Contextual Data Holds Valuable Answers

Contextual Data Holds Valuable Answers

Contextual data—information about how employees are using their mobile devices—provides valuable insights into what types of apps your employees prefer and how and where they are using their devices.

Michael Fox is Director of Product Management at Synchronoss Technologies.

Productivity and security — these things are the drivers for many CTOs and IT departments. But when it comes to mobile maturity across the board, is your company missing a piece of the puzzle that drives both of these factors?

While this is indeed the mobile era, enterprises are falling short in leveraging their contextual data — a key pillar that could increase revenue, improve security and lead to better overall productivity of an organization’s IT efforts.

Contextual data — information about how employees are using their mobile devices — provides valuable insights into what types of apps your employees prefer and how and where they are using their devices. Imagine if every custom app you made for employees worked entirely to their satisfaction. Not only would their opinion of you soar — and, fingers crossed, your IT helpdesk requests diminish — but your employees’ overall productivity level should improve, thus enhancing your company all around.

Though the benefits of collecting contextual data seem obvious, recent research found that very few — if any — companies are doing so.

A recent survey of more than 500 organizations gauging their maturity levels across many aspects of enterprise mobility boiled down all these factors into three categories that, logic would have it, would reveal their maturity level: Productivity, security and contextuality. The results were rather stunning — zero percent received the highest marks in security and contextuality, and a mere 9 percent qualified in productivity.

To get to this dynamic, “transformational” level, for the purposes of the study, organizations had to gather and analyze data from more than one source, share information readily with external parties without compromising security, and enable devices that are sharing and collecting information to also be used as a factor of authentication.

Enterprises that actively collected contextual data experienced a 5 percent increase in productivity with each maturity level reached — that means a 20 percent increase for organizations that reach the transformational level of maturity. At the cutting edge, companies can analyze their contextual data alongside other data sets, like from internet of things sensors or line of business data. This is the holy grail of leveraging contextuality — allowing enterprises to measure against departmental KPIs and improve their processes.

But this can’t occur when enterprises offer little or no visibility into how their employees are using mobile devices. That is a shame, because as the study shows, an increase in mobile maturity actually has little long-term effect on the amount of IT assistance employees need. When an enterprise offered fairly basic or even medium-level maturity, there was no increase in help requests. And, perhaps shockingly, when companies engaged in nearly the highest levels of productivity, security and contextuality, help requests only saw an initial boost during roll out, and those effects were short lived. After this period, there is a 14 percent drop in requests, despite the increase in complexity — proving the boost in productivity doesn’t live solely outside the IT department.

Enterprise mobility seems easy — give them a product and let them go. But availability does not equal productivity. There needs to be a deliberate effort to make sure employees are using the devices and services you provide them with in an optimal and secure way. And if companies aren’t using the information that is out there for the collecting, there is no way for them to close the loop.

Contextual data is treasure trove that, unfortunately, companies aren’t optimizing. Clues from contextual data could lead to more security and more productivity and help an enterprise reach the coveted transformational level of maturity. There is a real opportunity for companies that prioritize contextual data to outpace their competitors, boosting their efficiency and — ultimately — their profitability.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Penton.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.
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