Enterprise mobility is about enabling value, not value engineering

Mobile Enterprise Adoption News – Summary:

  • BYOD – Bring your own device, nightmare or blessing? 460 extra hour a year
  • Most IT departments see mobility as a burden, not a huge opportunity
  • PC software applications generally need to be installed, explained & maintained by Information Technology  personnel. 


The consumerisation of IT has liberated the workplace. It has freed users from IT command and control. Anyone with a mobile device can act as an independent IT department. One can add and remove apps and services and also easily procure and maintain devices.

The downside is that many of the costs associated with mobility have been passed down to the end user, the employee. This could be anything from the cost of the device, to apps and monthly bill. The myth of BYOD (bring your own device) as a cost saving measure has convinced many senior executives of reduced technology budgets. But shifting the burden of costs to the employee is the wrong strategy that shortsighted organisations adopt.

Besides cost savings, another common argument for BYOD is that through mobile work you will get more hours worked per employee: two hours a day, 460 over the course of a year, according to a recent study. But this too is a shortsighted approach to mobility. While you may get more overall hours, you will also have interruption from personal activities, such as checking Facebook.

Approaching mobility as a way towards value-engineering the IT budget or extending the reach of business into our personal time doesn’t fully leverage the power of the platform. The value that mobility provides organisations is that it can maximise human capital by customising work.

Technology has enabled many aspects of our lives to go from a one-size-fits-all experience to a targeted experience. For example, in the US, we used to have four television channels — ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. You had limited options and everyone basically had the same broadcast experience. Now the amount of content and media at our immediate disposal is overwhelming

Like a pair of designer jeans, one size does not fit all. The web, combined with just-in-time manufacturing, has conditioned us to expect the ability to custom order the products and services we consume. What just-in-time manufacturing has done for goods, mobility will do for the workplace – customise your work to the right mix of apps and devices on demand.

But why should an organisation put effort into anything beyond a company standard? Because, just as in education, everyone approaches learning from a slightly different angle. Providing the ability and flexibility to adapt to individual needs produces good long-term results. Imagine if you applied the same thinking to your place of work. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for standards, just that the approach to mobility should account for variation.

A PC doesn’t allow for an easy, self-directed custom experience. Applications generally need to be installed and maintained by IT personnel. These rollouts are big and process laden. With mobile devices, individuals can install and uninstall apps on their own. Individuals can find that right mix of devices and services that utilise their full work potential. This has never before been possible — a custom-fit work routine.

Yet, too many companies view mobility solely as an IT expense, a burden rather than an opportunity. Even worse, they view it as a chance to exploit their employees. But they miss the fact that the mobile working isn’t just about cost or time saving, it is primarily an enabling issue.

Mobility offers the means to enable the workforce in a way never before possible. Businesses need to stop stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Smart organisations will develop a strategy to provide employees with capable devices, apps, and services, and allow information to flow freely so that employees can easily access it. They will also develop healthy guidelines for a good work/life balance. Companies that embrace the value of mobility rather than value engineering will lead in the next era of computing.

Benjamin Robbins is a co-founder at Palador. He can be followed on Twitter @PaladorBenjamin.



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