as “Additive” or the advanced category had everything from dedicated file-sharing tools to secure data transmission across devices. The additional layer on top that made their enterprise security strategy stand above the rest included integrated apps, multi-factor authentication, and their creative use of mobile contextual data, such as location and app usage to actively improve business processes. These companies saw a 15% rise in productivity and an incredible 49% year-on-year growth in profits.

EMM - Enterprise Mobility Management

While it might seem unrealistic to jump from “Entry level to Additive”, the stage in between on the Maturity scale called “Opportunistic” experienced equally as strong results, just by putting a few key measures in place. For example, Opportunistic companies implemented secure information-sharing (beyond email), collected and analysed device data, made passwords and PINs compulsory, and required at least native OS security measures to be in place on every device.

As a result, the enterprises saw a 9% profitability improvement and 7% productivity boost. For CIO’s looking to take an incremental approach to their enterprise mobility strategy, these results provide the justification needed to make that initial investment.


The success factors

Employee satisfaction is a major factor in ensuring an enterprise mobility strategy is a success. The introduction of app integration and multi-factor authentication – often found in the Additive stage companies – trigger a dramatic increase in user support demand. Greater complexity and additional security procedures, that many employees may not have previously been familiar with, can slow down wide-spread adoption and so need to be handled carefully.

In addition, increasing productivity doesn’t come simply by providing mobility tools. Organisations need to take measures to understand the data they are collecting, so that they can make changes and improvements continuously when needed, as well as having a better understanding of when or how issues have surfaced.  Collecting data from employees’ devices, for example, will enable a company to make informed, deliberate changes that can improve its processes and operations.

Enterprise mobility has been an industry buzzword for years, with organisations knowing they should consider it but lacking the real-world examples to back up the benefits. This study underscores the clear correlation between mobility, productivity, and profitability. As the digitisation of the workforce continues to evolve, it’s time for CIOs to take a closer look at their mobility strategy and make real improvements for transformational change. No business can afford to leave potential revenue on the table.

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