Without question, the use of mobile technologies is transforming the workplace. Employees across all levels are demanding the ability to access corporate data and apps in meetings, at home, while traveling – irrespective of time or location.

Mobility isn’t restricted to the use of smartphones or tablets. As Linda Ban, C-Suite Program Director for the IBM Institute of Business Value shared at our recent CIO Executive Leadership Summit in Detroit, mobility is also “about converting processes and extending their capabilities onto different types of devices.” This requires the ability to understand what employees want from the mobile user experience and by optimizing business processes for mobile devices.

The pace in which mobile is invading the enterprise is creating both opportunities and challenges for CIOs and other organizational leaders. CIOs and administrators need to ensure that employees are following BYOD policies and procedures to help prevent sensitive customer and corporate data from falling into the wrong hands.

To help CIOs prepare effectively, we explore the top 5 enterprise mobility challenges facing CIOs along with recommendations for addressing them:

  1. Setting an enterprise mobility strategy. Thanks to the blistering pace of enterprise mobility, many CIOs and organizational leaders are having difficulty establishing effective strategies and policies. According to a study of 230 CIOs and business executives by TEKsystems, 40% of respondents say their organizations’ mobility strategy is weak. Starting points for heading down this path should include defining the business goals and outcomes that are sought; delivering seamless and engaging user experiences; creating an end-to-end security strategy; and enabling employees to access data housed in back-end systems.
  2. Enabling mobile-optimized data. The key to leveraging legacy and enterprise data using mobile devices is through the use of mobile-optimized APIs. Creating open APIs can make back-end data accessible in mobile apps while dramatically improving the cost to scale across a portfolio of apps. The use of mobile-optimized APIs can enable companies to extend and augment the use of legacy data which can be used to improve the user experience while driving higher rates of improved productivity.
  3. Securing sensitive data. Data breaches that hit brand-name companies generate a lot of attention. But companies of all sizes are increasingly vulnerable to cyber crime. According to a study by Ponemon Institute, the number of organizations that have confirmed data breaches within their organizations has risen from 33% in 2013 to 43% in 2014 while 60% of respondents have incurred at least one data breach in the past two years. Because of the inherent risks and points of vulnerability regarding the use of sensitive corporate data, a multi-layered security strategy is recommended. This includes the use of an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution that protects both the device as well as the data and apps being used. Identifying and shielding points of vulnerability throughout the enterprise and incorporating understandable BYOD policies (see Tip #5) should be components of a well-designed mobile security strategy.
  4. Enabling rapid app development. There are numerous opportunities for creating mobile apps that can employees want to use (email, line of business apps, collaboration tools, enterprise file sync and share) which can also heighten organizational productivity. Because mobile apps require frequent updates and revisions across multiple operating platforms, short development cycles are mandatory. A growing number of organizations are using Agile software development techniques to address these requirements and respond quickly to users’ needs.
  5. Establishing effective BYOD. It’s critical for CIOs and influential business leaders to clearly communicate the importance for employees to adhere to the company’s BYOD policies to ensure app and data security. Unfortunately, many companies are behind the curve in this area. According to a study of 1,100 security professionals in the LinkedIn Information Security Community, half of organizations either don’t have a BYOD policy in place or they haven’t fully implemented a policy.  One approach for communicating BYOD policies effectively is by providing employees with real-world examples which illustrate the harm that can be caused by failing to follow corporate provisions. Because BYOD policy notification is a continuous exercise, requiring employees to read and agree to company policies before downloading or being trained on mobile apps can also be highly effective.