It’s difficult to deny that there has been significant pressure on budgets in enterprise IT over the last few years. On its own, the limitations of legacy IT infrastructure would be a significant challenge to organisations. But coupled with the explosion of consumerisation in terms of the type of devices and apps we use, the situation has become critical.
Regardless of industry or size of organisation, we now live in a world where people typically have better experiences with their own technology than the technology they have in the workplace. Technological innovation has been transformed; gone are the days when ideas would originate from the enterprise, eventually becoming commoditised and then trickle down to consumers. Now we expect our major innovations to emerge from consumer products, and we are rarely disappointed.
This development has had a huge effect on the corporate IT marketplace – if you don’t like the technology provided by your organisation’s IT department, you can now use your own devices and still be hugely productive. When it is possible and practical to use your own devices, the end user experience is often light-years away from standard issue corporate equipment. While enterprise IT teams are by necessity small, handpicked groups of enterprise IT buyers selecting the ‘best fit’ technology for the masses, with personally owned devices it’s far more straightforward to select the technology that is specifically optimised for individual context.
Indeed, enterprise IT has an unenviable task: there is no ‘one size fits all’ device that will deliver every capability that everyone wants. Despite hype to the contrary, the laptop still isn’t dead; any in-depth or prolonged work can be difficult to achieve solely on an iPad or tablet. And although laptops are arguably portable, the highest-performing machines are often heavy and best used in static scenarios, where they’re able to charge. So increasingly, users are reaching a compromise: choosing tablets for consumption and laptops for creation. It’s a system that works, start documents and projects using laptops, but review and edit using tablets when on the move. There’s even an extra stage, where 30 minutes before you deliver a presentation, you quickly flick through it on your phone. If we accept the context-specific strengths and weaknesses of our devices, a more evolved and consistent user experience emerges.
Of course, if this fluid, multi-device environment is going to succeed, you have to ensure that no matter which device you’re accessing your work on, you can always carry on where you left off. And it’s crucial to avoid the security fears of services like Dropbox, or regularly emailing yourself copies of sensitive information and confidential documents. This is where weapons of mass synchronisation come in.
At Kcom, we’ve had a long journey towards creating the next-generation workplace. And time and time again, the need for synchronisation is at the heart of our customer’s requirements. In delivering this seamless experience, we use a blend of techniques. Clearly a unified communications client is essential and we work with Cisco to deliver a best fit platform that allows our end users to maintain and synchronise their work experiences across laptops, tablets and smartphones.
In terms of governance, we’ve seen a lot of success with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, supported with tools such as Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange to name a few.
For organisations that need to refine their IT strategies, a COPE policy (Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled) can be a better fit, enabling mobility and flexibility for end users but protecting enterprise liability. With either BYOD or COPE, the end result is the same: removing the unfair perception of the IT department as the ‘bad guys’ or naysayers, and allowing them to create a next-generation workplace that uses these evolving platforms and devices to synchronise the work environment alongside their end users. With these weapons of mass synchronisation, it really is a time of unbelievable opportunity and flexibility: where work ceases to be a 9-5 grind in a corporate office. Now that people can work from anywhere, on any device, the only limitation should be whether there’s a decent internet connection, and not what building we’re in.
The technological possibilities for workplaces in the next few years are difficult to quantify. With newer technologies such as WebRTC and the H.265 standard of video, there will be a myriad of opportunities for us to create even more seamless and agile work environments for our customers. But for now, it starts with using these weapons of mass synchronisation to engage your employees and transform the enterprise IT department into a business change agent, not just another cost centre.
If you’d like to know more about how Kcom are creating the next-generation of workplaces, you can get in touch here.