Enterprise collaboration: Developing a mobile-first strategy

By Karin Kelley

Businesses are increasingly adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. According to ZDNet, 74 percent of respondents to a November 2014 study by Tech Pro Research reported that their companies already use a BYOD program or plan to put one into place. This changing work atmosphere requires new approaches to enterprise collaboration. Regular in-person contact in the office, impromptu meetings at the water cooler and other traditional forms of real-time interaction have been replaced by technology-enabled communications between users in remote locations. These users are accessing critical business applications and data from multiple devices — either corporate-issued or employee-owned.

Today’s businesses need to develop enterprise collaboration strategies that are driven by users who are increasingly demanding about how they work and, in many cases, are already using consumer-facing collaboration applications that aren’t necessarily enterprise-approved.

Benefits of mobile collaboration

A successful enterprise collaboration strategy should deliver a variety of benefits, including a better work/life balance and increased employee productivity through the use of intuitive apps. Because support calls can be routed to multiple devices in numerous locations, this strategy should also lead to better customer service. Furthermore, enterprises can open opportunities to increase sales acquisition, because representatives will have real-time access to customers, inventories, account histories and other performance reports. Finally, these strategies allow teams to work together at their convenience, across borders and time zones, which enables enterprises to participate in better and faster decision-making.

Tips for developing a successful mobile collaboration strategy

The first step is for enterprises to develop a complete understanding of how users are already working with collaboration tools and what data they are sharing. In order to align IT strategies with core business objectives, this assessment should include financial considerations as well as a full understanding of the security risks involved. Once this assessment is made, enterprises should implement policy-based controls over what information can be shared, where it can be accessed from on the network and which users can view and edit this critical business data.

Next, businesses should deploy enterprise-level tools that enable more secure control over collaboration, rather than any consumer-facing tools that workers might already be using. To choose the right solutions, IT should run focus groups to better understand the features that employees must have to remain productive and satisfied with the user experience.

Another key component of developing an enterprise collaboration strategy is ease of use. Enterprises should seek to provide an app marketplace-like experience in which users can easily access corporate-approved collaboration tools. This will keep them from seeking external, often unsecure solutions.

Lastly, the process of developing an enterprise collaboration strategy should be collaborative in and of itself. IT must regularly assess the mobile app environment and stay on top of changing needs by working with employees to understand what they are actually using. At the same time, they must keep the environment secure and meet business objectives by using data analytics tools.

In today’s fast-paced and hyper-connected world, enterprises need to continually assess and adapt to changing technologies and employee needs. In other words, it’s an ongoing process. To learn more about mobile collaboration strategies, please join us in Las Vegas at IBM InterConnect 2016, and attend speaker Saurabh Calla’s breakout session, “Drive Mobile, Data-and Analytics-Rich Employee Engagement.”

Written By

Karin Kelley

Independent Analyst & Writer

Karin is an independent industry analyst and writer, with over 10 years experience in information technology. She focuses on cloud infrastructure, hosted applications and services, end user computing and related systems management software and services. She spent nearly eight years…

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