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By Will Cohen, Founder and CEO, Top, Inc.
In today’s day and age, and especially in the technology industry, you will be hard-pressed to find a business which does not allow some form of remote employment. In fact, a recent study by the Switzerland-based company, Zug, found that 70 percent of people globally, have worked remotely at least once a week. A Gallup survey found that 43 percent of employed American employees spend at least some time working remotely. It is estimated that fifty percent of the U.S. workforce will be remote by 2020. This is all due to enterprise mobility, or the ability of employees to work outside the office due to the booming of mobile devices and cloud storage services.
Enterprise mobility has changed the way we work and interact with others. It has also given way to an expansion of different types of businesses and industries. Not to be too self-consuming, but I will use myself as an example. I come from an advertising and agency background, specifically in digital. When I first started my career more than a decade ago, being in an office setting was ubiquitous. It was virtually unheard of to work remotely at that time. I remember when I first pitched the idea of “mobile marketing” in 2006, my manager thought I was referring to billboards placed on trucks. This of course, isn’t entirely incorrect. Then, something happened; the drastic rise of mobile devices and the ability to work and check email remotely. Fast forward to current times, where nearly 80 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and it would be nearly impossible to find someone in the advertising industry that does not work remotely at some point.
While any form of new technology or trend can increase potential issues or problems, enterprise mobility seems to offer drastically more pros than cons
The adoption of these devices and the ability to now access files and presentations via the cloud, anywhere in the world, has completely transformed the way that I, and others have been able to work, especially in the Ad-Tech industry. Enterprise mobility has allowed me to go from an office setting job, to creating a mobile startup, with all three of our founding partners in remote areas of the country. However, with smart devices, cloud computing and chat services such as Slack; many times I forget what it was like to work in an office with your employees in close proximity.
Ad-tech and startups are not the only areas in which enterprise mobility has drastically changed or affected its landscape. Take, for instance, IT and Security. Having more networked hardware and devices, means drastically more endpoints of access. This can be a great thing, but also give way to additional issues which need to be addressed. For example, having a greater amount of access helps increase user engagement, but it also opens-up the ability for security breaches and vulnerability. This has given way to a proliferation of IT platforms and jobs. Companies cannot escape, nor should they, the ability to access data remotely, however, this technology demands the need for increased security personnel and software. That is why most companies now have authentication technologies and polices which can help prevent data breaching and hacking. These types of mechanisms include application sandboxing and mobile application distribution, these safe-guards can help increase security by isolating an application to prevent outside malware and intruders.
While any form of new technology or trend can increase potential issues or problems, enterprise mobility seems to offer drastically more pros than cons. Customers demand convenience. Having 24/7, always-on customer service and communication is essential for most companies. It is also a pro for employers. Mobile cloud computing gives businesses the befits of saving on hardware costs, since employees can bring their own personal devices to work. As technology progresses, customers and employees are going to expect more of these innovative approaches to business. That is why most companies are looking to take advantage of this booming trend and invest in additional forms of mobility and technology. Already, 82 percent of North American businesses have done so.
It is clear that the future of most of the workforce is gravitating towards mobility. It is also clear that employees and customers now expect immediate and easy-access to information. Staying on the cutting-edge of technology is crucial for a business’s success. Not only does enterprise mobility provide more convenient access to its employees, but it also can give way to invaluable insights on their customer-base and yield a blueprint for expansion opportunities. As with any new trends, there will likely be successful use-cases, and there will likely by ones that aren’t so much. That is why it is crucial for a company to invest in innovation and personnel who can stay up-to-speed on the latest trends and developments on what is working in their industry, and what is not. The survival of their business may very well depend on it.