Although remote working presents a great opportunity to boost business productivity, it can also pose a significant challenge to your existing communications infrastructure, especially when trying to deploy remote working quickly, or in reaction to external conditions like really adverse weather or global health issues (such as a pandemic).
For larger businesses whose disparate teams are often spread across many different locations, with varying levels of criticality, growth in the popularity of mobile working presents another layer of complexity and greater demand on pre-existing architecture. Ensuring information is readily accessible in order to enable teams to collaborate and share content when they need to, requires far more than the traditional tools of email and telephone.
Enterprise businesses are also facing the challenge of providing collaborative tools and functionality to match services available to corporate citizens in their personal lives, but with a degree of management control and security. Restricted by finite budgets, knowing where to invest in new technologies is a difficult, yet it's a vital step in enabling growth.
With a rising number of employees having multiple workplaces and more geographically distributed teams, here are a few considerations to keep in mind when building a secure and effective mobile workforce…
Working from the same page
Whether working from home, on the move or from a client site, field staff are dependent on their ability to find the right information and feed back to the rest of the business in real-time. Your goal should be to create a scalable solution that allows the entire workforce to connect with one another whenever necessary.
Where larger businesses can immediately benefit from the flexibility of cloud-based solutions, enterprise businesses can also take advantage of the relative freedom that comes with being unhindered by legacy systems and start building operations online.
Keeping information safe
Experian's Data Breach Industry Forecast from last year highlighted that the past decade has seen an explosion of security incidents impacting millions of consumers worldwide. The issue is most prevalent across mobile platforms, where the rapid growth in dependency among professionals has yet to be matched by online security.
As you look to mobilise your workforce, take the time to consider the increasing risks associated with 'anywhere' access to sensitive documents. Investing in cloud data encryption can pay dividends should your IT tools and devices come under attack.
No documents left behind
For many professionals, being able to read, edit and comment on documents on-the-fly is a real boon for fluidity and speed. However, handing out the same devices across your entire workforce can be very expensive and produce no measurable return if the devices are not matched to your workers' individual needs.
Don't feel pressured to provide a uniform solution at once; making incremental changes to fit purpose will ensure longevity in your investment and better end results. Lost or forgotten emails, scraps of paper with phone messages and multiple sources of information will also be a thing of the past.
But before you jump in and invest in mobile workforce initiatives, make sure you define what your factors for success are and how you will measure them. Deploying technology that will provide a productivity gain is important, but how do you measure such intangible benefit against ROI?
A considered strategy that ties together your chosen solutions under a realistic timescale can make all the difference in reaching your goals, regardless of the size of your workforce.
- Martin Flick is CEO of Olive Communications