The evolving workforce: Work gets personal

At first, “mobility” in the enterprise meant handing out laptops and smartphones to employees that needed them. But today, the term actually refers to a new way of working – one in which employees are dynamically personalizing their workspaces: from where and when they work to the tools they use. It all comes down to easy access to the devices, apps, and data they need to get the job done.

At Dell, we see this evolution toward personalized workspaces as an opportunity to tap into the true benefits of the mobile workforce. Dell’s Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI) study identified improved efficiency, productivity, and access to apps and information as the top benefits of a mobility program. The best way to realize these benefits is to ensure that everyone is using the right toolkit for their specific needs.

The good news is that employees are already doing much of the customizing themselves based on their own preferences. The bad news? They don’t always do it in a way that benefits their organization and often introduce security risks that threaten sensitive data. Case in point, the 2014 Global Evolving Workforce study found that 43 percent of workers use personal devices for work without their employers’ knowledge. The same goes for software and services.

Supporting the evolution

Still, I believe that organizations must support this evolution, not restrict it. Personalized workspaces can be fostered by IT and business leaders working together, with the goal of helping employees work productively and efficiently, while maintaining security and control. So how do you go about that? Here are three considerations to get started:

  1. Inventory – Start by taking an inventory of which data and apps, sanctioned and unsanctioned, are used by which employees on a daily basis. Once identified, IT and business leaders can work together to determine why and how employees are using these apps to get their jobs done. How are they consuming, creating, and analyzing information, connecting with co-workers and customers, and using mobile technology in their everyday processes?
  2. Usability – Make it all work seamlessly. Talk with users to understand what’s working and what’s not. Learn which apps and data they need to access more easily, and ensure important apps and data are accessible on everyday companion devices. Then, identify ways to simplify daily activities by reducing the number of apps and systems a user needs to touch to complete a task. For example, create a ‘killer app’ that consolidates data from multiple apps for one-click access.
  3. Security – The GTAI study found that security concerns are the top barrier to implementing a mobility program. Instead of focusing on securing and managing the device, focus on securing and managing the data itself. That way, no matter which application or device employees choose, data remains protected, wherever it is.

Employees are going to do whatever it takes to get their jobs done, when and where they need to. Ensuring they have the right technology takes vision and planning. It’s part of being what we call a future-ready enterprise. And we think it’s not just a new way to work, but also a better way to meet both business and IT goals.

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