Focus On The Mobile Workforce For Future Success


It's a truism in our industry that if solution providers are going to position themselves for the future, they need to get away from simple transactional business and engage with the strategic goals of their clients. The old "break-fix" and "box pushing" approaches are going the way of the Dodo bird. And while this may be true, if someone is actually looking for help these platitudes are useless.

Telling you that bread nourishes won't make you any less hungry. You want something substantial. Today's solution providers who are unsure about their future are looking for guidance, not T-shirt slogans. Everybody knows they need to re-position; the trick is how and where? Enterprise mobility from the perspective of policy, performance and user experience is a great place to start.

An ideological shift has happened in our industry, and I'm not talking about the "C" word that rhymes with "proud." The proliferation of smart devices and ubiquitous connectivity has changed the way people think about work and their access to information. Work is no longer a place that people go to; it is what they do.

[Related: IBM Unveils MobileFirst Portfolio For Enterprise Mobility Push]

The idea of a work/life balance is becoming anachronistic. Most people's daily lives are more like work/life/work/life slices. Information work and life are no longer compartmentalized and balanced; they are integrated and meshed together. People chip away at emails while they wait for trains, they log into work for a bit after the kids go to bed and they might even take quick a call during intermission at their daughter's recital.

Tomorrow's IT professionals need to address this constant connectivity and ubiquitous access. They need to engage with all the business units and evolve into a true service provider that will help empower the workforce. As a solution provider, you are uniquely positioned to help IT pros become the champions of the new era.

Here are a few generally accepted estimates about information workers that demonstrate the opportunity for solution providers who want to become mobility and access Sherpas for their clients.

• North American surveys say that up to 40 percent of mobile devices in the workplace are unsupported by IT.
• Up to 50 percent of global respondents say they work from home, 40 percent work from client sites, and 40 percent work from public places.
• Three out of four people use multiple devices at work.
• Ninety percent of organizations that have a flexible work policy and the technology to support it report a positive impact on engagement, motivation and employee satisfaction.

With this insight in mind, now it's time to start having strategic conversations with your clients. What do they want to achieve when it comes to mobility and flexible work? How can you help them balance device choice, security and user performance/experience? What particular systems are most appropriate to manage access controls, identity management and network issues?

Network assessments, mobile policy creation and auditing: They need it, and you can help.

Jeremy MacBean, Ph.D., is director of business development at IT Weapons, a Canadian firm specializing in virtualization, application delivery and business continuity solutions. He drives the company's communications and marketing efforts, engaging and educating the broader community of IT professionals, clients and peers.

PUBLISHED MARCH 7, 2013