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Can Manufacturers Stop the BYOD Trend or Should They Even Try?

I just finished reading Chuck Robbins’ blog on the BYOD trend and its impact on corporate culture. In the blog Chuck cites a recent study on how most executives are still uneasy about their companies’ mobile data-access policies… and it got me thinking about how manufacturers are dealing with this trend.

More and more manufacturing workers are adopting mobile technologies into their workspace, and are growing accustomed to interacting and working in a more visual, virtual, social, and mobile way.  In fact a survey conducted by Manufacturing Executive this year noted that 63% of manufacturing companies permit their employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, but only  17% of manufacturing enterprises have a formal BYOD strategy with clear goals and objectives.  Manufacturers are struggling with how to create, deploy and enforce sound enterprise wide security polices around BYOD.   Protecting intellectual property is only half the concern.  Manufacturers must also consider how a breach in security will effect the safety of their workers and environment, as well as, their products.

Although security is a top of mind concern for manufacturers, the promise of deploying a sound BYOD policy can not be discounted.   Empowering employees and partners with the freedom to collaborate and access video, data and voice on an open, mobile and personal platform can produce a culture that drives operational excellence, supply chain agility, and innovation throughout the entire manufacturing value chain from the plant floor up through to R&D centers.

For example if there is a problem on the manufacturing line, an employee with access to the company directory on their personal mobile device can locate and contact a supervisor or expert using Cisco Jabber and then launch with a single click mobile Cisco WebEx mobile,  where they can show the problem using the video camera on the device and quickly collaborate to solve the problem.

Supply chains can now become more agile and flexible, because customers and the enterprise can analyze, monitor and track progress from order through successful delivery in real-time.  Data is now not just captured, stored, analyzed and delivered, but is now acted upon, presented and shared with the appropriate people and systems in real-time.

In addition, a May 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that two of five survey respondents said they would accept a lower-paying job that offered more flexibility for device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.  Crucial for an industry looking to retain and attract a qualified workforce.

Can manufactures continue to avoid the new BYOD paradigm, or are they just delaying the inevitable? Let me know your thoughts.

 

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Unlocking the power of mobility: The right technology, culture and process

Freedom brings risks and rewards. And, that is certainly true when it comes to mobility for most organizations. Mobility unleashes our ability to communicate, collaborate and innovate across geographies. These rewards, however, come with security, policy and network management challenges. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear this first-hand from customers, partners, and providers as they think through the issues associated with bring your own device or “BYOD”.

And with more sophisticated mobile devices entering the consumer market, the BYOD trend will only accelerate. As 44% of workers use three+ devices for work each day, our customers now recognize that they need to think beyond the device and address the issues of secure data access and network management. Their challenge: how to “lock it down before they free it up.”

A recent global survey commissioned by Cisco from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Secure Data Access in a Mobile Environment, questioned 578 senior executives on the current and ongoing challenges stemming from increasing trends toward worker and user mobility, and how this has shaped company BYOD practices and policies. The respondents represented several different industries, with major ones including IT and technology (13%), financial services (11%), professional services (11%) and energy and natural resources (9%). Overall, the results found that although manyexecutives are uneasy about the security of corporate information on mobile devices, the trend is largely unstoppable and proper policies must be initiated to underpin access to this sensitive information.

In my new role as head of worldwide sales for Cisco, I oversee a distributed team of highly mobile professionals around the world who require the ability to “work their way” regardless of location, so I can relate to the challenges our customers are facing when it comes to managing the influx of personal mobile devices. Below are a few key findings from the survey, which are consistent with what I’m hearing from our customers:

  • Most executives are still uneasy about their companies’ mobile data-access policies.
  • 42% say that C-suite needs secure and timely access to strategic data, yet, only 28% believe it’s appropriate to access this from mobile devices.
  • 49% say the complexity of securing multiple data sources and a lack of knowledge about mobile-access security and risk are top challenges for their companies.
  • Larger companies are most willing to allow mobile access to critical data, but also impose stricter rules
  • 47% of companies with revenue under $500m permit access on personal devices with policies that are more informal.
  • Over 90% of companies with over $1b revenue allow access to data via personal and company devices and have written and enforced security policies.
  • BYOD requires that companies take a fresh look at how they attempt to control devices and use. And importantly, mobile policies must not neglect social networking.
  • There is a gap in what is stated and what is allowed; 56% of respondents have policies for acceptable use of social networks on mobile devices, yet, 33% of the executives are restricted from discussing work on these platforms.
  • With an influx of devices, available infrastructure is the key influence on company policies around mobile access.
  • 60% cite IT infrastructure requirements as the primary influence on policy around security and security related to mobile access

It’s clear from the survey findings that each new opportunity to further connect and engage employees brings with it a corresponding set of challenges. Social media will become a critical component in the world of BYOD, as multiple devices necessitate collaboration technologies that must work in tandem. Tools will also have to become adaptive, as social applications begin to overlay with collaboration technologies. Additionally, mobile applications will begin expanding into the mobile workforce, creating further implications for those working outside the firewall.

With this in mind, the creation of a collaboration strategy that integrates  the right technology, the right culture and the right processes is key to unlocking the power of mobility. On the technology front, we know that devices are only as useful as the connections they have, which makes an intelligent network more critical than ever before.

At Cisco we’re committed to helping you address the challenges associated with BYOD so that you can enable your employees to work where and how they want, securely. I would encourage you to check out the full EIU report here, and then learn how Cisco and our partners can help you build a unified workplace strategy at www.cisco.com/go/yourway.  Let me know your thoughts on the survey and how Cisco can help your business. We’re only just beginning to see how mobility will transform the enterprise and Cisco is excited to lead the way.

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TechWiseTV: The Unified Access Launch

The original vision of a ‘borderless’ continues to play out this week at Interop and we have a TechWiseTV episode covering all the details.  ‘Simplified and Secure’ is how Inbar Lasser-Raab put it.  The power of ONE: Network, Managment and Policy

Sachin Gupta is our first guest expert here to explain how Cisco’s Unified Access Network offers simplified IT operations, reduced operational costs, and better scaling to accommodate the proliferation of devices and applications now and in the future.

Read More »

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 3): Virtualization and Workload Mobility

It’s Wednesday, time for a fresh episode of Engineers Unplugged! This week features VCE’s Tom Chatham (@tchatham) and EMC’s Travers Nicholas (@traversn) in a joint whiteboarding session around virtualization, VPLEX, and workload mobility.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns
Tom Chatham and Travers Nicholas Solving Tech Problems, One Rainbow at a Time

Tom Chatham and Travers Nicholas Solving Tech Problems, One Rainbow at a Time

Do you agree or disagree with Tom and Travers vision? Post a comment below or Tweet with #EngineersUnplugged.

**Engineers Unplugged is coming to Barcelona for VMworld October 8-October 10. Interested? Contact me at @CommsNinja for more information.**

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Technology & Law Enforcement: Insights from IACP 2012

When police chiefs from around the world and other international community policing leaders come together with technology, you get innovative solutions that make the world a safer place. The Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition (IACP) does just that. It showcases technology and brings together global leadership in community policing and public safety to share information and experiences and to work together to find innovative solutions to issues facing law enforcement of today.

In attending numerous educational sessions lead by today’s leadership within community policing and public safety, we’re seeing some common themes emerging with respect to challenges. Some key insights have been as follows: Read More »

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