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Mobile Government and Telework Week 2014

rpodEach year I pledge to telework along with thousands of others for the annual Telework Week.  Today, I worked from my rpod parked in front of my house.  My rpod is my personal smart work space and provides me everything I need to work at home or on the road with secure mobility capabilities that allow me to access all my meetings, applications, and collaboration tools to do my job.

In fact, I could have worked from anywhere and have been teleworking for the past several years.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act) was signed into law on December 9, 2010. The objective is to achieve greater flexibility in managing the workforce through the use of telework. Telework programs  and best practices provide agencies a valuable tool to meet mission objectives while helping employees enhance work/life effectiveness to:

  • Improve Continuity of Operations to help ensure that essential Federal functions continue during emergency situations including snow storms
  • Promote management effectiveness when telework is used to target reductions in management costs and environmental impact and transit costs
  • Enhance work-life balance and allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations

This year, Telework Week 2014, was the fourth-annual global effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge. A total of 163,495 pledges collectively saved $14,003,872 in commuting costs and spared the environment 9,066 tons of pollutants.

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Church uses wireless technology to bring community together

Cisco Connected Church MidMarketInstead of having people travel to a singular physical location every week, this church brings their services to the people, therefore reducing barriers in spreading their message.

Eastlake community church is located across 8 campuses in Seattle area in Washington. Their main objective is to create a feel of a singular church across physically disconnected campuses.

The use of technology such as video allows them to do connect to a wide audience like never before. In addition to delivering their main services, they are also able to offer secure child services at their locations using electronic check-ins.

Unique challenges

In order to conduct their services week by week, they required a reliable network with a widespread wireless network with simple management for their volunteer-based IT. They also needed to keep their operational costs low considering the nature of their organization. More interestingly, Eastlake church faced some additional unique challenges. Out of their 8 locations, only 2 of them are permanent while the others are “pop-up” locations such as schools and public places.  All these dynamic, “pop-up” locations needed to support secure BYOD and yet simple management. Read More »

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Increasing Business Investments and IT Opportunities

Charting a New CourseAs business groups increase their technology investments and gain more access to new technologies and consumption models, IT’s balance between operational excellence and innovation is shifting. Technical innovation can now happen anywhere. This change presents a huge opportunity for IT to drive innovation in new ways. So which organizations are seizing this opportunity?

To find out, we recently conducted the Cisco Business and IT Priority Survey to determine how these groups manage innovation, and how their business and IT priorities are linked. See the info graphic and previous blog for global results and observations, and see how your priorities compare to your peers by taking the survey here.

As today’s innovation and technology investments can dramatically impact tomorrow’s business results, the investment levels by region are particularly interesting.

For example, 50% of business leaders in China see technology innovation as a critical differentiator to their business, whereas in the US, only 21% rank innovation as critical. Multiple times in the survey, the responses from China indicated a collective interest in innovation as a top business priority. In Germany, 23%, and the UK 25% of business leaders also see innovation as a business priority as critical.

Companies in India and China also indicate that their investments are growing faster than other regions’. About 81% of Indian business leaders surveyed, and 75% of Chinese ones expect their technology budgets to increase next year – many by more than 25%. By contrast, 54% of UK businesspeople, 48% in Canada and Germany, and only 41% in the US expect their technology budgets to grow.

Indian and Chinese business leaders also indicate that they’re spending a bigger proportion of their own growing budgets on technology. In China 82% of those surveyed plan to spend at least 25% of their business budgets on technology, and in India 71% are doing the same. By contrast, only 41% of US and 45% of Canadian business leaders are spending more than 25% of their budgets on technology.  Read More »

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Mobility and BYOD That’s Right for Your Midsize IT

Employee are now unchained from their desks; mobility frees the ability to work anyplace, anytime, and from any device. This is revolutionizing the type of productivity and efficiency businesses see from their workforce- large, medium, or small.  While realizing business efficiency and growth, midmarket IT is struggling to balance objectives (make the network for you) and challenges (limited resources).

Midmarket IT Objectives

Leverage the network as a strategic asset

To increase employee productivity and gain competitive advantage;

Better serving customers,

Thus realizing overall growth

Midmarket IT Challenges with Mobility and BYOD

The advent of mobility and BYOD, while unleashing unprecedented levels of communication and collaboration, brings challenges to IT. Mobility enables BYOD. BYOD enables multiple types of employees, logging in from multiple types of devices, from multiple locations. Users are demanding access to the Internet and applications wherever and whenever they want.  Chaos? Anyone reading this won’t need the laundry list of concerns. It’s there.

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Honesty is the Best BYOD Policy

Does BYOD really mean that my device will become the company’s device? Do I control my private data or does my employer? How can I make sure I maintain a work-life balance when my personal device is also my work device? Will my company support any device I choose?

Some of these questions might seem familiar as more business employees consider adding their own device to their company’s network. These questions also represent an important part of a comprehensive mobile strategy: User buy-in.

Brett Belding BYOD - without headerRecently, I read an interesting CIO article by Adam Bender that highlighted the importance of getting employees on board when implementing a BYOD policy. The article discusses that according to Frost & Sullivan analyst, Audrey William, many employees are worried that they won’t be able to control data on their device once they begin using it for work. In addition, William states that employees are also concerned about the lines blurring between work and play when both personas are merged onto one single device.

Although the concept of BYOD is not new, these concerns have important consequences in our networked world. So, what’s the answer?

An honest, safe, and secure MDM solution and effective policy communication. Read More »

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