by Jamie Ryan, senior vice president, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer for Aspect
Within the last few years, businesses have undergone a major transformation as the consumerization of IT makes its way into the enterprise and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies become more prevalent.
As today’s workers are more frequently requesting the permission to use the same technologies on the job as in their everyday lives, IT departments have been forced to adapt to their employees’ preferences. As a result, corporations have had to implement policies to support the use of personal devices within the enterprise.
According to a 2011 Citrix survey, more than 67 percent of senior executives and IT managers reported that they don’t have policies, procedures or IT systems in place to manage the use of personal devices for business purposes. But the requests keep coming as the consumerization of IT further enables an increasingly mobile workforce.
In order to strategically embrace this trend, CIOs must understand how these changes have and will continue to impact the enterprise. Rather than work to block these technologies, CIOs must find ways to leverage them while maximizing employee efficiency and helping to streamline business processes.
In order to implement necessary policies and provide appropriate IT support, CIOs must first take a holistic approach. They need to understand how the improved workforce mobility made possible by things like BYOD and unified communications (UC) programs affect day-to-day business within the enterprise.
Allowing employees to use mobile devices gives way to more fluid and streamlined communication and information-sharing across departments, one location, multiple locations, or in the field. Employees now have the capability to maintain real-time conversations with clients and customers and extend their services within and outside the enterprise.
Maintaining this high level of availability to meet the needs of customers is a critical demand across industries, especially in fields where customer service is a primary business objective. UC and BYOD policies can elevate the lines of communication and create an environment where productivity does not necessarily require “clocking in."
This network of a stronger, more available set of employees will not only impact the day-to-day business process but it also prepares companies for the workforce of tomorrow. According to Bersin & Associates, by the year 2014, 47 percent of U.S. workers will be under the age of 35.
The Millennial Generation is by nature more technology-savvy and companies that encourage a more mobile and device-agnostic work environment appeal to this population by offering tools and resources they are familiar with.
Organizations can leverage the younger workforces’ expertise and technical competencies applicable to today’s mobile technology.
Proper security measures and back-office policies are key to BYOD adoption. An all-encompassing inventory of all the mobile solutions used by employees should be compiled. CIOs must then work closely with the IT department to create appropriate security policies to align with each unique and permitted platform used within the enterprise.
Does this mean CIOs should adopt an “everything goes” policy? Certainly not. CIOs should look at a “manage the middle” approach in order to bridge the gap between the consumer and the corporation by identifying and allowing the devices that meet defined security criteria.
It is important to establish the appropriate controls that align with the corporate policies and that make sense for that respective type of organization. Once the proper security measures are finalized, CIOs must ensure the policies are effectively communicated to all company employees and require written acknowledgement and understanding of the guidelines from each individual.
This can be easily incorporated into the on-boarding processes most companies already have in place. Additionally, by using on-line recertification on an annual basis, both the employee and corporation can manage the low overhead.
The key is to balance usability with an appropriate level of audit and security compliance.
The consumerization of IT will continue to impact a wide spectrum of industries in unique ways. The contact center, the business we are in, is increasingly moving away from a siloed environment that limits agents to a desk and quickly embracing agent mobility, for example.
This agent mobility allows workers to deliver consistent customer service regardless of their location, inside and/or outside the call center and breaks down the traditional silos within the enterprise.
Contact center managers are able to make schedules more flexible, better address fluctuating call volumes, and grant greater freedom to their employees. Management can also monitor call thresholds and receive alerts on their mobile devices and have the ability to act immediately.
As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, employees want to use their own, personal mobile devices in the workplace and push these demands on the company IT decision makers. CIOs are under pressure to adapt their IT infrastructure to incorporate these new mobile platforms.
Businesses that adapt to these changes and equip staff with the right tools in order to provide the best means of communication with those inside and outside the enterprise walls will experience a more satisfied and productive workforce.
With an eye toward ensuring IT systems and security associated with different platforms work seamlessly within the organization, CIOs can help to drive an improved overall cultural and operational excellence within their organizations.
In the end, isn’t that what the CIO’s role is all about?
With more than two decades of information technology experience, Jamie Ryan serves as senior vice president of Information Technology and CIO at Aspect. In this role, Jamie is responsible for developing and executing the worldwide information technology strategy to align business applications and infrastructure services in support of Aspect’s corporate objectives.
Jamie leads a team of professionals tasked with delivering mission critical business applications and infrastructure services to Aspect. He plays a key role in the business process and application integration activities surrounding the company’s growth through mergers and acquisitions.
Prior to joining Aspect in 1997, Jamie was Director of IT at Open Market, Inc., an eBusiness application provider. While at Open Market, he developed and deployed information technologies to support the rapid growth and initial public offering (IPO) of the company. Jamie also held a series of senior positions in information technologies and operations at Digital Equipment Corporation.
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