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August 23, 2016

Reinventing Devices to Meet Today's Mobile-First Workforce Needs

By Special Guest
Christoph Schell, President of the Americas at HP

When it comes to work as well as play, the mindset of most millennials is “mobile first.”  The “most connected” generation has always had access to a notebook PC and other mobile devices. They live on mobile apps and some may not even remember a time before high-speed Internet. They expect to use their mobile devices to collaborate with others, to both create and consume content and to access the apps they need to get the job done. In response, many companies, particularly those in the tech sector, have set out on a mobile first strategy.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) marked an initial enterprise response to the mobile first trend, enabling employees to use their personal preferred devices for work – in fact not always one but several devices – saving employers on hardware costs at the same time. However, now there are signs that BYOD may be on the wane. In an online survey of 375 IT professionals, conducted last year by CompTia, the nonprofit IT trade association, more than half of respondents indicated that their organizations banned BYOD, up significantly from 34 percent in 2013.

Despite its promise, BYOD has brought more than just a few problems, security being the most notable, adding extra pressure on IT departments to secure a range of mobile devices from cyberattacks and network breaches. There are legal and regulatory implications as well for highly regulated companies, such as healthcare and financial services, when data is compromised.  Device management and maintenance and data segmentation – keeping personal data separate from corporate data – are other BYOD challenges.

And then there is the key issue of application development. The use of as many as three different devices to get through a workday, according to Gartner Inc., has also placed an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop and deploy a larger variety of mobile apps in a shorter time frame. Yet, the firm’s 2014 survey on mobile app development found that that the majority of organizations had developed and released fewer than 10 apps.

CYOD meets mobile first

Yet while companies are rethinking their BYOD policies, mobility first continues to be a priority to increase employee productivity and engagement. A global study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Aruba found that employees who view their employers as mobile pioneers rated their measure of engagement and performance higher than employees who rated their employers’ use of mobile technology in a less favorable light.

A new option many companies are embracing is Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), whereby employees choose a device from a pre-approved list. CYOD lets users continue to use their preferred mobile technology while employers set the procurement standards. CYOD provides companies with a more secure alternative to BYOD and gives IT more control over the devices in the network. With fewer approved devices accessing the network, management and support are also streamlined.

Adding to the CYOD momentum is the emergence of a new class of enterprise mobile devices that can rival many laptops, tablets and smartphones in raw processing power. Mobile system-on-chip (SoC) performance and network speeds are closing-in on traditional desktops and laptops – increasing 300 percent in the last three years alone. Mobile security is also quickly advancing, with impressive safeguards being offered at the hardware, device and operating system layers.

The trend for premium-looking, enterprise-class mobile devices that can pull double or triple duty in a variety of different computing form factors may be the key to providing employees with a true mobile-first experience. They will be able to access and interact with data seamlessly – now available everywhere via the cloud - based on their need and device preference at the time.

As an example, a salesperson will be able to use their preinstalled Salesforce app while on-the-go, then head into the office and seamlessly connect the mobile device to a large display and keyboard dock to continue work on the project with the rest of the team. And if the organization’s in-house software doesn’t yet have a mobile version available, the IT department can virtualize the desktop application using an off-the-shelf vendor solution to deliver content quickly and securely.

Companies know they need to deliver on the mobile first trend to meet the needs and expectations of today’s workforce, particularly with millennials. Providing employees with the mobile devices they desire while maintaining the necessary control and security is the logical first step.

About the Author:

Christoph Schell is President of the Americas Region for HP Inc. In this role, Christoph is responsible for the go-to-market strategy and overall financial performance of the Americas business across all products, services and go-to-markets. Reach the author at @christophschel.

Edited by Alicia Young

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