It is not just the consumer world that has gone mobile over the last several years. As smartphones got cheaper, faster and more powerful, they became appendages of the consumers who came to rely on them. Those consumers, however, had jobs. The “bring your own device”, or BYOD, revolution emerged as employees realized that their personal mobile devices — specifically their smartphones — were at least as capable, if not more, than the technology they were supplied with at work.
Their smartphones allowed them to work remotely, unshackling them from the traditional constraints of workplace tech and workplace schedules. Managers, security specialists and IT departments initially struggled to keep up. But as entrepreneurs now realize that mobile employees — working on their own, familiar devices — are happier, more productive, and require no learning curve or training for phones they already own, businesses are evolving and smartphones are quickly replace the traditional office.
Smartphones: The Backbone of the BYOD Revolution
The mobile-enterprise movement is advancing so quickly through the business world that providing the means for businesses to mobilize their operations is, in and of itself, big business. Recent research suggests that revenue gleaned from mobile business users will grow to $370 billion by 2017. 30 percent of the mobile-services market currently comes from enterprise, and mobile enterprise is expected to grow at twice the rate of the mobile consumer market. The overwhelming majority of this growth comes from BYOD in general — and smartphones as business tools in particular.
Apps Turn Phones into Cloud-Based Offices
Cloud-based computing has already revolutionized the way offices function. Remote hosting has allowed businesses to access software — and the mountains of data that go along with it — without storing and securing it locally. This freed companies to focus on their core competency while letting an outside firm worry about hosting and storing crucial software and data such as that used for accounting operations.
Apps have taken that concept and individualized it — literally putting remote cloud computing in the palms of smartphone owners’ hands. Mobile employees can now turn their phones into virtual offices with a complete menu of enterprise apps. Apps related to enterprise mobility management, or EMM, and advanced mobile management, or AMM, are among those most commonly used by employees whose phones double as the portal to their workplace.
VCC, a mid-sized construction company, wanted to extend to its project managers real-time access to information that was critical to servicing their accounts, retaining the best customers, managing customer data and collaborating with colleagues. Using apps and software, the company established a system that fed information such as messages, job schedules and workflows from a project manager into a central system. The system then distributed the information to the smartphones of all relevant employees instantly and in real time. With this new ability to analyze, organize and distribute data, VCC boosted new business by 40 percent and saved roughly 400 employee hours a month.
Whether launching a startup or converting an established business, smartphones are becoming venues in and of themselves. Although it requires an elevated level of vigilance for IT security, smartphone-based BYOD can — and has for many businesses — dramatically reduce infrastructure costs and streamline business operations, all while allowing employees the flexibility and familiarity that their own devices provide. Mobile business is big business — for businesses of all sizes.