Unhappy with the outdated BYOD policy at his work, a friend of mine just announced he’s leaving his job.
"Can't do my work properly if I am not able to interact with customers and the guys back at the office while I'm on the road," said the long-time sales engineer at a financial software company. "Management is asking for more output. Expectations are going through the roof. But we’re barely getting email on our phones. I'll never meet my quota this way."
Unfortunately, he’s not alone. Most workers are deprived of the modern tools required to successfully conduct business in 2013. While two-thirds of companies lack BYOD policies, those who've managed to craft plans usually miss the mark, worrying more about fencing off the enterprise than enabling its people.
It’s no wonder then that 30% of devices are sneaked in behind the back of IT.
Understandably, for most enterprises the consumerization of IT is a headache. The avalanche of mobile devices, personal email accounts and file-sharing services employees introduce to the workplace daily are neither secure nor standardized. But there’s little IT can do to slow down the intensifying BYOD movement.
At the same time, IT is tasked with building clouds of services that reach everyone, everywhere, not just staff at office desks. Today, communications need to be as social as Facebook, as reactive as Twitter. And business applications must always be at your fingertips.
So how do you tie it all together? How do you transform your business to meet employees’ evolving demands?
Well, if the staff insists on bringing phones and tablets to work, let’s leverage the devices by sticking business apps on them.
With a mobile IT app like MyIT from BMC, for example, you can transform the challenge of IT consumerization into a business advantage. Deflect routine help-desk calls by letting employees report problems and ask for services from an easy-to-use app. Drive productivity with geo-location services that match your whereabouts with the nearby resources, such as available conference rooms, warehouse containers and ECG machines at the hospital.
The benefits of context-based services stretch from the front-office, where employees and customers request services, report issues and ask questions, to the back-office where requests are granted, problems fixed and queries answered. While tools already connect self-service portals with fulfillment engines, we need mobility to truly take advantage of a consumerized IT front-end and industrialize IT back-end.
Location is probably the most familiar mobile technology available. From Google Maps to Yelp, the GPS coordinates tell us where someone is and where they've been. We also can use geographic information to expedite IT services.
Here’s one simple example.
When a sales guy travels to his firm’s New York office, his mobile email stops working upon arrival. Instead of calling the help desk, he opens the self-service app on his smartphone and logs a ticket.
Because the ticket logged from the phone shows his location, the help desk assigns a nearby IT technician to resolve the issue. The help desk knew the tech was in the vicinity because of the GPS coordinates broadcast from the mobile incident-management app.
While context-driven engagements allow the help desk to maximize its efficiency, it significantly alters the end users perception of IT. Chris Rixon recently wrote a critique on Forrester’s report "Exploring Business and IT Friction: Myths and Realities," arguing that location-based service and support "is going to be one of the most important factors in genuinely transforming an end users experience (and perception) of IT. You can ensure that the notifications you provide to Alice are timely and appropriate to her role and location."
"You can offer her support that’s specific to the facility she currently finds herself in. You can provide connectivity information, the location of key devices and how to connect them. You can even provide floor plans and maps of where everything so she can orient herself in unfamiliar surroundings."
"Modern mobile computing devices are opening up new kinds of contextual information about their users. This information can now be used to massively enrich the IT experience and eliminate a lot of the wasted effort both sides expend in tracking down the right services at the right time."