The use of mobile devices and applications is essential for organizations with a deskless workforce, regardless of industry, as successfully delivering products and services in the field requires connectedness and collaboration. Mobile workers use these tools to schedule appointments, communicate with customers and staff, keep track of their work, and more.
But gaining real business value from mobile tools requires a careful approach that takes into account much more than one specific app or device. Organizations that properly use mobile technologies know just how crucial Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is for empowering and supporting deskless workers. It allows businesses to securely enable mobile devices and applications for improved efficiency, communication, and customer service.
Enterprise Mobility Management
Enterprise Mobility Management refers to the tools and processes businesses use to secure and manage their mobile devices and applications. Its goal is to reduce, or even eliminate, the significant security risk that comes with employees using smartphones, tablets, and similar tools to perform their jobs.
EMM can also lead to a variety of benefits, such as reduced inefficiencies and increased productivity, as it connects key technologies to overall infrastructure and business goals.
Components of EMM
In most cases, an EMM solution will be equipped with four technologies, including:
- Mobile Device Management (MDM): MDM allows administrators to apply and enforce security policies to mobile devices on their infrastructure, regardless of the device type or operating system.
- Mobile Application Management (MAM): MAM provides security functions similar to MDM, except for the applications themselves (rather than the devices as a whole). It allows businesses to easily distribute and manage their apps.
- Mobile Identity Management (MIM): MIM ensures that only authorized users and devices have access to enterprise data and applications. It involves identity and access management capabilities like digital certifications, single sign-on, device enrollment, and authentications.
- Mobile Content Management (MCM): MCM allows content to be easily and securely shared from any device within an organization. This content may include spreadsheets, emails, schedules, presentations, and other important enterprise data.
These technologies work together to provide businesses with the tools necessary to fully secure their mobile devices, applications, and data.
The Evolution of Enterprise Mobility Management
The origins of EMM trace back to the early 2000s when ’bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies started to increase in popularity. Employees began to use their own devices for business tasks, rather than using separate devices for work.
The BYOD trend is convenient for employees, but it caused businesses to wonder how they could maintain control over their data and mobile solutions. After all, employees were using their own hardware instead of what was provided to them, which added a unique layer of risk in keeping important data safe. Suddenly, enterprises needed to ensure security for every device type and operating system.
Around 2009, the first Mobile Device Management solutions came to market. Apple and Google enabled Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allowed security policies to be administered to their devices over the air. While early MDM was usually only compatible with one mobile operating system, support from Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry emerged for a more cohesive experience.
Though the core function of MDM is to deliver security mandates to devices, vendors began to add more features, like device inventory, data encryption, and remote data wiping. Other solutions, like Mobile Application Management and Mobile Identity Management, were also introduced, enabling IT teams to more effectively address security challenges.
As smartphones and tablets became more complex around 2010, vendors realized that in order to streamline operations, enterprises needed them to compile all of their offerings into one succinct package.
That’s when Enterprise Mobility Management made its debut. Depending on the vendor, these new EMM solutions were either an extension of an existing EMM tool or a collection of their mobile technologies.
As phones become smarter and security concerns change, EMM continues to evolve. In early 2018, there was a shift from EMM to Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). UEM consolidates the management of all endpoints (including desktops and mobile devices) into a single solution. UEM is still a work in progress, however, as vendors continue to prepare this technology for public use.
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Maximizing Productivity with EMM
EMM enables organizations to connect their employees to the information they need while protecting data, applications, and networks. It improves the way companies support and manage mobile productivity for a deskless workforce, which requires complete access to digital tools while in the field.
The consumerization of the employee experience has increased the expectations of mobile workers, who want the same level of user-friendly, personalized interactions with work technologies as they do outside of business hours. If you enable proper EMM to allow deskless workers to safely use their own devices for business-related tasks, your employees will be more engaged, satisfied, and productive.
They’ll also be empowered to instantly and securely capture and access key data in the field, eliminating the extra step of manually entering information into a system when they return to the office. That kind of seamless, digital data collection increases accuracy and efficiency and reduces the administrative load for mobile workers. Essentially, your deskless workforce will be able to meet your business needs at any time while using the devices to which they’re already accustomed.
EMM can also help employees take advantage of the business-specific productivity apps that connect them to customers and the back office to eliminate bottlenecks in the workflow. And because EMM offers enterprise-level security (regardless of where deskless workers are), organizations can rest easy knowing these apps are secured to protect sensitive company and customer information.
Enterprise Mobility Management and The Deskless Workforce
The deskless workforce continues to grow, as do the technology options to support individual workers. These days, smartphones and tablets have replaced faxes and office lines. Employees who are out and about in the field (rather than sitting at a desk from 9 to 5) use their own mobile devices to update work schedules, communicate, and track progress.
But for organizations who rely on a mobile workforce to deliver products and services, an EMM system alone may not be enough to remain competitive. While enterprise mobility management focuses on providing tools and processes that secure mobile apps, mobile workers still need a way to bring those apps together in one cohesive work environment.
Deskless productivity software offers mobile-first, cloud-based solutions that bring together different essential tools and features in one employee-facing platform. In tandem with an EMM system, deskless productivity software empowers mobile workers with tools that optimize scheduling, boost engagement, offer strong analytics, and fit seamlessly into existing workflows—all while ensuring a secure, user-friendly experience.
By pairing an EMM strategy with deskless productivity software, organizations can connect disparate data collected through a variety of mobile apps and tools into one system of record. The resulting transparency leads to better overall visibility into the mobile workforce, which in turn leads to improved business insights, resource planning, scheduling, and customer satisfaction.
For example, a deskless worker captures a variety of data in the field (like job completion time, schedule adherence, and customer details) and uses a customer relationship management (CRM) system to ensure they’re prepared for every customer interaction. The employee’s mobile device, and the applications themselves, are secured through their organization’s EMM solution, so they can safely capture sensitive customer information while on the job.
The mobile employee’s organization has also implemented deskless productivity cloud software, so data entered by the worker automatically (and securely) syncs with payroll, HR, and invoicing systems. This interoperability boosts efficiency for both the mobile worker and the back office by eliminating data silos and providing total transparency into key trends.
Enabling data to flow seamlessly through a variety of systems is also incredibly beneficial to customers, who can confidently rely on the organization’s ability to:
- Match them with the right mobile worker (based on information that lives in the company’s HR system)
- Understand their preferences, history, and more (based on data synced from the CRM).
- Provide them with the best service possible (backed by the worker’s easy access to the company’s knowledge base and secure communication tools)
- Collect their signature at the time of job completion (with contactless tools synced to an invoicing system)
Software to Complement Enterprise Mobility Management
For organizations with a deskless workforce, securing mobile employees’ devices and applications is paramount for instilling confidence in employees and customers. Enterprise mobility management paired with deskless productivity software can safeguard against security threats so deskless workers can focus on productivity and customer satisfaction, and leaders can measure crucial KPIs over time.
In addition to implementing EMM, Skedulo’s Deskless Productivity Cloud can intelligently and securely manage your mobile workforce. Our mobile-first solution integrates a suite of unique tools designed to better manage deskless workers with your existing workforce apps—all in one centralized platform.