Mobile work has become a core way in which organizations operate. Clearly, that influence will grow as time passes.
The year ahead should see some soul searching – or at least rethinking – by C-suite executives. Chris Havrilla, the vice president of HR Technology and Solution Provider Strategy at
Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, suggested that the way in which C-suite executives communicate must evolve.
Acknowledgement of the ramifications of these changes on the workforce must start at the top. "CxOs at leading companies understand that working, collaborating, and interacting as a team is now essential — and are reorganizing around this model in an effort to tackle the complex issues businesses face today," he wrote. "The bottom line is that executives must change with the times. As digital and workforce disruption, and competitive issues continue, the C-suite must focus on becoming as team-centric, networked, and agile as sales, operations, and other functional areas of the organization have already become."
The established paradigm is for mid-level executives and just about everyone on the technology side of the house to seek buy-in and support from the C-suite. Havrilla is suggesting that the changes that are buffeting the enterprise – with mobility high on the list – are turning the common wisdom on its head. Now, he says, corporate leadership is – or should be – doing more to adjust to this transformed landscape.
The idea is that the mobility and off-site work fundamentally changes the relationship between employees and the organization. It's far more complex than simply figuring out how to do the same job in a different setting.
Satisfying the Needs of the Mobile Workforce
The goal is to create a fulfilled and enthusiastic workforce despite the fact that it is dispersed. "Developing workforce management strategies that leverage open talent workforces to meet the organization’s changing needs," he wrote. "Working with managers supervising contingent workers to shift their focus toward these workers’ engagement and productivity, instead of concentrating strictly on task performance. Creating development opportunities and performance management approaches to help give off-balance-sheet workers access to learning experiences and coaching while engaged with your organization."
The progress being made on getting the C-suite in sync with the times seems to be mixed. Havrilla said that 85 percent of respondents in Bersin's Global Human Capital Trends report rated C-suite collaboration as important or very important, and organizations with the highest level of "CxO cross-collaboration" are most likely to anticipate growth of 10 percent or more.
That's the good news. The bad news is that it isn't happening as much as it should be. Havrilla said that 73 percent of respondents -- a figure he called "shocking" -- said that the C-suite folks in their organizations rarely or never work together on projects.
The massive change that mobility represents will continue, of course. In a post at Forbes, Blink CEO Sean Nolan wrote that a barrier to enterprise adoption of mobility is the dearth of well-designed apps. Another problem is ensuring adequate compliance. For all the talk, the industry is not being proactive, at least according to Nolan:
Yet the industry hasn’t even scratched the surface. The current mobile enterprise landscape is virtually nonexistent, even though usable mobile enterprise apps would benefit every single employee. Developing mobile enterprise apps that are easy and efficient to use is a big step towards achieving new levels of productivity.
The industry has risen to the challenge before. The rise of bring your own device (BYOD) work structures introduced serious management, privacy and security issues. The ecosystem saw the danger and responded with a number of similar but differentiated software approaches, such as mobile device management and mobile application management (MDM and MAM), that aim to manage devices in ways that protect the organization and its data while respecting the rights (and family photos) of the person who owns the device.
It is a work in progress, however. Satish Shetty, the CEO of mobile management firm Codeproof Technologies, last fall told IT Business Edge that challenges remain. He said that fragmentation is still a problem for Android, cross management of Android-iOS devices is tricky because they have different enrollment policies and methods, and operating system updates are problematic on both platforms.
The lion's share of the focus of mobility during the past decade has been on technical issues. How can IT departments securely support an increasingly mobile and dispersed work force? What tools and policies will protect the organization? What processes are necessary to ensure that employees get the services they need? These all are important questions, of course. A less-discussed area is how that mobility changes how people work and how they feel about their jobs. The year ahead may see more focus on this important topic.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.