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Mobile Devices and Tools for Better Collaboration and Improved Workflow

Smartphones and tablets are becoming more commonplace in the workplace with employees and even replacing tower computers and laptops completely. This has had a great effect on how employees conduct business. It enables them to easily keep pace with fast-moving social media, productivity, and mobility. They have now also become tightly integrated into business life becoming a critical part of any company’s productivity and competitiveness.

Employees are almost expected to be as productive away from work as they are at home

Employees are almost expected to be as productive away from work as they are at home. These mobile devices and tools enable that to great effect. This can be especially true when commuting to and from work. Although it may add to the workload it can offset a lot of work that needs to be done when arriving at an office and not knowing what to expect. These devices can also avoid having to provide personal contact information made available during non-working hours for critical or urgent issues that require the proper person(s) attention either it be from clients or colleagues.

Relying too much on a certain device can be a problem and there should also be some sort of alternate device to use. A tablet should not completely replace a workstation or laptop for example. Should that device stop working or have issues with updated software there is a scramble to provide an alternate solution which will cause a loss in productivity and make a certain employee or part of a company underperform affecting the company image as a whole. Proprietary solutions could cause more trouble than more mainstream solutions with much larger support options and proven reliability.

There is a real risk of an issue happening and very few options (if any) in applying a fix to a highly customized system in place.

If such a system is in place, ensure there is ample support and options in place to sort out any issue in a timely manner. This can especially be difficult if the proprietary system has no track record of problem resolutions and patches or updates.

Security, of course, is also a concern. One device that is compromised may very well result in several other devices becoming compromised. Strong security is a must for any institution. Not only should hardware be secure, but informing users of good security practices and standards is an absolute must in any situation. Juniper Research says data breaches will exceed $2 trillion by 2019. New threats are continuing to target mobile devices and existing networks and IT infrastructure. 60% of all breaches in 2015 will be carried out in North America alone.

These mobile devices can simply make tasks much easier especially with different time zones involved since videoconferences can be run on a smartphone, tablet etc. from anywhere as well as file sharing and instant messaging. Being able to only perform these tasks in a typical office environment can hinder performance and stifle competitiveness of any company. Secure devices that are easy to use and access equates to a more competitive business, especially in highly competitive industries.

There is rarely a “one solution fits all” system so each business will need to determine which devices and what kind of security is needed for their specific needs. If employees are purchasing their own devices, guidelines should be set in place to ensure conformity with the company’s policies and standards. A budget should also be kept in mind as well as long-term costs to maintain any mobile devices or tools, which can include extended warranties, support contracts, Operating System updates and mobile device accessories etc.

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