Last month, I started a blog series focused on the Next Gen Workplace, which I defined as an environment that enables an agile user experience by fostering productivity, efficiency and optimal growth potential. In a follow up blog, I explored one of the key components of this environment, flexibility, and proposed why work flexibility is important and how savvy companies can achieve it.
As the new year gets rolling, I’d like to focus on another important aspect of the next generation workplace – the technology ecosystem. In today’s blog, I’ll hone in on two important technology components businesses should pay close attention to when creating their next generation workplaces.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)/The Consumerization of IT
While BYOD is by no means a new trend, its importance in the workplace has grown exponentially in recent years. Research from Citrix found that corporate attitudes toward the use of personal devices in the workplace have changed dramatically. Currently, 66% of organizations do not have an enforced ban on employees’ use of their own devices for work, compared to 84% that had such a ban in the past. In fact, 55% of those surveyed by Citrix said they now actively accommodate and encourage the use of personal devices for work purposes.
However, more devices in the workplace bring new challenges, including:
- Platform Incompatibility (e.g. Android, iOS, Windows) – For example, if a business uses VPN to enable secure, remote connectivity for its workers, it may work for those on a Windows device, but might have problems for Android and iOS users.
- Corporate vs. Personal Data – One of the biggest challenges companies face when they allow employees’ personal devices on their networks is keeping employees’ personal data separate from the company’s corporate data and intellectual property. Without proper policies that spell out acceptable use of personal devices, in addition to mobile device management (MDM) solutions that can manage and remotely wipe corporate data from personal devices without touching personal data, BYOD can become a litigation pitfall. Also, can companies mandate and implement their standard of security measures on a personal device?
Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C)
One of the foundational technologies that enable workers separated by time zones and geographies to collaborate is UC&C, which as its name implies brings together instant messaging/chat, presence, voice (i.e. IP telephony), mobility, desktop sharing, and web/video conferencing into a unified user-interface across multiple devices and media types. Similar to the points made earlier about BYOD, achieving a seamless UC&C experience while allowing for a myriad of endpoints can be challenging for small to midsize businesses, and daunting for enterprises.