Solving the workforce engagement challenge
Tom Sime

Tom Sime

Throughout the past decades the workplace has continued to evolve and adapt technology to meet the increased needs of employees. Employees are no longer required to stay at their desks or workspaces and can now more easily collaborate with team members and stay connected, anywhere and at any time. Companies must enable a remote and mobile workforce to be as connected as those in the office.

Employees believe personal tools are more effective and useful than employer-provided devices and apps. So, it’s not surprising organisations that build the infrastructures to accommodate Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) and similar trends are seeing increased employee engagement and motivation. But not all businesses are ready.

By 2020, it’s expected that 60% of employees will use BYOD, a policy where company employees use their “personal” smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices for work purposes. The concept is economical and convenient for both employer and employee. After all, why invest in technology that people already have?

When workers can instantly connect, share and solve problems, they can be more productive, make better decisions and perform at a higher level. That’s good for them - and good for your business. So, how can you improve collaboration within your organisation?

It’s important to consider the unique needs of your employees, as well as all the ways and places they work. You may need to support mobile workers who are in the office only part of the time - or in the field, at home, or at other remote locations all of the time. You may rely on distributed teams located in different regions or countries, who must meet regularly, share documents and files, and discuss emerging issues “on the fly” despite their physical distance from each other. To be as productive as possible, they all need access to the same collaboration capabilities as workers at their desks in the office - wherever they are, whatever device they are using and whenever they need them.

Change can be difficult for both individuals and organisations, so don’t overlook the appeal of the familiar. Employees may be more likely to use consumer-inspired communications methods that are simple to access, easy to use and look and feel like the tools they use every day, such as instant messaging and email. These tools can help encourage fast adoption by the broadest of users, so you can get the most from your investment and maximise the benefits to your workers.

This includes personal smartphones and tablets, too. The “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend is popular, not just because it’s more convenient for employees to carry and use one device for personal and professional purposes, whether they’re in the office or working remotely, but also because it’s more comfortable for them. There are new technologies to master and no extensive training needed. Your business can also benefit by eliminating the costs of business-owned devices,

although you will also need a way to ensure the security of your corporate data and communications.

Why are some companies struggling to embrace these trends?

Too much freedom can mean anarchy and security risks. Too little freedom feels like tyranny - and hurts productivity. Finding the sweet spot is a challenge some find difficult to meet.

The following BYOD statistics can help us fully understand the impact of BYOD in the workplace and serve to demonstrate the widespread adoption of this technology.

  • The BYOD market is on target to reach nearly $367 billionby 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014 (BetaNews).
  • 59%of organizations allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes. Another 13% had planned to allow use within a year, as seen in Figure 1 (Tech Pro Research).
  • 87%of companies rely on their employees using personal devices to access business apps (Syntonic).

Statistics show that a BYOD workplace is the new standard, so it’s important to examine what advantages such policies have to offer. Studies are finding that productivity, employee morale and accountability improve in tandem with reduced hardware and networking costs. But some other plausible reasons also come into consideration that make a valid argument in favour of BYOD in the workplace.

The current state of BYOD isn’t perfect, but innovation and emerging trends are helping businesses come closer to an ideal workplace environment in which employees use their personal devices to boost productivity and morale while minimising costs and security risks. With those challenges in mind, here are three top BYOD trends to follow:

Improved security, driven by AI

Security is always the biggest challenge facing BYOD devices. User activity is the most common cause of security breaches, but IT departments are also stressed by the inclusion of many different devices, operating systems and software versions existing simultaneously within a single enterprise environment. Efforts to improve this security are ongoing and particularly important after 2017 saw multiple cyber-attacks hitting companies around the world.

Fortunately, the security front for BYOD continues to improve, with leading security brands turning to machine learning and AI to uncover undetected malware and other new vulnerabilities. This won’t be enough to completely remove the threat of security breaches — especially when device owner behaviour is part of the problem — but it does promise that 2018 will usher in BYOD security on a scale that organizations have never enjoyed.

Transitioning to endpoint management

Though endpoint management technology hasn’t quite hit the mainstream market, 2018 is likely to see a huge spike in reputable platforms and interested adopters. Unified endpoint management solutions offer the ability to manage mobile and desktop devices alongside one another, as well as other IT assets including inventory management solutions, business applications and office printers.

This is attractive for its ability to simplify complex IT management processes, making endpoint management all the more appealing for large organizations managing devices on a massive scale.

Top endpoint management solutions will also offer greater flexibility where software and app integration is concerned, working with popular apps and software to function as a comprehensive solution for managing a range of device activity, as well as supporting security for these respective device functions

Implementing an endpoint management solution does not dismiss companies from developing their own device policies and investing in reliable security measures that stay up-to-date on the latest threats, but it could be the best solution for a company that is struggling to manage its BYOD environment alongside other IT obligations.

Managed costs through cloud-based support and data storage

The costs of BYOD policies are considerably lower than enterprise-owned device networks, but there are still costs to consider. Increasingly, solutions are providing certain BYOD support and services through the cloud, offering scalable services that are more cost-effective and don’t come with any additional hardware or security to manage.

These cloud-based services can also simplify the management and maintenance on the enterprise IT side, providing much-needed relief to overworked system managers. The cloud is also being envisioned as a solution for providing better data storage for enterprise workers. This has two key benefits: Not only do workers gain access to storage space unrestricted by their device specifications, but the cloud also provides an extra layer of security for data. It could become the go-to storage destination for sensitive business data that requires personal device access but needs more security than what an individual device can offer.

Many companies feel BYOD is the best option for enterprise device management. Given the multipronged efforts taking place to build better BYOD software and security, you can expect enterprise adoption to continue growing for years to come.

If you would like to learn more about the BYOD solutions contact Exchange Communications today on 0800 008 7600 or visit