In all of the focus on BYOD policies and security questions in the mobile enterprise, one thing has been missing: employees. Mobile applications have received their fair share of the attention, as have IT's concerns for security of information, networks and communication. What's missing is the understanding of employees' needs, user experience and motivations for using mobile.

Bernd Christiansen, CTO of Citrix OnLine, said in an interview in 2012,

I have the best office in the company as I overlook the parking lot. I get to watch our employees at their most productive during the day as they walk from their car to the front door. As soon as they hit the front door their access to resources are locked down and their applications and services aren’t designed to be easy to use.”

The understanding of mobile and employee needs in the workday hasn’t changed much from that view from 2012. The focus should be on access to resources, easy to use applications and services, and fitting the person’s needs.

Access to Resources

One of the long standing uses for mobile is for unconstrained access to information. Not only has mobile access to information been valuable when out of the office, but it's also common for use in the office. In office use often relates to searching for needed information, posting questions to colleagues in professional organizations or professional related forums, or making use of easy to access reference materials in mobile apps. The mobile has become a regular part of workflow for many.

When organizations supply smartphones to employees, the employees will still keep a personal smartphone to use. Work phones often operate under constraints for security (files access is only from secure resources), limitations on search, limits on location services, inaccessible cameras and additions such as applications for organization wide communication and collaboration. All of the mobile's content can be wiped, if lost or used by someone other than the intended owner. Most employees personal phones don't fall under the same controls and they try to keep it that way.

Employees will keep their personal phone to have personal information and valuable resources within reach. Divisions or groups find unsanctioned communication and collaboration resources better suited for their workflows, so the applications are not loaded on their work provided device.

Ease of Use

Designers and developers have quickly learned that the most frequently used resources on mobiles are the ones that are (relatively) easy to use. The two biggest constraints driving ease of use are the device size and the context for mobile use -- environments where many things vie for the user's attention and focus. Mobile apps designed with these constraints in mind are the apps that get used. The ones used most frequently provide focus on one or a few tasks that are easily accomplished.