Three Tips for “Office-On-The-Go” Apps
Just last year, almost half a billion mobile devices and connections were added to networks, increasing to 7.4 billion from 6.9 billion in 2013. Clearly, mobility is on the rise, and its skyrocketing trajectory shows no signs of slowing.
For businesses and brands, this presents a wealth of new opportunities as more embrace and promote BYOD practices with their employees, enabling them to conduct business during an Uber ride in Chicago, on a plane flying over San Francisco, or from a hotel lobby in India, without electronic leashes of desktop computers and cable-equipped handsets holding them back.
One of the greatest benefits of BYOD is that employees are empowered to work smarter using devices they are comfortable with. In turn, employees usually don’t think twice about accessing apps to do everything from creating secure passwords, submitting expense reports and increasingly, participating in brainstorming sessions and team meetings using conferencing apps.
In our increasingly connected world, what factors should enterprises consider when adding and endorsing apps that make the “office-on-the-go” possible? Here are our top three.
A simple user experience
When it comes to mobile apps, user experience is king, and the bar is extremely high.
When employees are on the move juggling life and work, there’s not a lot of time to navigate complicated app interfaces. For this reason, expectations are extremely high for mobile apps, with design, ease of use and performance the key barometers people use to rate their favorite (or least favorite) ones.
With the industry shifting from an IT-controlled environment, end-users are starting to heavily influence IT decisions – including the apps they use to conduct daily business. As they work to enhance end-user experiences (and curb shadow IT), IT leaders should embrace their role as end-user champions, choosing apps that meet user expectations.
So what should leaders look for? For starters, look for apps that have high user ratings and are from companies who have been at the forefront of mobile app technology and development from its earliest stages. IT leaders should also choose or promote apps that are compatible with both iOS and Android devices since people tend to be fiercely loyal to their platform of choice.
Security can be dicey when it comes to mobile applications, but protecting data and communications doesn’t have to be.
Part of BYOD’s appeal is that employees feel they can enjoy a certain amount of freedom when their employers don’t “control” their phones. However, this does pose a challenge for IT department leaders who want keep corporate info confidential and separate from an employee’s personal mobile device life.
The security landscape is constantly evolving, forcing IT leaders to not only stay ahead of threats, but carefully select the apps and developers they choose to approve, implement and promote. In doing this, leaders should put their trust with a company or product that prioritizes security. As a Cisco-supported product for example, WebEx Meetings has substantial security backing, instilling the type of confidence leaders seek around using mobile meeting and collaboration apps.
Basic security protection like end-to-end encryption and single-sign should also be considered. These “first-line” defenses can prevent security mishaps and mix-ups, giving IT departments peace-of-mind.
Freedom and innovation
The freedom that comes with the ability to work where you want to work is unlike any other. And part of the joy in that freedom is the flexibility to use compatible products without restrictions.
To make that possible, select apps that are backed by a strong track record of innovation. Look for technology partners that are ahead of the game in keeping apps compatible with the newest platforms, devices, and operating systems. An innovative partner will help ensure the longevity of a mobile solution by rolling out updates regularly to ensure seamless compatibility.
Case in point? In creating WebEx, one of the first mobile meeting smart device apps, developers ensured the app was designed to always allow users to meet where they were, regardless of the platform. It was the one of the very first iPhone conferencing apps introduced to the market, debuting in 2009. Regardless of platform or device, it integrates well with other products, creating a seamless user-experience.
Mobility has given us the freedom to collaborate and communicate wherever our travels may take us, fueling quicker decision-making, better client relationships, and internal team connections. And being smart about the apps we use to do all these things will only make these processes easier.