Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

By Alistair Rennie
GM, Collaboration Solutions
IBM Software Group

The iPad 2 and Kindle Fire will top many holiday wish lists this year. But not only can you play Angry Birds on these devices; tablets can be used at work, too.

Increasingly, employees are bringing in the technology they use at home and demanding the IT department accommodate them.

For years, companies have issued mobile devices to busy executives and sales representatives who depend on their company-issued devices to get the job done. However this thinking is antiquated. In today’s increasingly mobile culture, accessing critical business applications via mobile devices is a must-have for all employees.

In response, many organizations worldwide are adopting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach.  Approximately 72 percent of firms surveyed by Aberdeen Group say they allow employees to use their own smartphones or tablets for work. And a recent IDC survey said that 95 percent of workers have used technology they purchased for themselves for work. I recently met with a CEO of large and fairly conservative company in Germany who purchased 1,000 iPad devices for their employees.

However, this increasingly popular practice comes with a host of potential security issues.Moreover, managing the growing alphabet soup of interconnected devices can be a headache for IT departments. IT must now manage the new social, virtual, and mobile employee – not to mention all the applications they access.

In November, IBM announced a major advance to help organizations better secure smartphones and tablet devices in the workplace: IBM’s Hosted Mobile Device Security Management service includes a security application for smartphones and tablets, along with managed services including policy management and user compliance monitoring. IBM is providing security controls and ongoing monitoring for individual devices as a managed service, allowing IT departments to support a broad range of personal devices and capitalize on the cost savings that BYOD can offer.

For example, Cummins Inc., the largest independent maker of diesel engines, is empowering its 40,000 employees in 190 countries with a BYOD program. The ability to collaborate from a smart, mobile device enables employees from this Fortune 500 company to be more productive in more places because they can access mail, calendar, contacts, and to do lists anywhere in the world. In the future, the promise of mobile computing will help Cummins employees perform diagnostic tests while working on top of large engines to taking parts inventory and finalizing parts distribution logistics to having instant access to comprehensive business analytics that reflect a business unit’s growth in a key market segment.

Cummins’ executives say that its workers have benefited from the use of IBM Traveler collaboration software and its functions have been well integrated into its model of how they work and help to increase the productivity of their workforce.

IBM is embracing the BYOD model internally, too. IBM encourages employees to use their own devices, including iPad, iPhone’s and Android smartphones and even Android tablets, and we are moving towards providing access to critical IBM business apps on both personal and corporate-issued mobile devices.

It’s clear: the time is right for organizations to implement a BYOD program in the work place. So, when opening that iPad 2 or Kindle Fire this year, don’t forget the power it holds for work as well as play.

If you’re going that route, here’s information about seven new mobile social networking and collaboration apps recent made available by IBM that are designed for enterprise computing. The new software is available for download from the most popular app stores.


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