By Katie Maller for ShoreTel
Without a doubt, the future of personal computing lies in mobility. With the explosion of smartphone adoptions that resulted from the introduction of the iPhone, more people are choosing to perform basic tasks on a mobile device rather than a laptop or PC. As it has gotten easier to navigate touchscreen interfaces and capabilities of these machines increase, there has been a swell in the levels of use that they experience.
The kind of bolstered functionality that has occurred in the consumer sphere also extends into the workplace. Employees commonly leverage their digital tools to enable new means of productivity, both in the office and on the go. But while it is considered somewhat of a blessing that staff members can now perform their own basic digital operations, it comes at a price. Rogue IT is what happens when well-meaning employees seek out their own solutions, often turning to business mobile applications that have not been approved for company use. Apps like this can leak sensitive data all over cyberspace, even if their designers did not have these intentions.
It is clear from the growth of bring-your-own-device workplaces that mobility is more important than ever. Even at companies where BYOD is supposedly outlawed, chances are that there are people using their personal tablets and smartphones to handle company matters – the ease of use that comes with them makes it possible to circumvent many common restrictions. This new breed of employee is not only interested in meeting deadlines and achieving goals, but in finding new, more efficient ways of doing so. Enterprise mobility solutions need to reflect that.
Overly Restrictive Policies Inhibit Innovation
The presence of personal mobile devices in the workplace is inevitable, if is not already a reality. People are naturally going to gravitate towards the tools that they feel the most comfortable using. This can be one of the major pitfalls of BYOD, however. Allowing employees too much freedom can be just as harmful as attempting to outlaw digital productivity altogether.
“BYOD isn’t anything goes,” wrote InformationWeek contributor Thomas Claburn. “Nor does it mean that IT’s hands are tied in terms of the kinds of apps and devices that are allowed. Successful implementations will provide guidance to employees about what is and is not acceptable.”
But it is in that guidance where even more can go wrong. If the policies constructed are too rigid and lack room for employees to explore and customize their experiences, then fewer people will register their devices with the organization and resort to shadow IT operations to complete their tasks.
Workers who are seeking out new ways to do their jobs are essential to the companies for which they work. As mobile business applications continue to populate the enterprise landscape, there is great potential for innovation to occur. But for it to be realized, organizations need to be keen on equipping their staff members to navigate these water safely. It is a natural inclination in this generation of the workforce that can take their employers to the next level, and it is important that their freedom be fostered.