Hesitancy from CIOs around new technology is entirely understandable, if even expected. Trying to support and cultivate the 'consumer' mentality and approach towards technology in the workplace could expose the company to increased security risks and potential data mismanagement. But the reality is that doing nothing is the real threat, as businesses risk employees taking matters into their own hands, using their own unsuitable and unprotected equipment, software and services at work. The good news for CIOs is that harnessing a new productive, efficient and evolved workforce in a secure and manageable way is a reality within grasp.
CIO pipe-dream to CIO reality
With the consumerisation phenomenon underpinning the key technology trends and therefore how the workforce is evolving, CIOs are paying more attention to how employees expect to work and how the relationship is changing between employer and employee. Employees are demanding technology choice at some level and simply want a positive user experience – meaning seamless access to information to be able to work flexibly to get their job done anywhere, anytime enabled by the right tools. In addition, the advent of touch functionality in devices is set to be a game changer in terms of workforce productivity. 'The Evolving Workforce' research from Dell and Intel showed that almost half of workers globally believe the ability to work flexibly can boost productivity, and this belief is set to increase in the future.
While trying to accommodate and harness an evolved workforce, offering fully-fledged employee choice is not an option for a majority of organisations. However, it is still possible to offer degrees of choice based on specific parameters defined by the company. Smaller organisations may have the infrastructure and cost rationalisation for a BYOD model, but will still require solutions to support it. However, for larger organisations, BYOD may not be a feasible option. What these organisations can do instead is offer a range of attractive form factors that can be securely managed and supported by IT.
CIOs need to provide the business and employees with the ability and freedom to connect anytime, anywhere, to anything without compromising security and manageability. The protection of corporate and customer data is essential to the health of any business, but security can be hard and costly to manage and deploy, and may interfere with everyday IT processes. For mainstream employee segments, commercial personal computing solutions remain the best approach to secure and manage data.
The best of both worlds
To be able to leverage the key technology trends and support an increasingly mobile workforce, CIOs need to be able to offer the 'best of both worlds'. That is ultra-mobile and portable units, such as tablets and ultrabooks which are thin, light and aesthetically desirable, while also being durable with dependable security, data and device management facilities.
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