The enterprise world needs to get better at collaboration. Research gathered for a recent BlackBerry webcast indicates that average employee spends approximately 5.6 hours a week in meetings, a figure which ultimately amounts to 15 percent of an organization’s collective time. That would be fine if all that time were productive, but it’s not; businesses collectively waste an estimated $37 billion on unproductive meetings every year.
Mobile can help a great deal in this regard. The capacity to access corporate data and connect with one’s coworkers independent of time and place is an incredibly powerful one, and ensures that the creative process need not stop when employees leave the workplace. It also helps employees better locate and organize information; something which has always represented a significant challenge. Moreover, research released in 2014 by The Aberdeen Group found that businesses which identified social collaboration as their top business goal saw significant performance gains over those that did not – at 16 percent. And that’s just social collaboration as a whole, with no mention of mobile.
The modern worker is always online, no matter where he or she is. That can, in many cases, make online collaboration a better option than working face to face, according to Harvard Business Review. Geographically diverse teams can easily connect and cooperate with one another. Employees whose communication style works better in writing have a chance to shine, while team members can contribute to a project regardless of time zone or work hours while still maintaining the work and personal life balance. External resources can be brought in with ease – an outside expert, or a specialized designer.
Far too often, however, businesses simply treat online collaboration as a second stringer to in-person meetings, meaning that they miss out on all the above benefits. The key, says HBR, is for businesses to embrace online collaboration as its own unique style of work. It’s to treat online collaboration as complementary, rather than as a substitute.
Unfortunately, that’s far easier said than done. Although mobile collaboration is both powerful and essential for modern enterprise, the implementation of the necessary tools and platforms carries its own unique set of roadblocks – applications need to be secure and controlled, but they also need to be intuitive and usable. Most importantly, they need to be built for mobile first; structured in such a way that they help employees save time – not force them to waste more.
In order to overcome these challenges, your business needs to select the right tools…but it first needs to take the following measures*:
- Examine Company Culture: Perhaps the greatest challenge associated with mobile technology of any bent is the fact that it’s so noticeably different from the traditional way of doing things. Practices and procedures that have been in place for decades are rendered obsolete by mobile, necessitating a complete restructuring for any businesses that wish to tap into smartphones and tablets. The first step in effecting this change is a willingness to rethink established procedures; to take a close look at your company’s technological mindset and adjust it as required.
- Talk to IT – and Loop Everyone into the Discussion: Consumerization of IT & BYOD requires a great deal of cooperation between IT professionals and their users’ software amplifies that need. Users must effectively be treated as customers if they’re to be expected to embrace mobile without undermining your business’s security. They need tools that adapt to their way of working instead of the other way around.
- Get the Right People Involved in Application Management: Mobile app development and management are anything but simple – which is why it is unsurprising that enterprise has somewhat lagged behind in the implementation of productivity apps that employees feel are required to do their jobs; a phenomenon referred to by Forrester as “the app gap.” When you combine this challenge with BYOD push back from users, it is imperative that you search and select an application management platform that supports multi-OS secure application deployment and integration with popular application stores like Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Store and BlackBerry World. In addition to that, development teams need individuals who understand what your employees need to develop the required custom apps on any platform.
Once you’ve accomplished the above and devised a suitable set of security policies, your next step is to find a platform to tie everything together.
That’s where BlackBerry comes in. Through a single management portal, our BES12 multi-OS EMM solution equips IT professionals with everything they need to manage, regulate, and monitor mobile devices and applications on their network, while also offering strong encryption, two-factor authentication, and containerization through Secure Work Space for iOS and Android, BlackBerry Balance and Regulated, and soon with KNOX Workspace and Android for Work. It’s easy to use for employees as well, with a self-service management portal and rapid application. BES12 Cloud provides all the core functionality of the on-premise design of BES12, but with greater ease and simplicity to manage and deploy.
BBM Meetings, meanwhile, equips employees in your organization with a powerful cross-platform tool for communication and collaboration. Online meetings can be set up with a few button presses, meeting materials and screens can be readily shared between participants, and employees can use BBM to chat with one another during meetings to compare notes and exchange ideas without being disruptive.
One of the strongest arguments in favor of mobile’s presence in enterprise is how well it enables collaboration. It’s not easy to utilize, of course – there are a number of challenges that must be overcome in order to properly implement it. With the right tools and mindset, however, mobile collaboration can turn one’s organization on its head, enhancing employee productivity and providing a competitive edge that few technologies can match.
*You can read more on mobile technology and its transformative effects in BlackBerry’s White Paper “Unleashing Business Transformation through Mobility.”