Last week, the weather knocked out the internet at my office for 12 hours. Two years ago, that would have been the longest 12 hours of my life. But this time, I was able to access all the documents and files I needed on my iPad and cell phone, thanks to the cloud and a simple data connection. Work didn’t halt—and my life didn’t end—from the lack of local internet accessibility. And as many companies today have come to realize, that is one of the greatest benefits of workforce mobility.
In fact, one of the major forces fueling the digital transformation is the increasing desire for mobility. Just think about it. Ten or 15 years ago, your laptop needed a cord to connect to the internet; your mobile phone was just a phone; and tablets didn’t even exist. Now the mobile workforce can’t survive without smartphones and tablets. In fact, as I shared in my piece, Continued Evolution of Enterprise Mobility, Gartner predicts by 2022, 70 percent of all software interactions will occur on mobile devices. That’s forced tech leaders around the world to develop newer and better ways to keep opportunities for improved mobility front and center.
IDC research has shown mobile workers in the United States will grow to 105 million by 2020. It’s no wonder several companies, including major players like Microsoft and Apple, have developed entire suites of programs that we can access from any device, furthering our mobility. If your company has not yet jumped aboard the mobile movement, the following are a few ways—and reasons—to start.
Compatible Operating Systems
Do you remember the day when creating a document in Mac meant you wouldn’t be able to open it on a PC? Luckily, tech leaders realized the modern workforce needed systems to be compatible—and they’re still working on that compatibility today, this time from one device to another. Now, employees can easily open—and edit—virtually any document on their phones and iPads. What’s more, those documents will be compatible with whomever they send them to. This even means even greater efficiencies in the modern workplace, as employees no longer need to be at their desks to do what needs to be done. In fact, the average worker gains 240 work hours a year just by using mobile solutions.
I have some news for you: If you’re not yet using the cloud, you’re already falling behind. The cloud has opened an incredible number of possibilities—especially for small businesses—to access quality services and software, while increasing agility and enhancing the bottom line. In its most basic function, it’s increasing efficiencies by allowing employees to access documents from anywhere they’re working, and save them so they can be accessed anywhere else. But on a deeper level, the cloud can also enhance what employees are able to do with the files and information stored there. Using cloud-based software like Salesforce and Adobe Creative Suite, they can also access all the same programs they would in the office—without ever leaving their home. So much for spending Sunday mornings in the office playing catch up; employees can get ahead of the game from virtually anywhere in the world.
Virtualized Desktop Environments
In the past, virtualized desktop environments seemed like magic—magic reserved for managers and leadership who needed to access important files at all times. Nowadays, virtualized desktops are incredibly easy to use and allow companies to expand their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in big ways without sacrificing the security of their data. All employees need is a log-in and a device to get started. Check out my piece Virtualized Desktop Environments: The Future of Work in the Enterprise to learn more about them.
It used to be that syncing the calendar on your phone required hooking your phone up to your computer and performing a slow and painful manual process. The latest developments in security make backups seamless—and automatic—so that the information you access is always the most recent, no matter where you are grabbing it. No more missed appointments. No more false calendar alerts. Just everything you need to know—and access—exactly where you need it.
Granted, none of these mobility solutions would be growing at all if security weren’t also growing along with it. Advancement in virtualization security (check out my article Are You Using Virtualization Security Yet? to learn more about it) and threat intelligence allow mobile users to feel confident that the information they are accessing is safe for their devices—while also allowing companies to feel confident that their data will not be compromised by moving outside the traditional office environment. My only caveat: simpler is always better when it comes to keeping your information safe. As you begin to explore various OS, cloud, and security solutions, don’t get so excited by the possibilities that you create chaos within your mobile space. Make mobile a clear and present part of your digital strategy—perhaps even the greatest part of it—and ensure that all decisions you make have a clear connection to your business goals. If you do, you’re sure to reap the benefits.
Additional Articles on This Topic
Continued Evolution of Enterprise Mobility
Are You Using Virtualization Security Yet?
Enterprise Mobility: Eliminating the Need for Traditional Offices
Virtualized Desktop Environments: The Future of Work in the Enterprise
This article was first published on Forbes.