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Mobile Communications

James Sheward (Global) - The CEO Blind Side Facing BYOD

As executives, we must uphold a vision, peering past the intricacies of everyday activities to grasp what lies on the horizon and beyond. 

Not long ago, we began speculating the benefits of a mobilized workforce that got the job done irrespective of time or location—a group that would achieve new heights in productivity and efficiency. What once was a vision soon became a reality. Workers responded eagerly and IT reacted quickly by providing the workforce corporate-owned devices with productivity apps to boot.

This new way of working did have a few drawbacks. Instead of looking at the big picture and its overarching benefits, there was a rush to “just get it done”. More problematic, no one could have predicted the Consumerization of IT. As more employees chose to bring their personally-owned iPhones, iPads and Android devices to work, a management and security nightmare came about.

May you lose no more sleep, for tackling Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not as daunting as it may seem. You’ll be relieved to know there are four ways to uphold the promise of advancement while maintaining the level of security and control on par with what had been envisioned.

Apps and the Promise of Productivity

While the most popular apps still involve friends out-drawing one another, plenty have made life at work more fun and fruitful.

CRM: Salesforce.com has become the preferred tool for managing sales’ client relationships and offers a direct channel to the material required to close the deal. 
Office Productivity: The new iPad’s retina display is a designer’s dream come true, while mobile office productivity apps such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software continue to mature by the day.

Your competitors are finding ways to optimize and monetize mobile apps. It’s time to join the fold, or be left very far behind.

Innovation Lives Beyond the Cubicle

You’ve probably heard complaints from your IT department about BYOD. It may involve data leaks, or an excessive focus on more entertaining applications. While these concerns must be addressed, visionary CEOs understand that any paradigm shifts will be met with fear and apprehension. That is the nature of progress and the job of a leader: to look beyond the problems, to see the ultimate promise.

As a CEO, you can advocate for BYOD because you understand that:

•    Work can and should be allowed to happen anytime, from anywhere
•    Imaginative workers are finally starting to show the tangible business benefits of the intuitive swipe interface
•    Apps are on a direct collision course with productivity tools
•    The new workforce is comprised of digital natives; you must be open to the devices of their choosing

In the Mobile World, Social Media and Mobile Go Hand-in-Hand

Leveraging Social Media for market engagement is no longer a fad. The facts are plain: the media has foregone the press release for the more convenient Tweet. By the same token, customer engagement is happening much less over the phone and much more over the LinkedIn professional network.

Enterprise apps such as Salesforce Chatter have consolidated Social Media capabilities onto a common platform to disseminate your messages to the four winds at a moment’s notice. If you are running a pro-BYOD company then your champions have device connectivity when they need it, irrespective of location.  

Policy Protects Prosperity

Think of BYOD as a safe playground for your company to get its mobile strategy right, or a proving ground for benefits that can be extended to customers. Mobile device management (MDM) platforms make it possible to set granular controls. With these controls, you can isolate corporate data on a users’ phone, much like sandboxes within that playground. With an MDM platform, you can be proactive and selective rather than reactive and restrictive.

Without a solid BYOD policy, an MDM platform won’t do you much good. The right combination of policy and technology allows you to mitigate risks while enabling opportunity.

As much as the tools change, that risk-opportunity tradeoff is what a CEO gets paid for. You owe it to yourself and your company to be the CEO who “got mobile right.”

By James Sheward, CEO, Fiberlink

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