As the traditional 9-to-5 office job has faded away, the virtual workforce has given rise to a new way for companies to run their businesses. Studies reveal that 80% of managers deal with dispersed teams at least part of the time. At-home employees, remote business partners, and geographically-distributed work groups are forcing organizational leaders to explore new ways to conduct and execute work and foster new approaches for collaboration. As the use of mobile devices and mobile apps continue to rise, administrators are discovering that they need a more flexible approach to enterprise mobility than mobile device management (MDM) – which is often too restrictive and fails to protect apps and data used by workers. These restrictions help explain why a growing number of industry analysts and other thought leaders are shifting their focus away from MDM to mobile application management (MAM®) and the benefits that this approach can deliver to organizations with virtual workforces. For instance, in a recent post for V3, Kevin Poulter of London-based law firm Bircham Dyson Bell notes how “there are still practical limitations on how far an employer can go in managing data on a private device.”
Gartner analyst John Girard sees the need and desire among enterprises to protect apps and data as the catalyst for moving beyond MDM. “Mobile device management is in chaos right now, and I think this market is going to die,” Girard told attendees at the 2013 Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit. “MDM will reach an endpoint and then we’ll really start to see vendors have to look at mobile application management and application shielding around the app – that is really what is happening,” Girard added. At the Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014 in Orlando, Florida, analyst, Chris Silva, predicted that app policy management will become increasingly important. Managing an international work team or remote workers in different parts of the same country begins with understanding the nature of the work that employees are engaged in and the levels of interaction that are required.
Gaining this kind of an understanding of virtual work behaviors can help administrators determine the types of data and apps that are needed by virtual employees along with the use of MAM to help protect those data and apps. To read more from Gartner about supporting multiple constituencies, including a virtual workforce, download this report, “Use the Mobile App Mix to Choose an Enterprise App Store Strategy.”
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