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What 2013 Holds for Enterprise Mobility Solutions and BYOD


What 2013 Holds for Enterprise Mobility Solutions and BYOD resized 600Juniper Research estimates the number of smart phones used for business will exceed 350 million by 2014, and Gartner estimates downloads from app stores will likely surpass 70 billion annually by the same year. Here's what to keep in mind as you plan to expand or incorporate BYOD and other mobility solutions into your enterprise.

Microsoft Surface could change the face of BYOD: Whilst most organisations have accepted iPhones and iPads, whether company-issued or used through a BYOD scenario, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows 8 have made some traction as enterprise mobility solutions. In fact, Gartner believes Windows 8 will become the third most-used OS on mobile devices behind Apple and Android by 2015. Specifically, Microsoft Surface Pro is expected to boost the use of the Windows 8 OS and its accompanying apps and also might change the nature of BYOD. The device is portable like a tablet yet carries some of the functionality of an Ultrabook, which has some mobility analysts predicting employees will ditch multiple devices and rely on Surface as their BYOD of choice. This development could make BYOD management easier for your organisation by cutting down the number of devices IT needs to support. It also cuts the confusion stemming from one employee using multiple devices for BYOD.

Enterprise mobile app stores will become commonplace: By 2017, Gartner predicts 25 per cent of organisations will create private mobile app stores so employees can download approved business and consumer mobile apps. The firm lists enterprise app stores as a strategic technology trend for 2013, citing a major benefit as the fact that IT can actually control which apps employees have access to as opposed to public apps stores from which employees can download whatever they want. These enterprise app stores will eliminate the time it takes for IT to produce documentation and training. And, most importantly, private app stores prevent employees from installing software with security vulnerabilities, because all mobile apps available through the app stores are approved by the business first.

While there are many advantages to employee-facing apps, they will require more testing by app developers to guarantee they offer high-level usability. Apps must also be usable across multiple platforms to account for different device types, especially for BYOD. Make sure to ask mobile apps developers, whether they are internal or outsourced IT staff, how they plan to ensure app functionality and integration into your organisation.

Surface Pro and enterprise app stores are disruptive mobility solutions that might not work for every organisation. The best way to determine if you should incorporate them into your business is by looking at your mobility strategy in a holistic way. This approach will help you align specific mobility solutions with business needs so you can continue to drive value and increase productivity.

How to Get Over Your Top 3 Mobility Pain Points in 2013


How to Get Over Your Top 3 Mobility Pain Points in 2013 resized 600A recent mobility report released by iPass and MobileIron unveils a heap of statistics on the state of enterprise mobility and its effect on IT in 2013. While there are some positive figures, such as the fact that more than half of organisations have an actual BYOD policy, the report uncovered a number of pain points organisations adopting mobility solutions or BYOD plans have encountered in the last year. Left to linger, these issues can lead to extra costs and mobile management headaches for the IT department. Luckily, we’ve come up with a couple of ways to address these concerns that can save your organisation headaches down the road.

Pain Point #1 Rising costs

Solution: Ask your employees to share more of the costs

Cost is an issue that’s been heavily debated when it comes to mobility. Many reports claim BYOD leads to increased IT costs, while some organisations say mobility has saved them time and productivity. The iPass and MobileIron report said 68 per cent of IT managers expect their mobility costs will rise in the next year, mostly due to an increase in the number of mobile users and the number of mobile devices.

A report by Good Technology shows organisations requiring employees to pay all mobile device and plan costs save $1,000 per employee per year in service-related costs. If you don’t think this will work at your organisation, you can include a small stipend or let employees claim expenses  you will still save more money than if you paid for all of BYOD-participating employees’ device and plan costs. If costs still worry you, require employees to itemise their mobile device bills so there is more oversight in terms of which portion is used for work.

Pain Point #2 Support struggles

Solution: Commit to only supporting a certain number of device types

While BYOD is certainly aimed at increasing flexibility, some organisations take this idea too far and let any and all devices through their doors. Out of nine IT concerns related to BYOD, participants in the iPass and MobileIron survey said their top two were supporting personal mobile devices and onboarding.

It’s important for organisations to remember there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “No” to certain devices to decrease your IT support costs. There are also mobile device management solutions offering self-service enrolment and automated onboarding so the IT department isn’t tasked with setting up every user on every device. These MDM solutions can also be set up so employees can remove or add approved devices to the system themselves.  

Pain Point #3 Security concerns

Solution: Protect  and be able to wipe the data  

More than half of organisations surveyed in the iPass and MobileIron report had experienced a security issue amongst BYOD employees in the last 12 months. But the majority of these issues were related to stolen or lost devices. There are clear ways to prevent major data loss from happening in these situations: enable remote device wiping of corporate data; ensure the actual data, not just the endpoint, is protected through a mobile device management solution; or use a container approach where corporate data is always kept in a silo where it can’t be reached. Don’t forget you also have the option of outsourcing a mobile device management platform to an experienced IT provider so your IT department doesn’t have to worry about application security.

3 Ways IT Can Give Employees What They Want in 2013


3 Ways IT Can Give Employees What They Want in 2013 resized 600As Datacom Australia/Asia CEO Peter Wilson said in a 2012 blog post, the IT department no longer controls all technical knowledge in organisations. Employees are more tech-savvy than ever, thanks to cloud computing services, mobile solutions and access to collaboration software that enable them to do their jobs just as well if not better than solutions the IT department can provide.

In Datacom's experience, organisations that align certain employee requests for new software and services with business goals make more informed IT decisions. Here are some of the technology requests you might hear from your employees in 2013. The right IT outsourcer can help you determine which ones will drive the most business value for your specific organisation.

1. BYOD for all. Employees are tired of carrying two smartphones, not being able to work on a home laptop and most importantly not having the flexibility to complete their work because IT presents a roadblock. At the end of the day, your department must continue to uphold policies that protect the security of your organisation’s data and content. Those policies, however, should at least consider BYOD.

For instance, could allowing specific employees or departments to bring in home laptops that run faster and have more memory cut down the time it takes to do certain tasks, such as running reports? If there is a need that could be filled or a productivity gap that could be corrected through BYOD, it's worth a thought. You can quell security fears by enlisting the help of an IT provider with an end-to-end mobility service that covers device management, app management and app development.

2. Cloud computing services. As employees search for new ways to alleviate their workloads and improve operations, they’ll naturally turn to cloud computing. This doesn’t mean they should circumvent the IT department by signing up for public cloud computing services. Rather than determining the technology necessary for on-premises implementation, prepare to spend time vetting private cloud computing providers and cross-referencing other departments’ cloud business needs. Signing up for managed cloud computing services can enable you to leverage productivity-boosting software whilst your infrastructure is protected in a local data centre.

3. Online help that works — and can be easily located. Between flexible schedules, improved user interfaces and a tech-savvier workforce, employees are more interested in fixing minor problems themselves than having the help desk spend hours to fix a simple problem. Staying abreast of common technology issues and offering relevant help documentation and videos will be imperative to helping your employees perform their jobs and freeing your staff from the phone lines.

You can work with an IT provider to develop, implement and support self-service tools that enable your end users to solve problems themselves. Or consider leveraging online remote desktop services from a managed IT services provider so you can utilise a "shift-left" strategy that also empowers your end-users to solve their own problems in less time.  

As more and more employees bring technical and process knowledge to the game, IT must strike a balance between security, reducing risk and enabling success. Make 2013 the year to strike that balance.

When it Comes to BYOD, Don't Forget Software Asset Management


When it Comes to BYOD, Don't Forget Software Asset Management Software asset management, or SAM, has largely been the concern of organisations with a majority of employees still using traditional enterprise desktops. Then came the rise of BYOD and mobile solutions. The mobility trend adds another layer to SAM that your IT department can't afford to overlook. IT departments must ensure they are still tracking all software, even if it sits on multiple devices, to maintain software licensing compliance and maximise cost savings.

BYOD Risk 1: Over-purchasing software licensing

When it comes to software licensing, your organisation runs the same risks with a BYOD program as it does in the traditional desktop scenario. If left unchecked, employees could be chronically downloading applications onto their devices that they don't actually use. You can imagine how this BYOD situation makes application "creep" and associated software licensing costs skyrocket.

Handling this BYOD software licensing issue might require a SAM approach with mobile device management incorporated. These tools can give application usage data and also assist with a "reclamation" process in which unused software licenses are taken back, enabling better cost efficiencies for your business. Another solution to reigning in the ropes on mobile software licensing is through establishing an enterprise app store through which your IT department can offer a select set of business productivity tools. This still enables BYOD users to select the apps they want to do their jobs, but prevents duplications of similar software and the IT department from having to manage an infinite number of apps.

BYOD Risk 2: Non-compliance due to tricky BYOD software licensing rules 

By now you're well-steeped in the controversy surrounding Microsoft's new licensing scheme for companion devices with the rollout of Windows 8. But the truth is that software licensing for BYOD through any provider can be complicated. BYOD is still a relatively new phenomenon in terms of how it dictates the way in which technology companies will structure their software licensing going forward. In the meantime, these companies are scrambling for a suitable approach to software licensing so that individuals don't run their products for free. Does your organisation know if it’s required to have a license for an application that an employee accesses through the corporate network on his or her own mobile device? How many copies of each application need to be licensed for each user in a BYOD scenario?

Questions like these would be best put to software asset management and software licensing consultants, who can help determine which licenses you'll need depending on the devices in your organisation and the applications you want to use. Going forward, these software licensing experts can help your organisations build a software asset management plan in which you look for opportunities to boost business efficiency and save on software costs.

13 Mobility and BYOD Tips for 2013


13 Mobility and BYOD Tips for 2013 resized 600Mobile solutions and BYOD will continue to be top trends for the enterprise in 2013. No matter where you are in the mobility adoption phase, the below food for thought from industry leaders and technology publications can help you plan a secure, business-aligned strategy for mobile solutions.

1. Consider both customised and off-the-shelf apps to both help manage costs and meet a greater number of your business requirements. (Forbes)

2. Mobile malware and electronic attacks are on the rise, so as you move your employees to smartphones and tablets, ensure you educate employees and put the right technology, IT staff and security expertise in place to thwart sophisticated cyber threats. (Symantec

3. Don't ever think of your BYOD strategy as finished. Due to ever-changing devices, platforms and operating systems, your organisations and IT department needs to continually review policy and approaches to mobile solutions to ensure it's carried out in a compliant, secure, business-optimised way. (Computerworld)

4. Avoid scratching the "everything at the BYOD buffet" itch. Only choose mobile solutions that align with business aims and drive value. (Business2Community)

5. It's no use having a BYOD policy if your employees don't know about it. While more than two-thirds of participants in a recent BYOD survey said they use personal devices at work, less than a third said their organisation has a BYOD policy. Build a governance model that outlines which department or role is responsible for communicating BYOD guidelines to current and new employees. (MSPmentor

6. Include other departments in your mobile strategy. Having a collaborative approach means responsibilities can be spread and more widespread education amongst employees can take place. (Forrester)

7. If BYOD doesn't work for your organisation, consider Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). This enables the IT department to produce a list of devices it feels comfortable supporting so employees can still take advantage of mobile solutions to boost productivity. (ZDNet)

8. Think of smartphones and tablets as siblings to your enterprise desktops, not replacements. By taking a holistic approach to computing, you will allow various worker profiles and business units to choose the method and device that suits them. (TechTarget)

9. Extend support for secure remote access to enterprise data through mobile devices. Putting a plan in place for access from areas outside your organisation will help address possible security breaches and data loss. (SC Magazine)

10. When quantifying ROI for mobile solutions, make sure to include the savings from increased productivity, reduced PC maintenance and better allocated IT resources. (Business2Community)

11. Pick a mobile device management or application management solution that works for you. Consider ease of use, reporting capabilities and enrolment options for employees. (Computerworld)

12. Adapt your big data strategy to BYOD your mobile employees will generate more enterprise data than ever before, and having a plan in place to analyse it can drive business value. (Forbes)

13. Get out of your technology silo when it comes to mobile solutions. Consider how you can integrate cloud, unified communications and collaboration and social media into your mobility strategy. (Forrester)

What tips would you include for executing enterprise mobile solutions or BYOD programs in 2013?

More than “Me Too!”: How Mobility Solutions Boost Productivity


More than “Me Too!”: How Mobility Solutions Boost ProductivityIn the race to match and beat competitors’ products, sometimes fairly essential features will be tabled in favour of the latest and greatest. And when those essentials are added, the marketers scratch the heads, figuring out how to promote these me-toos — these standard features the product should already have.

As some organisations see their competitors offer mobility solutions to their employees, or relax policy for BYOD, the me-too temptation creeps up. The question becomes this: When it comes to mobility solutions, should your organisation become a me-too? Questioning the groupthink of productivity and mobility solutions isn’t a bad reflex, but, in our experience, there’s a definite correlation between boosted worker productivity and widespread mobility solutions. And we’re not the only ones with those findings.

Giving the people what they want gives you more productive employees

You’ve probably heard many of your employees beg for mobility solutions to help them simplify their jobs. As it turns out, it’s not all out of envy. For organisations of all sizes, mobility solutions have reaped impressive ROI.

According to a recent Paychex infographic, 78 per cent of small business owners claim mobile apps are time-savers. They’ve also noticed that their mobility solutions have shaved more than five-and-a-half hours of their work week, and their employees have saved, on average, over 11 hours per week. And these mobility solutions results aren’t limited to the small business sector.

At a large technology company, employees given wireless tools increased their productivity by 100 hours a year — that’s two-and-a-half workweeks available for new projects. As many employees were given access to mobility solutions, they began automatically working in locations previously considered productivity-killers. They began filling small amounts of downtime with small tasks that normally sucked up their regular working hours.

The lesson is clear: When you give employees mobility solutions that can increase productivity, they take advantage of them.

Common tasks gone mobile

You may be thinking giving employees the ability to check email on mobile devices won’t do all that much to increase productivity. And you’re right. But with tailored mobility solutions, your employees can use mobile technology for tasks such as:

  • Field service operations: In many industries, field service technicians waste time filling out and checking paperwork such as invoices and calling the office for information they can’t obtain on their own. By providing business-specific information, apps that eliminate paperwork and an alert system that indicates the next appointment or shares important data, technicians can focus on the task at hand.
  • CRM on the go: When sales reps can access and update customer and prospect information from their mobile devices, you’re not just providing them the tools to keep customers happy; you’re drastically reducing the chance for missed or incorrectly entered information at a later date.
  • Mobile video conferencing: With video capabilities on so many mobility solutions, “Just calling in” doesn’t need to be an option for remote employees. Plus, the ability to give face time to clients from anywhere provides a tremendous competitive advantage.

Finding where mobility solutions can best help your organisation will necessitate an audit of employee processes and current technology. But even giving them a few tools now can definitely make for a more productive workforce.

Dispelling the IT Department's Top 3 Mobility Fears


Dispelling the IT Department%27s Mobility Fears resized 600Mobility, typically viewed as a consumer-driven trend, is a step forward for the enterprise for several reasons. It increases employee productivity, refines customer service and streamlines internal and external communication.

But even with its promised benefits, mobility solutions can be daunting to IT departments. New devices mean new security vulnerabilities, new protocols and new software.

These mobility concerns sprung from the widespread end-user movement, the “consumerisation of IT.” While enterprise IT managers once were concerned with high-level solutions to large-scale problems, some now worry that their day-to-day workloads will revolve around managing mobile devices and data vulnerability. But when these challenges are approached and dealt with appropriately, mobility solutions are powerful tools that can transform the workplace and the IT department for the better.

IT department challenge 1: Supporting Different Mobile Devices

Solution: Bring Your Own Device is less a buzzword than standard operating procedure these days. It has taken enterprises by storm, and it can be a headache to accommodate employees running multiple operating systems. The IT department should be sure to set guidelines for the types of devices it can support, whether or not it will provide one-on-one BYOD assistance and if employees will be charged for services.

If the IT department feels that BYOD supervision will detract significantly from the current workload, outsourced mobile device management may be an option to consider. Outsourcing a mobile device management platform leaves software security, application distribution and network monitoring to a third party, thus unloading a large burden off your IT department.

 IT department challenge 2: Integrating Applications with Other Enterprise Systems

Solution: Whether employees are bringing their own devices or not, the IT department should clearly outline which apps will be permitted and which ones won’t. There are thousands available through various app stores, some more secure or more functional than others. The IT department should set criteria for green-lighting apps, narrowing the field to apps that include a data reporting or business intelligence function, centralised management and adaptability. Providing training to employees on how to use these applications correctly and being wary of any abnormal app activity will promote successful mobility solutions.

IT department challenge 3: Combating Security Issues

Solution: The overarching concern about mobility solutions permeating IT departments is the potential for data loss and security breaches. While these are legitimate issues, there are clear ways to manage down these risks. Before implementing a BYOD policy, consider conducting a corporate device audit. Gathering important information about each device being used on the corporate network the operating systems and serial numbers, for example will make it easier to develop a clear policy employees can follow.

Second, make sure your disaster recovery strategy is up-to-date and dovetails with the new BYOD plan. Once the plan is in effect, continue to promote mobile best practices for IT managers and all employees to follow, such as regular data backups, consistent software updates and processes for wiping former employees’ devices of sensitive business intelligence.

These IT department concerns over mobility solutions are valid, but they don’t need to shut the door on BYOD or other mobility projects. By first establishing some guidelines around what kind of devices you’ll manage, how to provision apps and security configurations, your IT department will rest easier.

Reporting: The Oft-Forgotten Benefit of Mobile Device Management


Reporting: The Oft-Forgotten Benefit of Mobile Device ManagementMobile device management is everywhere. Every software company seems to be offering some type of device management solution, adding to the complexity and confusion of trying to compare products before you buy them. One way to help you narrow down your mobile device management decision is to consider solutions that offer robust reporting capabilities. This intelligence can give insight into the types of devices being used at your organisation, what apps BYOD users are installing and whether user policies are being followed.

Hardware and software assets

Mobile device management tools with reporting capabilities offer a way for organisations to manage their hardware and software assets, which lets IT get a handle on how many types of devices are in your workforce in a BYOD situation. Reporting dashboards should indicate the device model, platform, ID and operating system version and offer graphical interpretations of areas such as overall device breakdown in the organisation. Some mobile device management tools also let you track related assets such as wireless adapters. This data will be continually updated, so you have a clear picture of what mobile devices are floating around your business at any given time.

Reporting dashboards can also help the IT department keep an inventory of installed apps and how many of each have been installed on devices in the system. An added benefit with some mobile device management tools is the ability to integrate with other inventory systems that track additional hardware assets.

Security and compliance settings

Perhaps most crucial for businesses steeped in a BYOD program is the ability to track and report on policy compliance, device registrations and restrictions for mobile devices users. Additional reporting dashboard information such as enrolment status, policy violations, jailbreak status and security settings will be available from the best device management tools. The IT department will also be able to check on the status of deployed applications and whether employees have installed any restricted ones. Of course, for this and any feature of device management to work, Datacom recommends you have a BYOD user policy or policies in place for the different segments of your workforce.

Device activity reports 

Another benefit found with advanced device management tools is the ability to produce standard and customised reports on the activities of your BYOD and other mobile device users. These reports will track areas such as what applications employees are using, what networks they are accessing, how many device deployments there have been and instances of downtime. This will give the business a sharper sense of how well a BYOD program or other mobility plan is working and help in tracking trends and predicting mobile needs down the road.

If you're on your way to a mobility or BYOD program, don't forget to critically assess these reporting capabilities of your mobile device management provider.

How to Use Mobile Solutions to Be More Strategic


Using Mobile Solutions to Be More Strategic resized 600Mobility isn’t just about fulfilling the need for instant BYOD gratification amongst your employees.

If done right, mobile solutions can further strategic endeavours that improve business processes and value. Application management, a team approach and hardware planning are ways mobile solutions can help inform the greater business-IT strategy.

Mobile solutions meet application management

Even if you develop and host enterprise applications through an outside provider, the IT team can use them as a chance to drive more business value. Staying on top of application management and development can help the CIO and IT managers become more innovative, as they will have the first say in configuring additional features or back-end integration. Capabilities around mobile apps and cloud can further help the IT application management team tap into unmet needs and opportunities for innovation.

Getting others involved in mobile solutions

The implementation of mobile solutions in organisations often stalls because too many aspects of the project fall on the shoulders of the CIO and his or her team. Governance of a mobile solutions project should extend to other departments such as legal, human resources and security teams so you can address issues of compliance and reimbursement for mobile device expenses. Other business units should also be involved in your mobile solutions roadmap, as each one will likely have different aims and business processes it is looking to improve. Not only will this free up the CIO for other tasks, but it will ensure that the strategic needs of the different parts of the business are being considered as mobile solutions are implemented.

Using mobile solutions to guide hardware decisions

If you listen to some advocates, mobility is going to swiftly expunge the traditional desktop from the enterprise landscape. Do you believe this at your organisation, or would you rather PCs and iPads co-exist? These questions are important to ask, because introducing mobile solutions into the enterprise will have an impact on hardware purchasing and volume licensing decisions a few years down the pike. For instance, you can start plotting a road map for when you will stop purchasing traditional hardware and letting employees work solely from their own PCs. As a full-scale IT provider in everything from volume licensing and mobile application management to hardware procurement, Datacom can help you take these areas into consideration as you plan your mobility strategy.

3 Points to Consider Before Optimising Your Workstations for Windows 8


3 Points to Consider Before Optimising Your Workstations for Windows 8 resized 600With Windows 8 officially on the market, there are several aspects of the newly-released operating system that enterprises should evaluate before deciding to plan for transitioning.

The enterprise technology landscape, always prone to rapid transformation, is evolving yet again due in large part to the BYOD phenomenon and the growing availability of tablets and smart phones. Before optimising your company’s workstations for Windows 8, there are three critical things to be mindful of now to streamline the switch.

1. BYOD integration: Windows 8 has a user learning curve; one challenge will be integrating different applications from the new OS with each of your employee’s well-worn platforms.  Because Windows 8 is the first operating system meant to translate across desktop, PC and mobile devices, it’s probably best for companies to test the OS on multiple devices to gauge accessibility on each. Furthermore, companies may want to consider which employees might be better candidates for using the OS, such as staff members who travel often, or work in remote locations.

Companies integrating BYOD into their IT policies should look into Windows RT, a “lighter” version of the OS, specifically designed for mobile devices and tablets. Microsoft claims Windows RT is designed to preserve battery life and is compatible with smaller and less expensive devices. Users may find, however, that they can’t run some traditional business software. The system won’t run any desktop Windows applications aside from the applications packaged with it, which excludes Outlook. Businesses should also be especially wary of the inability for Windows RT to connect to a Windows Active Directory Domain, a service that essentially enforces security policies on computers in a network.

2. Security implications: Implementing Windows 8’s new safety features may take some getting used to. Due to the complexity of new hacking techniques, software developers have restructured how users access corporate data. A new addition to Windows 8 is a graphical password, targeted to tablet users, which requires users to connect dots to gain access. A key part of the operating system’s strengthened security is its Secure Boot mode, which combats low-level security exploits and malware. Also to note: In recent years, browsers have become points of entry for security breaches. Windows 8 features a more secure Internet Explorer browser, enhanced with a permission configuration called AppContainer.

3. App store utilisation: In Windows 8, Microsoft has included a new app store that may one day compete with Apple’s own App store. The store boasts a revenue-sharing plan for apps that generate $25,000 or more, fewer regulations for app developers and mostly free apps. The mobile operating system can be extended to PCs directly without processing through store infrastructure. Through Windows 8, enterprise IT administrators have the ability to dictate employee access to company-specific apps. With this power, IT departments can customise their company app management and software experience for Windows 8. However, custom apps only available to employees or IT departments must be deployed manually and not through the app store for Windows 8.

Even if you get a good handle on these three areas of consideration when optimising for Windows 8, your organisation might still want to take advantage of outside consulting to make the upgrade more seamless. An IT provider that can offer assistance with desktop deployment, desktop support and volume licensing can take much of the headache out of your Windows 8 upgrade.

To learn more about integrating Windows 8 into your enterprise, download the video highlights version of our recent Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 event held at Microsoft Australia headquarters in Sydney. 

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Datacom is a complete IT outsourcing firm with offices located throughout Australia and New Zealand. As one of only a few designated Microsoft Licensing Solution Providers, Datacom helps businesses with 250+ employees design and manage their volume licenses, as well as fulfil the services related to licensing, such as desktop deployment, software asset management and desktop support.