BYOD Up Up and Away!

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BYOD (bring your own device) is a trend that can be depicted as a graph line headed upward, with more companies than ever implementing BYOD initiatives. However, the rapid rate of growth in the use of personal devices is creating serious headaches for IT personnel responsible for delivering information to people carrying such devices. The answer to this problem is to let outside experts develop the tools that work securely with the web and corporate cloud systems, and let IT worry about monitoring and managing employee BYOD training and usage.

The Pew Research Center conducted a research project a few months ago on device ownership. For people between the ages of 18 and 29, smartphone ownership grew to a stunning 86 percent, and for people between the ages of 30 and 49, the number is an equally stunning 83 percent. Smartphone ownership is increasing while the ownership of laptops and desktops is decreasing. It’s not surprising that more businesses are allowing employees to use their personal smartphones for work because the digital devices serve as a direct link between the business and an employee, no matter where the person may roam.

Today’s employees, in all sizes of business, are more far-flung and not tied to desks. They need mobile connectivity to remain as productive as possible. You must recognize that employees will use their mobile devices for work, with or without a formal policy. Gartner research found that approximately 70 percent of professionals will use mobile technology to conduct work by the year 2018. The obvious solution is for your business to get ahead of the trend by harnessing the power of mobility and making BYOD initiatives an employee engagement and productivity strategy.

The best way to harness the power of BYOD is to turn to experts who’ve developed secure connectivity protocols between iOS and Android devices and the corporate intranet and business systems, which may involve a corporate cloud system. Mobile technology is having a dramatic impact on the cost of IT operations as corporate experts try to stay ahead of the wider variety of mobile device configurations, mobile corporate systems’ compatibility issues and security needs. Is it costing you more to have IT integrate and support a range of ever-changing devices than it would to outsource mobile connectivity?

Businesses need a BYOD solution that secures the data, not just the device. Mobile security requires a holistic approach through platform offerings with APIs and apps that focus on ease of connectivity, data transfers and security. Roaming employees need secure access to corporate systems, and the company needs engaged and productive employees. Satisfy both needs by implementing secure and cost-effective BYOD connectivity and usage programs developed by mobility experts.

Employee Engagement Solutions are No Longer “Nice to Have”

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Employment engagement solutions are no longer “nice to have,” because companies with engaged employees outperform businesses with disengaged employees. Engagement solutions are critical business drivers of increased employee satisfaction, productivity and communication. Rising to the top of the sustainable engagement solutions list is mobile technology, an accommodation for the tech generation that also improves communication between employees at all levels and enhances work efficiency.
Employees are sophisticated today and how employers interact with them is critical. For example, your millennial employees are committed to their mobile phones, so employers offering state-of-the-art technology, such as mobile apps linked to their corporate systems, are keeping employees engaged wherever they are. Technology Advice conducted a study to determine the relationship of nice-to-haves to employee retention. Almost 32 percent of respondents named remote work or flexible schedules as the most preferred accommodations, and 56 percent said these type of items were important when evaluating available jobs. Mobile technology enables remote work and flexible schedules, playing an important role in talent recruitment and retention, turning a nice-to-have into a must-have.

When Aon Hewitt conducted its annual survey of 2015 trends in global engagement, it found the overall work experience is deteriorating in areas of autonomy, enablement and sense of accomplishment. Employees who do not feel empowered are more likely to be less productive and disengaged, and they are more likely to leave the organization. Mobile technology is an excellent tool for engagement; it empowers employees by giving them improved communication capability, direct access to backend systems no matter where they are and enhanced productivity through improved work efficiency.

Towers Watson, the prestigious consulting group, speaks of sustainable engagement, alluding to the importance of implementing enduring engagement drivers rather than one-time programs or once-only surveys. Key drivers include a job that makes good use of skills, team members who work together to produce exceptional results, a high level of employee cooperation and leadership that communicates with employees in a positive manner. Once again, technology like mobile apps can support all these engagement drivers, thereby increasing connectivity and productivity. The apps make it easier for employees to complete job tasks and communicate with each other while working in-house or remotely, and also helps managers stay in touch with employees via messaging and regular engagement surveys.

Savvy employers are instituting BYOD policies, as well as utilizing mobile apps and data to improve employee engagement.

Developing Your Own App is Hard!

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Believe it or not, desktop computers are on the endangered species list. Just three years ago, 90 percent of Internet and intranet browsing was done on what was considered state-of-the-art desktop systems. Today, that figure has dropped to 60 percent. Mobile technology is rapidly taking over the Web, and innovative leaders are taking advantage of the productivity and increased employee engagement that new mobile tools and bring your own device (BYOD) policies provide.

Unfortunately, some companies have a fear of commitment. Instead of embracing the future by choosing best-in-class mobile solutions, they invest limited amounts of cash on in-house creations. Typically, the resulting applications are simply scaled-down versions of existing intranet sites with a little extra responsiveness thrown in — hardly applications that will attract tech-savvy digital natives.

High-quality mobile apps are created from the ground up, using a mobile-first design model. Instead of starting with a full website and taking unnecessary pieces out, superior employee apps begin with the bare minimum and build up. Designers focus on the user experience first, and they use all of the extra functionality available in the mobile world to their best advantage. The resulting product is sleek, intuitive and practical. More importantly, it can be used with the full range of mobile devices available in today’s marketplace. However, a mobile-first design model requires experience and expertise only available from dedicated mobile design specialists, which are rarely found in the average IT department.

Application development is just the first step of what can only be considered a long journey. One study determined that the initial cost to create and deploy a mobile app is only 35 percent of the total two-year spend. Maintaining mobile apps in-house is an expensive proposition, requiring dedicated IT staff to work full time on updates. On the low side, mobile apps must be updated two or three times per year, and apps handling sensitive HR data may require updates monthly.

Consider the piles of paperwork you demand from each new hire — and that’s nothing compared to the endless routine transactions required throughout each employee’s time with the company. Every address change, pay increase, and promotion means another form. Managing all of this in one easy-to-use mobile app keeps up with current trends, which are shifting away from eight hours at a desk. Today’s millennial employees are working anytime, anywhere, relying on their mobile devices. Offering the option to perform basic transactions on-the-go is a key driver of employee engagement.

Successfully transitioning to mobile technology requires careful planning. Slapdash approaches that force existing Web pages to serve double-duty on mobile devices leave everyone unhappy. Organizations that attempt to create their own apps find themselves sinking piles of money into an ineffective end result. Smart companies have learned that leaving the development of mobile technology to specialists is easier, less expensive, and more effective than creating homegrown apps.