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Let employees use personal mobile devices to remain competitive, says Cisco CTO

Jenny Williams

Businesses must adopt new mobile technologies or risk losing top talent to their rivals, according to Cisco's chief technology officer.

Commenting on Cisco's latest Connected World report, Ian Foddering, CTO at Cisco UK & Ireland, said attitudes towards information access, mobile devices and social media have put pressure on businesses to adopt new technologies and improve IT infrastructure to attract and retain top talent.

Cisco's second Connected World Technology report surveyed 2,800 people under the age of 30 world wide. The report shows one-third of young people view the internet as a fundamental human resource. A total of 58% of employees said a mobile device was the most important technology in their lives.


  • Download Cisco's Connected World Technology report (free registration)


Foddering said HR directors have seen a shift from employees asking about company car policies to asking about personal mobile device usage policies. He said employers must embrace the shift to remain competitive and attract and retain talent.

"This shift is causing concern for companies without the IT infrastructure to support personal mobile devices and data. This will lead to a struggle to attract top talent in competition with niche or global organisations that do have the capability to support the latest and greatest technology for employees," he said.

Cisco's first Connected World Technology report showed two-thirds of people surveyed were willing to take a pay cut to enable them to have greater flexibility over personal device usage.

"Employees are looking for different things, rather than just financial remuneration packages," said Foddering.

He added that supporting personal mobile devices also requires updated governance and cultural policies as well as adequate security measures.

"It's not just about technical issues. If people are happy using tablet and mobile devices, what is the draw for getting people into the office? It might drive a different strategy around the way office space is allocated in the organisation," said Foddering.

 

Top three tips from Cisco's CTO on supporting mobile devices 

 

1. Don't be afraid of it

Embrace it. Speak to existing employees about how they are using technology and look at your current governance model. Some employers are trying to curtail use of social media, but there's huge amounts of value in embracing that technology.

2. Update governance policies

Embracing bandwidth-hungry apps is relatively straightforward as video, for example, has certain bandwidth requirements. However, it's important to look at governance policies alongside it. If only one part of a company's professional workforce is using video, technology silos will emerge and organisations won't get the maximum benefit from, for example, video collaboration.

3. Move away from 9-5

Adopting mobile technology means employers can offer employees a better work-life balance beyond the traditional nine-to-five culture. From CIOs downwards, flexible working hours are hugely appealing to a lot of employees. It will be important for retaining staff.


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