So much attention is paid to the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon and trends around mobile device deployment and adoption in the workplace. Mobile devices are already changing the way we work—and there is little doubt that what has occurred thus far only scratches the surface. With initiatives around mobility, the Internet of Things (IOT) and ubiquitous cloud enablement, work process is changing right in front of our eyes.
Prior to the transition to digital and mobile technologies, business process in the office environment related mostly to documents and document workflow. But in today’s business climate, information is king: Organization and manipulation of information for use in a variety of applications and form factors is what will drive business success. Indeed, information management is consistently listed among the top three IT issues facing businesses today—fostering significant investment in mobile-friendly enterprise content management and customer relationship management solutions, for example.
Even so, there are significant obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is the growing amount of content created and consumed. Knowledge workers are generating much more content today than was produced just five to 10 years ago. Individuals now have greater access to content, and they have greater access to more sophisticated, often mobile applications and tools for interacting with that content. The number of mobile applications designed specifically for business use is growing by leaps and bounds.
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As a result, we have seen an increasing trend toward bring your own process (BYOP) within the corporate environment. Individuals are not only bringing their own devices into the workplace, but they are making their own decisions about how and when to use them—often circumventing existing corporate processes, policies and procedures. In most cases, this is the result of individuals finding their own methods for utilizing mobile technology and applications as a means of convenience.
But how much productivity should we be willing to sacrifice in exchange for a mobile solution? Mobile technologies have delivered on convenience—the ability to perform certain business functions while untethered from the network. Yet, there are numerous instances where productivity suffers. The simple process of accessing documents from your smartphone or tablet device can sometimes be very difficult and time-consuming. File formatting problems and compatibility issues are troublesome, especially when dealing with something other than a PDF document.
Issues, such as content creation, collaboration and secure distribution, remain problematic in a mobile environment. This is true even for mobile printing. Despite a broad range of offerings and ongoing efforts to standardize solutions through organizations, such as MOPRIA, printing from mobile devices is still a process that is nowhere near as simple and efficient as printing from a desktop or laptop computer. Yet, that has not stopped users from implementing existing solutions—often without the consent of the IT department.
The critical point is not that mobile solutions need to improve in order to become more productive and efficient. That is a given, and it is a process that is already well underway. The more important point is that mobile technology, combined with cloud-based applications and an improved Internet infrastructure, are providing unprecedented levels of freedom to the individual user. This is something that organizations must manage effectively in order for mobile technologies to become a true resource for enhancing productivity, rather than just convenience.