This post is part of a series in which we’re taking a closer look at some of the common barriers to effective knowledge sharing in organisations and how to overcome them through the lens of three different perspectives; the source, the information, and the audience.

Part 1: Finding the root cause of a problem
Part 2: The Source
⠀⠀⠀a) "Sharing information is challenging when away from the office"
⠀⠀⠀b) "Information is stockpiled for the next weekly report"
⠀⠀⠀c) "Knowledge is only shared in infrequent meetings"*
Part 3: The Information
⠀⠀⠀a) "It’s a mess - Information is unorganized and uncategorized"*
⠀⠀⠀b) "Data is siloed in individual teams"*
Part 4: The Audience
⠀⠀⠀a) "Too much data leads to information overload"*
⠀⠀⠀b) "Working remotely breaks down communication channels"*
Part 5: The importance of effective knowledge sharing for your organisation*

*coming soon
✍️ ⏳

Smartphones have made their way into literally all areas of our lives. We use them to connect with our friends and family, access information, take pictures, and so much more. Most people have their smartphone glued to their hand. And yet, according to a Deloitte study, there are still over 10 million employees – close to one-third of the UK's working population - who spend time away from a fixed location for their role but do not use a mobile device for work purposes.

The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed brought forward the digital transformation for many businesses, due to an increased number of employees being forced to work from home. However, there are still significant opportunities for businesses to embrace this shifting landscape at a macro level and adopt mobile-friendly practices.

The trend towards mobile is fully expected to continue beyond Coronavirus with Gartner forecasting that by 2022, 70% of software interactions in enterprises will occur on mobile devices.

People Know How to Use Their Smartphones

The problem of slow adoption in the workplace is not usability. People know how to use their smartphones for productivity and accomplishing tasks. They've been doing so in their everyday lives, from making payments to scheduling appointments with the doctor, for years. The issue is that the same mobile accessibility seen in these other areas of life has not yet been fully adopted in the workplace.

This problem with accessibility is a barrier to effective knowledge sharing and creates productivity obstacles, including the "doubling up" of some tasks. Deloitte found that more than 5 million workers in the UK fill out forms on paper, only to turn around and enter that same data into the computer. It's a waste of time accomplishing the same task twice.

Should businesses start to close this productivity gap and provide apps and mobile accessibility for these workers, employees' output and efficiency will begin to increase significantly.

Benefits of mobile apps for small business infographic - Average time saved per employee per week by using mobile apps = 7.5 hours, average revenue gain believed to be generated by mobile apps = 16%

The issues that arise from not having access to, or the ability to share, information on-the-go deserve management's time and attention. Businesses should consider making their core processes available through mobile applications.

How to Adopt Mobile Into Your Digital Strategy

We've identified the problem; a gap between acquiring new information and the ability to share it whilst on-the-go. But what can we do to fix it?

Fully incorporating mobile into your business has the potential to enhance your business processes and amplify productivity. This requires a 2-step approach; firstly, implementing a secure and manageable infrastructure of devices; and secondly, adopting a company-wide mobile app strategy.

Business reporting goes mobile - Try Harkster ➔

Implementing mobile technology into the workplace typically comes with a question: Should I furnish corporate devices for my employees or let them bring their own? Allowing employees to bring their own mobile devices (a practice commonly referred to as 'Bring Your Own Device' or 'BYOD') can significantly help this accessibility issue, but also involves juggling safety and security with cost and productivity. Some of the top factors to consider when implementing BYOD include:

  • BYOD and Security: Protecting corporate assets and providing business continuity are some of the biggest concerns surrounding BYOD in the workplace. Not only do business owners have to navigate scenarios where an employee loses or breaks their phone, but they also have to trust that employees will maintain high-security standards with the sensitive information accessed through their device. Employees who don't take passwords or security updates seriously might put company data at risk in a BYOD environment.
  • Managing Employee Devices: Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms are extremely common on mobile devices used for the workplace. These services can monitor applications being used on the device, detect devices in the network, and monitors data being shared from that device. While these can easily be installed and monitored on company-issued mobile devices, employees might be more hesitant about using one on their device. Some companies offer financial compensation for employees who keep an MDM installed and active on their devices to remedy this.
  • The Financials of BYOD: Of course, the cost is always a factor. While BYOD might initially seem more cost-effective, considering employees are responsible for supplying their device, there are hidden fees associated with this approach. Financial stipends for employees who keep an MDM platform on their device add up, and quickly. In contrast, businesses can often take advantage of discounted service plans with carriers who offer volume discounts when purchasing corporate devices. Samsung suggest, companies with head-counts as low as 10 can expect to save money buying the phones themselves.
Benefits of mobile apps for small business infographic - The average BYOD-carrying employee works and extra 2 hours and sends 20 more emails every day.

Both Apple and Samsung provide business-specific deals on their devices plus additional complementary services relating to device management.

It's worth giving some thought early on whether you will offer both iOS and Android devices or stick to a single operating system. Several factors could come into play here:

  • Simplicity: with Mobile Device Management (MDM), it is much more straightforward to have a single operating system to manage, especially when it comes to security upgrades, app compatibility etc.
  • Cost: Apple iOS is only available on Apple devices with a price tag, even for their entry-level devices, that starts at a relatively high level. However, Android is available on a considerably more expansive selection of devices across manufacturers that begin at a much more reasonable price point.
  • Personal Preference: Most of your employees will have a personal smartphone and have already chosen which operating system they prefer. Depending on your business's size, personal preferences might force you into offering both iOS and Android if there are differing opinions.

For MDM solutions independent to the device manufacturers, check out this TechRadar post for a recent rundown of the top offerings.

We particularly like Miradore's MDM software which is very user friendly for small-medium businesses with its easy-to-use interface and their free tier to help you get started at absolutely no cost. They also offer an extensive selection of video tutorials on their YouTube channel to walk you through setting up the different features available.

2. Incorporate Apps into Your Digital Strategy

Business apps have become essential to connect on-the-move employees and help them communicate with each other effectively. These productivity apps are an integral part of many small businesses. According to Infostreet, the average small-medium business, which uses mobile applications, utilises 5-15 apps every day.

Benefits of mobile apps for small business infographic - As a direct result of using apps: 60% of employees see an increase in their personal productivity - Average increase in productivity of 34%

Some organisations develop custom apps for specific business-driven tasks, but the user can personalise many off-the-shelf apps to provide extensive functionality within any organisation. While there are many apps to choose from, here are five types of app that I recommend to improve your workforce's productivity from Day 1 (click link below to open in a new tab).

5 Management Apps to Run Your Small Business in 2021 (incl. Free Apps)
Business apps have become essential to connect on-the-move employees. Here are five types of app that I recommend to improve your workforce’s productivity from Day 1.

We are a society always on the go. We order our food on the go, check our email in the car, and are continually looking for ways to wrap our work around this lifestyle. Even though nearly everyone in the UK has a smartphone in their hand, many just aren't utilising it for productivity purposes. But while we wait for organisations to catch up by providing customised apps for their employees, there are many third-party tools worth considering to improve workplace output and streamline tasks.

In the next post in this series, we continue analysing barriers to effective knowledge sharing from the source's perspective. We'll be looking at the many ways stockpiling knowledge for weekly reports can delay the communication of crucial information.

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