For most organizations, business today has a fast pace, is global in nature and relies more and more on virtual networks of employees, partners, supply chains, and outside consultants. Mobile has a critical role here. Mobile is no longer just about devices, it's a catalyst for changing corporate culture that must evolve to ensure the competitive survival of the organization. Mobile is becoming a critical path for providing the workforce with streamlined and secure access to the right data, tools, and applications to do their jobs effectively - anytime anywhere.
Managed services providers have long had expertise for optimizing technology infrastructure, mostly focusing on the technologies and the operations that use them. Mobile is different. MSPs should not only handle the tech services but must understand the big picture culture of a mobile workforce. The underlying services must match all the different ways that a workforce utilizes mobility. End-to-end design services for this new world of work would be an invaluable offering for many organizations.
An outside-in approach to designing the entire mobile experience, including infrastructure, will ensure highest returns to clients in terms of productivity, security and the benefits for desired business outcomes. MSPs can be expert advisers for helping organizations understand the change in "culture" that comes with the 'anywhere' mobile workplace.
Who are Mobile Workers? Everyone
Mobility is rapidly becoming a critical element of business technology for many workers around the world. Mobile work activities happen just about anywhere. The classic example has been the "untethered" employee hunkered down in a Starbucks, working away. But today all kinds of employees are actually accomplishing mobile work everywhere: at home, commuting, at client sites or in the field, in libraries or parks. Some are rarely in the office and may not even be working from home. Even traditional corporate office-based employees are shifting more work to mobile devices, and carrying on work "anywhere".
What kind of work flourishes when the mobile office is anywhere? An obvious area is all kinds of services work performed at customer or client sites. Mobility has revolutionized the productivity of such workers in the field. Another category: employees heavily involved in creative work often seek out unconventional sites where mobility connects these employees to the tools they need and to their collaboration partners. Innovative work requires interactions with the world, new ideas, people who are not part of the corporate mindset or even the employee's corporate world. At the other end of the spectrum, effective mobile workers can be those whose jobs focus primarily on well-defined tasks or results-oriented work that fit a fixed set of metrics to show completion and value.
For all of these mobile employees, the work itself will probably become more project-focused. Ever-changing teams of employees, partners, contractors, and consultants will come together as needed, contributing to the needs of such projects.
The New Mobile Workplace Still Needs the Human Touch
With the advent of mobility the corporate office environment has started to change. At corporate sites, traditional offices and cubicles are giving way to an increase in casual meeting spaces to support the need for face-to-face meetings and collaborations when truly mobile workers come into the corporate office. Relationships and the focus on corporate goals are strengthened with regular in-person contact. Management and others need to personally interact extensively with mobile workers to understand the value they bring to work communities and business outcomes. While virtual collaboration is on the rise, it's still essential for mobile workers to physically re-connect with fellow workers and partners to take advantage of in-person sessions that tap into the group dynamic.
With this need for in-person contact, the office experience must undergo change. Management must support, encourage and allot more time for interactions between office-bound regulars and mobile workers. Such activity should be considered part of the job. Some of the space that was allocated to offices and cubicles will give way to a variety of meeting areas. But 'untethered' mobile workers also need private work areas at corporate sites. These areas need to have a human touch, again to reconnect these workers with the company that employs them.
Image source: itbusinessedge.com
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About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective