Mobility Can Have a Positive Impact on the Bottom Line — Despite the Risks

Mobile devices are everywhere, and organizations of all sizes are grappling with how to handle them. Responses to the trend vary greatly. Some businesses forbid employees from accessing the company network using their personal mobile devices. Other organizations have issued company-owned devices to employees while still others have fully embraced the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon.

In September and October of 2012, ReRez Research interviewed more than 3,200 individuals at small and midsize businesses and large enterprises form Symantec’s 2013 State of Mobility Survey. Two distinct types of organizations emerge — “Innovators” who readily embrace mobility and “Traditionals” who are reluctant to implement it.

Eighty-four percent of innovators are moving ahead with mobility, motivated by business drivers, and they are experiencing significant benefits. Traditional organizations are implementing mobility more slowly, largely in response to user demand, and are seeing both fewer costs and benefits.

The two groups perceive the benefits and risks of mobility differently. Among innovators, 66 percent say the benefits are worth the risks, while 74 percent of traditional businesses feel the risks are not worth it. This is reflected in the rate of mobility adoption, with 50 percent more employees using smartphones for business among innovators than among traditional organizations. More than half of innovators (55 percent) are also taking control of purchasing phones for employees, compared to 44 percent of traditionals.

When it comes to the innovators, company involvement doesn’t stop with purchasing the mobile devices. They also have mobility policies and are twice as likely as traditionals to use technology to enforce their policies (60 percent in the innovators as opposed to 33 percent among traditionals).

Costs and Benefits

With the innovators taking more advantage of mobility, they are also seeing more costs associated with it. In fact, they averaged twice as many mobile incidents during the last year, such as lost devices and data breaches, leading to consequences such as regulatory fines and lost revenue.

However, the innovators are also experiencing far more benefits, in three key areas:

  • Increased productivity, speed and agility
  • Improvements in brand value, customer happiness and overall competitiveness
  • Happier employees and improved recruiting and retention rates
    Moreover, the innovators are experiencing nearly 50 percent higher revenue growth than traditionals (44 percent vs. 30 percent). All things considered, businesses perceive net positive results with mobility.

Effective Mobile Implementation

The survey results illustrate the positive impact mobility can have on the business, with the right preparation. Symantec offers the following guidelines to help organizations make the most of their mobile deployment while reducing risks:

  • Being cautious about mobility is okay. Being resistant is not. Start embracing it. Organizations should take a proactive approach and carefully plan an effective mobile implementation strategy.
  • Start with the apps with greatest productivity benefits for employees. One of the best ways to get started with mobility is to implement mobile apps that will have an immediate impact on the business.
  • Learn from the innovators — get the benefits while minimizing the risks. The key is to be aware of the risks associated with mobility such as information loss, and to follow the example of the innovators.