The Nokia launch and BlackBerry outages flag up the need to provide secure and reliable application and services access to executives on the move.
These two events last month show just how important it is becoming for organisations to provide employees with secure and reliable accessibility to information and services, wherever they may be.
We all know just how dependent employees are on smart devices – witness the chaos caused by the recent BlackBerry outages. And Nokia’s launch of two new smartphones using the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS is an acknowledgement from the Finnish handset manufacturer of the need to be able to offer similar services on smartphones as on a desktop. The challenge for all of us in business is to harness the power of these devices both in the way employees communicate with each other within the enterprise and in our dealings with customers.
Interestingly, recent findings announced by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise have found that when mobile and away from the workplace, just 31% of workers have the same ability to access information systems as when in the office. Yet with 63% of workers now using a smartphone for corporate use, the research highlights the growing need for more advanced communication technologies within the workplace. Our research supports this with 76% of those surveyed believing that being able to access the Internet and email from their mobile phone could increase their productivity and engagement – with 78% having experienced some level of frustration when they had difficulty in remotely sharing information with people or groups.
Security is of course a major factor in the adoption of BlackBerry smart devices on a wide scale in enterprises. But the recent BlackBerry outages have made CIOs sit up and look at their reliability levels, and assess their disaster management strategy in order to ensure business continuity during such outages.
Just how daunting is it for enterprises to support this influx of smart devices into their network? Well, not quite as daunting as some IT departments might think. Our research found that just under half (46%) didn't have to lower or relax their IT security standards at all in order to support a smartphone platform to provide effective collaboration across the entire enterprise.
So with a significant proportion of IT departments saying that they don't need to lower their security standards when integrating smart devices into the network, it is clearly becoming possible for enterprises to enable employees to access information when away from the office, whether from home, whilst on a site visit or when travelling, with exactly the same ease and quality as if they were sitting at their desk.
And of course, this is only the beginning. Multiple devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and multiple medias of communication services – email, voice, social media, IM, video, web conferencing and so on – are now a given across any enterprise and will drive the need for businesses to put in place a unified communication and collaboration strategy.
This explosion of multiple medias and multiple devices in turn creates a bandwidth-hungry and intensive army of applications, controlled by users who are increasingly intolerant of latency and network unavailability, which means that many more enterprises will have to start putting in place an Application Fluent Network strategy.