Mobility Forecast 2016: Three Ways to Address BYOD and Workforce Evolution

On the long list of transformational changes—the digital enterprise, big data, the Internet of Things—keeping life interesting for CIOs and IT groups, a key area of focus is the ongoing developments in BYOD and workforce mobility. Tech leaders are challenged to make wise investments within a nascent and rapidly evolving tools environment.

BYOD and mobility forecast 2016That’s the central point made by Dell’s Tom Kendra in his article, Mobility Forecast: BYOD and EMM in 2016 on CIO.com. He writes that “for IT to be prepared to manage change efficiently, securely and cost-effectively, it is essential to understand the key drivers of change.”

Here are the three categories of change identified by Kendra, along with observations from this blog.

Buzzwords

Terms like “mobile,” “connected,” “data rich” and “virtual” are overused but clearly reflect what’s on the minds of enterprise software vendors and customers alike, according to Kendra.

Indeed, with continuing advances in the speed and coverage of wireless networks combined with ever faster, more powerful, more capable devices and improved battery life, workers are untethered from their physical workspaces as never before. Some are even questioning whether traditional office space, with its expensive real estate and hours spent each week commuting, is still necessary.

What’s clear is that technology and business leaders need to stay current on BYOD and mobility trends; the productivity, cost and security impacts of mobility; and the changing expectations of increasingly tech-savvy employees.

Reality and preference

Kendra predicts that the workplace of tomorrow will combine traditional offices with “a highly connected remote-worker ecosystem made up of employees, contractors and partners. Preference will become increasingly important as organizations have more flexibility in how they build their workforces,” as both technology and expectations continue to evolve.

Such changes are happening already (at companies like Telus, for example), and require refinement of BYOD policies and practices along with use of online collaboration tools for bringing experts in different locations together and changes in the way internal services and support are delivered. Forrester Research has even suggested renaming “IT support” to “workforce enablement”—a more proactive term suitable for today’s dispersed workplace environment.

How fast the workforce is evolving

Kendra writes that “Over the next two years, we will continue to see a rapid increase in the number of device types, use cases and collaborative tools,” which will put pressure on IT groups to both simplify and strengthen their mobility management.

He concludes by making the case for comprehensive enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions.

Without addressing EMM specifically, as a general practice, enterprises are moving away from broad single-vendor suites toward a mix of applications that can be connected via open communication protocols and swapped in and out as technology advances and business needs change—and they have been for many years.

Modern workflow automation tools enable organizations to use open communication methodologies in an enterprise service integration (ESI) strategy to connect business services across the enterprise in a scalable, flexible, and manageable manner.

Legacy management and control applications can be connected to newer on-premises software and cloud-based applications, with data combined, filtered and presented via custom systems of engagement in a browser or on a mobile device. The key is to choose tools that will work with the systems and applications the enterprise has in place today, as well as whatever may be installed or subscribed to tomorrow.

Comprehensive solutions may still make sense within specific functional areas, but shouldn’t be viewed as a constraint. In general, when enhancing business functionality or extending the reach of applications and data to mobile devices, an evolutionary approach works best.

Next Steps

2 thoughts on “Mobility Forecast 2016: Three Ways to Address BYOD and Workforce Evolution”

  1. Thanks for sharing this mobility forecast for 2016! With many more technological advancements on the way, it will definitely be interesting to see what the future holds.

    1. You’re most welcome Lauren, glad you found the post helpful! These are challenging times for CIO, but an evolutionary approach using systems of engagement can help address many of these issues.

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