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Enabling a Mobile Workforce: Managing BYOD and Company-Owned Devices

This chapter from Enterprise Mobility Suite Managing BYOD and Company-Owned Devices explains why it is important for companies to develop an effective strategy for embracing a mobile workforce and also explains how the paradigm shift caused by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend impacts the overall strategy to securely adopt a mobile workforce.

The catchy phrase “work from anywhere” has evolved throughout the years and nowadays working from anywhere is the standard for many industries. However, as consumers started to use their own gadgets more and more to perform work-related tasks, “working anywhere and from any device” has become the new vision for many enterprises in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This chapter explains why it is important for companies to develop an effective strategy for embracing a mobile workforce and also explains how the paradigm shift caused by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend impacts the overall strategy to securely adopt a mobile workforce.

The shift towards mobility

When companies started to understand the value of cloud computing—particularly as it related to how they could leverage its resources to be more agile and to reduce costs—they also discovered that users were already consuming cloud resources on their own devices. Cloud-based apps are intended to run on all types of portable devices. Also, cloud-based apps are usually programmed to run on several major operating systems, a strategy that drives rapid adoption from consumers. In this new era of Enterprise IT—also referred to by Gartner1 as the “Third Era of Enterprise IT”—enterprise users not only demand agility, they demand a substantial increase in productivity.

While you might think that this concept is new, the fact is that this mobility phenomenon has been growing for at least the past seven years. A 2008 IDC study sponsored by Microsoft and performed by International Data Corporation (IDC) called Mobility Solutions in Enterprise-Sized Businesses: Quantifying the Return on Investment2 revealed that the Return of Investment (ROI) with the use of mobility technologies pays off. So the question becomes, “What strategy should be implemented to support a mobile work-force and remain competitive in the marketplace?”

A 2014 survey3 published by IDG Enterprise Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise (CITE) suggests that the consumerization of IT maximizes the capabilities of mobility and empowers users. This survey documents several key findings. The following two key findings specifically address the trends for IT and mobile workforces; these key findings are the core foundation of this book:

  • The proliferation of user-owned devices requires companies to adjust their policies and invest in Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities in order to maintain control over the devices while ensuring users can remain productive.
  • Security is a key element to consider throughout the lifecycle of mobile devices.

These findings reinforce the fact that while CEOs are willing to enable users to be more productive by using their own mobile devices, the IT department must remain in control of those devices to ensure the company’s data is protected.