A modern workforce needs 2-in-1 flexibility

Phil Muncaster

Thursday 1 September 2016

The European workforce today is undergoing tremendous change and technology is at its beating heart. However, finding the right mix of consumer and enterprise-grade functionality to suit staff is a challenge for CIOs. Fortunately, there are tools available to make employees more productive and satisfy IT department concerns over security and control.

Generation Y graduates are flooding organisations across the region, while employers are finally waking up to the benefits of offering employees a better work-life balance. The result? CIOs, as usual, are stuck in the middle.

According to the Millennial Survey 2016, which was conducted by Deloitte, 77 per cent of the 7600 millennials interviewed globally said they wanted greater mobile connectivity, via tablets, smartphones and the like. And over half (51 per cent) claimed flexible working enabled by such devices would make them more productive. It’s hard for employers to ignore stats like these.

A difficult balance

Corporate mobile devices must therefore be able to support this drive towards more flexible working. But there are conflicting demands to balance. On the one hand, devices must be consumer-pleasing: stylish, portable, flexible and user-friendly. But on the other, they need to offer the durability, power and full set of corporate-grade capabilities to meet strict security and manageability requirements.

Security concerns in particular are very real. Cyber attacks on mobile devices rose from 24% in 2014 to 36% last year, according to PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2016, which polled over 10,000 C-level executives worldwide.

Key considerations

So what can CIOs do to balance these conflicting requirements now that the personal and work lives of their employees are blurring?

2-in-1 devices are a good place to start. They can effectively combine laptop and tablet – saving the cost of purchasing both and providing that flexibility which modern staff crave. Lenovo’s latest line-up of 2-in-1s is a great example. It includes the Ideapad MiiX 700 Business Edition with detachable keyboard, and the ThinkPad X1Yoga featuring four flexible modes to work, present, create and connect.

Centralised control is an essential requirement for the IT department. That rules out most consumer-grade devices. Corporate IT buyers need to look for products designed for the enterprise, which will allow them to remotely update and manage settings and applications.

Enterprise-grade functionality should also extend to other critical areas including on-board data encryption, application password enforcement and remote data-wiping. The Lenovo 2-in-1 line-up contains these kinds of features, and additional security elements such as integrated fingerprint readers to keep corporate data secure even if a device is lots.

Usability is still key, even though you need enterprise-grade functionality in your devices. Employees are demanding hardware, which is lightweight but durable, highly user-friendly and intuitive. The Miix 700, for example, features a Lenovo Active Pen, allowing the user to sketch and take notes.

The bottom line is that the modern workplace demands a fresh approach to mobility: one that offers the right blend of usability and corporate control. It’s not an easy ask, but when you find the right products, the benefits in terms of end user productivity and data security will speak for themselves.

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