Companies need to do more for a seamless mobile workforce: forum

Companies need to do more for a seamless mobile workforce: forum

Says questions surrounding system security, device support and application mobility still exist


Issues such as security, device support and application mobility have caused organisations to hold back from adopting mobility and BYOD in the workforce, according to a panel of IT experts.

They were speaking at a roundtable in Sydney which looked at the issues of mobilisation of enterprise applications, security, mobile device management and the consequences of mobility in key business applications.

Speakers claimed that although there is a rise in consumer attachment to mobile devices and pressures on organisations to introduce BYOD policies, IT departments are struggling to integrate mobility into their service delivery strategies.

Frost and Sullivan A/NZ ICT practice research director, Audrey William, said security was the biggest issue businesses face with regards to BYOD.

“The question is how much control is there over devices that enter a work environment. Businesses should have a well-defined security policy, distinguish between end-user and corporate data, have enforcement policies, and educate the user base,” Websense A/NZ country manager, Gerry Tucker, said.

Tucker claimed organisations need to also adapt their acceptable user security policies to reflect differences in use between BYOD and organisation-supplied devices.

BlinkMobile Interactive director, Alan Williams, mentioned that businesses are rushing into the application space without thinking how they can support it.

“The next vital wave is, now that businesses have done the bread and butter stuff – delivering things out there based on the assumption that they’re going to increase productivity, how are they going to integrate it with existing systems?” he said.

Kaseya managing director, Dermot McCann, cited a June 2012 Kaseya survey of Australian IT managers, which found that 58 per cent of IT managers allow more than 80 per cent of staff to use mobile devices for business in the workplace. However, he said that more than a third of them do not have a mobile device management policy in place.

“What we are finding among IT departments is a pervasive absence of policy to deal with security issues, particularly when it comes to keeping up with the plethora of mobile devices. In many ways the question of BYOD is serving to highlight that IT is becoming ever more confusing for business.

“There's a real need for the industry to focus on reducing cost and complexity of IT rather than allowing emerging trends to introduce additional cost and complexity,” McCann said.

Preferred endpoint device

However, Frost and Sullivan predicted BYOD will become the preferred endpoint device model for organisations in the future.

“Companies need to start addressing the ability to serve diverse users with just the content they want, when and where they want it overlayed with appropriate security and policy requirements, because one way or another, mobility is going to permanently transform work processes,” William said.

LifeSize Communications A/NZ country manager, Tim Fulton, mentioned the growth of mobility would lead to an increase in the use of video conferencing.

As the ability to work becomes less dependent on location, employees will turn to tablets and smartphones to join meetings, communicate and collaborate with colleagues and customers, eh said

“One of the biggest steps forward has been the ability to deliver high definition video on mobile devices. The next step, will be to develop video solutions that support as broad and deep a number of devices with enterprise grade video conferencing as possible,” Fulton said.

Interactive Intelligence A/NZ and Pacific managing director, Brendan Maree, predicted a strengthened corporate desire to create a single channel capable of dealing with all customer interactions including social media, Web, email, SMS, Web chats and self-service automation is another consequence of increased mobile users.

“Currently, everyone is struggling to deal with the variety of customer contact channels residing in different platforms. Adding mobility and BYOD to the mix will only make things more complex.

“To maintain the quality of the customer experience, we need to work towards an “omni-channel” – an application that has a holistic view of the customer across all channels, where all metadata unify into a single approach,” he claimed.

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