Today’s workforce is inherently global. Even medium-sized organisations no longer operate in one market or geographic region. They have offices and subsidiaries all over the world, and carry out trade with customers and suppliers who can, quite literally, be based anywhere. The internet, in particular, has served to make the world a smaller and more connected place, with geographic location less of a consideration for customers.
Businesses have had to respond to this trend, adapting their models accordingly. From a staffing perspective, this has meant building and developing teams in entirely new territories, often led or supported by people on international assignments. Indeed, top talent from universities now expect to be afforded the opportunity to travel and base themselves overseas for a time, making this a business imperative in such a competitive environment.
Within the UK, employees are now far more mobile than has been the case, and many no longer have a desk in an office where they are said to work, preferring instead to rely entirely on working out of flexible office space, customer premises or internet cafés, as well as homeworking and doing business on the move.
Graham Long, vice president, enterprise business team, Samsung UK & Ireland, says: “Mobility is a hot topic, and top priority on the agenda for many organisations and chief information officers. How can they mobilise workforces, enable sales teams, deliver data, content and applications, in a secure and manageable environment, and deliver tangible business benefits and return on investment? These are the challenges facing organisations in our current fast-paced business landscape.”
This requirement for greater mobility has increased the need for – and in part been facilitated by the availability of – digital technology that can connect entire enterprises effectively. Enterprise mobility, the cloud, virtualisation and unified communications are all top of the agenda for chief information officers (CIOs), and will only become more important as the economy picks up.
According to the CIO of a global financial services company: “If we are going to compete for the best talent coming out of college with the Googles, Facebooks and Twitters of the world, then we need to implement super-flexible systems for working, just as they are. For new starters in the workforce, ten years ago it was all about pay – today it’s all about flexibility.”
BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE
Alongside this, however, the trend towards allowing employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) is continuing, satisfying both employees’ desires to carry just one phone or tablet and be able to work effectively outside of the office, and employers’ to reduce overheads and drive ongoing savings.
According to a recent pan-European survey, carried out by Samsung, some 86 per cent of organisations with a BYOD policy report savings on their annual communications bill, with an average reduction of 17 per cent or €6.9 million a year. One CIO from a global financial services company surveyed said: “We estimate that the bank will save $2-3 million a year from moving from a corporate-sponsored plan to a BYOD plan, where employees are more liable for costs, such as roaming while abroad. We will also save by not buying the device.”
The requirement for greater mobility has increased the need for digital technology that can connect entire enterprises effectively
Organisations in the business and professional services sector have seen the highest savings to date, according to the study, with around 20 per cent being saved from their budgets. Those in the commercial sector, meanwhile, saw around 11 per cent savings, while smaller enterprises can expect to see proportionally bigger reductions, with an average of 18 per cent compared to 15 per cent for larger firms.
In a separate study, Cisco Systems reported cost savings in the region of 17-22 per cent on purchasing employee devices, while virtualisation software manufacturer VMware adopted a BYOD strategy in the fourth quarter of 2011, reporting savings of more than $2 million on device expenditure.
In the Samsung survey, those with a formal BYOD policy were more likely to deliver savings on their communications bill, generating reductions of 18 per cent compared to 15 per cent when a scheme had developed informally. Some 30 per cent of businesses also reported other savings, including lower office overheads through workspace and printing, as a result of enabling greater flexible working.
The research also demonstrated a clear link between implementing a BYOD policy and both employee engagement and productivity. Some 46 per cent reported or expected higher levels of engagement as a result of implementing such a set-up; a figure which rises to 47 per cent in the UK.
“We are an innovation-focused company and most of our 20,000 employees are young engineers with clear ideas about the technology they want to use, so it makes sense for us to go down the BYOD route,” says François Charpe, group vice-president, information technology, at Altran, a global high-technology and innovation consultancy. “The benefits of BYOD for us are around employee engagement and productivity, not cost.”
Some 34 per cent reported improvements in productivity, which rose to 46 per cent in the UK. “BYOD really helps our couriers keep up to date with their jobs and gives the central team real-time information on where they are,” according to the CIO of a global logistics company. “For many of our managers and executives, who travel overseas, BYOD is very useful for making travelling easier, such as checking flight schedules and exchange rates, and confirming hotel and restaurant bookings.”
Indeed, just 2 per cent of organisations with a BYOD policy in place said they had seen no benefits, although 27 per cent of those, which do not allow BYOD, said they would not anticipate any gains as a result, implying there is a need for further education among some organisations around the improvements that can be realised.
SECURITY REMAINS AN OBSTACLE
Despite the obvious advantages of a BYOD policy, however, many organisations have still to fully embrace it. Only 52 per cent of European organisations allow BYOD and 28 per cent actively forbid its use. There are also around 18 per cent of businesses, which see mobility as strategically important, but have yet to develop this into a full BYOD policy.
The most prominent factor deterring organisations from taking advantage of the potential of BYOD remains security. A huge 93 per cent of those surveyed by Samsung were at least somewhat concerned about the potential security impact on their organisation, with the majority of those in both the financial services and public sectors saying they were significantly concerned. This is only slightly less of a concern for those in the retail, distribution and technology sectors, where 43 per cent had significant concerns, and in manufacturing, where 42 per cent were similarly concerned. But there is little doubt over the general sense of unease.
There is good reason for this. Only 8 per cent of those businesses currently offering BYOD have not had a security incident, with lost or stolen tablets a particular issue, and this figure falls to just 3 per cent in the UK. The potential damage that could result from this is significant, with respondents worried about mislaid documents or customer data, financial loss or losing intellectual property, and the potential for confidential information to be leaked to the media.
Despite this, only 16 per cent of organisations, which have experienced breaches or suspect they may do so in the future, have updated their security policy as a result, although this rises to 18 per cent in the business and professional services sector. In the UK, the figure is slightly better, but still only 22 per cent of organisations have either updated (14 per cent) or plan to update (8 per cent) their BYOD security policy.
Tightening up security will clearly be a necessary step if organisations are to feel confident in using BYOD. The increasing ease with which user-generated passwords can be accessed by hackers – more than 90 per cent are estimated to be vulnerable, according to Deloitte – means secure mobile device management systems are essential, supported by encrypted hardware and app-specific mobile application management.
Samsung, for instance, has partnered with a number of mobile security providers to extend KNOX security features and to develop a stand-alone mobile security offering for business. These features include real-time, cloud-based scanning to protect against mobile threats that occur from downloading files from e-mail attachments, web browsers and any type of file-sharing services in the KNOX container.
We see mobility as more than just a device, and about how the devices and technologies users encounter daily interconnect to provide a seamless and enhanced experience, regardless of company policy or programme
“KNOX is designed to balance the security requirements of the business without interfering with the user experience by splitting the enterprise and personal environments, so employees can have a single device for work and personal communications,” says Samsung’s Mr Long. “In terms of security, it provides an extra layer of security right the way across the physical device – the hardware – through to the content stored on the device, via applications or other software, such as e-mail.”
Some organisations are also trying to regain a degree of control by adapting the policy to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) or Corporate-Owned Personally Enabled (COPE), whereby the organisation funds the purchase itself, but allows employees to choose from a more selective list, crucially ensuring it retains ownership and control over both the device and the data stored on it.
“Consumerisation and the BYOD buzz has driven organisations to rethink their strategy and how they can deploy these mobile devices, but in a secure and controlled manner,” adds Mr Long. “Our customers tell us they want to enable and empower the employees on devices and platforms they can deploy and manage easily with the focus on COPE and CYOD programmes.”
There is little doubt, however, that global mobility is set to increase, and with it the need for organisations to adopt mobility packages, including BYOD, which will allow them to meet the expectations of employees, customers and, ultimately, shareholders. The research by Samsung suggests around 30 per cent of employees currently take part in a BYOD initiative where it is offered by their employer, but forecasts an average increase of 7 per cent in take-up among employees over the next two years, with the UK forecasting a rise of 16 per cent over the same time period.
“We see mobility as more than just a device, and about how the devices and technologies users encounter daily interconnect to provide a seamless and enhanced experience, regardless of company policy or programme,” says Mr Long.
“The digital enterprise should allow users to move throughout their day in a mobile environment fit for purpose, from using smartphones to tablets and applications for business use, to meeting rooms where content can be delivered wirelessly directly to a large format meeting-room display, or in hard copy via tap-to-print NFC technology. Our strength is in our portfolio of devices and technologies that allows the user to be truly mobile, while delivering the secure platforms IT departments demand.”
Graham Long is vice president of Samsung’s enterprise business team for the UK & Ireland. He is accountable for driving the success of Samsung’s business-to-business products and solutions in a variety of markets, including retail, hospitality, finance, manufacturing, education, transport and healthcare.
For more information on Samsung’s New Business Experience, please visit http://www.samsung.com/uk/business/
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