The New Age of Mobility
Mahesh Gupta,VP, Borderless Networks, Cisco India and SAARC
The network is increasingly becoming an integral part of our lives today. There is a conscious need to be ‘connected’ at all times. This need is accelerated by the growth of social media and smart mobile devices that provide easy access to the Internet. One in three students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as air, water, food and shelter, according to a global study conducted across 14 countries. (2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report).
More than half of the respondents to the study said they could not live without the Internet and cited it as more integral than cars, dating, and partying. In India, 95% of college students and young employees surveyed believe the Internet is an important part of their daily life. The desire to use the Internet, social media and mobile devices more freely in the workplace is so strong that it has begun to influence even job choice, many times more than salary does.
Employees today prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility because it enables them share knowledge with peers across geographies and time zones, improves productivity and their ability to collaborate with each other. At least one in four employees (29%) surveyed said the absence of mobility would influence their job decisions. In India, 27% of students would base their job acceptance on being allowed to being mobile, the highest percentage amongst all nations surveyed in the study.
Mobile networking, device flexibility, and the blending of personal and work life are key components of today’s corporate environment. Increasingly the same devices are used to access both personal and corporate information. The desire for on-demand access to information and ability to be mobile is so ingrained in the new-generation of employees that many of them take extreme measures to access the Internet, even if it compromises their company’s or their own security.
Among many reasons for breaching corporate IT policies, the most common is the belief that employees were not doing anything wrong (33%). One in five (22%) cited the need to access unauthorized programs and applications to get their job done, while 19% admitted the policies are not enforced. Some (18%) said they do not have time to think about policies when they are working, and others either said adhering to the policies is not convenient (16%), they forget to do so (15%), or their bosses aren’t watching them (14%). About 79% of employees surveyed in India flout the company’s IT policy in order to be mobile –highest in all regions surveyed.
Today’s new workspace is becoming a platform for increased communication and collaboration and most employees including the senior management believe they do not have to be in office to be productive. Experts predict that by 2013, 80 percent of businesses will support a workforce using mobile devices like Tablets . Employees joining the work force today expect their employers to give them secured access to the Internet and the freedom to use their own devices, for both personal and official purposes .The need for real-time access to information, while on the go, from anywhere, through any device, irrespective of physical location prompts many employees to compromise on security if access is denied.
Given the above, organizations are grappling with the need to cater to employee expectations while also ensuring that sensitive company information is not compromised. A majority of them are working to devise employee friendly IT policies that provide flexible, secure work environments, bring about greater employee satisfaction and secure corporate assets, besides serving a corporate differentiator.