Most progressive organisations today recognise that their employees are one of their key stakeholders, apart from their customers, partners, suppliers and shareholders.
It is imperative that the needs of employees are addressed adequately.
In fact, it can unlock unprecedented productivity and deepen engagement within the organisation which build a strong foundation for future growth.
It is important that employees are offered consistent and effective experiences from all the digital touchpoints of a company.
Any effort to improve employee-experience needs to begin with an understanding of what their work patterns are, and what the employees need or are looking for.
With the steep rise in ubiquity of mobile devices, employees increasingly prefer to access business applications and transactions on their personal mobile devices.
It is critical that enterprises take cognisance of this trend and provide a consistent and effective experience to employees on any end point they choose to access their business applications.
The end point could be Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), or even Corporate-Owned Personal Device (COPE).
Flexibility in access to business applications provides a host of benefits to employees.
To begin with, they do not need to be at their work location in order to access the applications. This promotes work-life balance for employees and boosts their overall morale and productivity as they can now control their time better and accomplish more based on their personal situations.
A major public-sector bank has set a great example of achieving scale with security across its branches all over India.
It has created a large private cloud and virtualised its infrastructure through adoption of a software-defined data centre.
Every employee in every branch is provisioned a virtual machine literally in minutes and enjoys a consistent experience.
In addition, a "work from home" initiative was announced, especially for its women employees, on the International Women's Day in March 2017.
The ability to access business applications alongside personal applications on personal devices is a great convenience, but there are security challenges which need to be addressed with the right technologies.
For instance, it is difficult to manually comply with internet separation on potentially multiple personal devices being used to access business systems.
There are bound to be policy and usage violations forcing organisations into reactive mode.
Initiatives like "working from home" certainly add to the complexity of ensuring internet separation.
Organisations need to consider virtualised desktop and unified end-point access management in order to provision access to employees and manage the freedom of access with the control of security without issues.
More importantly, if a cyber-security issue were to crop up, these technologies will ensure it is quarantined at the point of incidence.
For an IT organisation that is already dealing with offering 24x7 access on a multitude of diverse devices while enforcing unobtrusive control on unauthorised access and operations, the combination of business applications on personal devices can be a difficult mix to manage.
It is a huge security challenge which needs to be managed by organisations with intelligent technologies that can enforce an appropriate policy dependent on the employee, role, application, end point and usage context.
It needs to be centrally defined but deployed in a highly-aware and distributed manner.
Secure digital workspace solution enabled by virtualisation and unified end-point management technologies is the most effective and comprehensive solution for delivering good user experience for all its customers, including internal employees.
Virtualised digital work spaces provide secure access to any application on any device.
At the back-end, they provide micro-segmented security at a fine granular level and implement one-way-trust for clients accessing internet.
More importantly, digital work spaces provide a firewall at every virtualised client level to ensure that potential threats don't spread beyond the affected client.
They also restrict unauthorised traffic flows by enforcing internet separation during use.
Flexibility is not merely a feel-good or a nice-to-have feature.
It also offers tremendous business benefits such as 100 per cent uptime, central patch monitoring/management, fool-proof internet separation, consistent security policy implementation, ability to remotely wipe a device in case of loss and zero unauthorised access with users experiencing seamless access, efficiency and productivity.
Scaling infrastructure in tune with demand growth is also easier and faster with centrally forecasted and pro-actively implemented virtualisation capacity for the data centre.
As with everything, when you do the right things right, you can expect great things to happen.
Deeply committed, passionate, engaged and productive employees, who have the freedom of choice when it comes to where and how they work, can galvanise a positive and significant growth environment for organisations.
(Sundar Balasubramanian is Senior Director, Commercial Sales and Partners at VMware.
The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at email@example.com)