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How food and beverage companies can protect customer and business data


While workplace IT setups have traditionally been focused on a single workstation dedicated to an employee or even an entire team of employees, today’s workforce has access to an unparalleled number and type of devices where they can perform daily tasks, collaborate across departments and engage customers. From PCs to tablets, smartphones and wearables, technology today is sleeker, smaller, more powerful and better optimized than ever before to facilitate efficient business operations in a global environment.

Many executives are also considering the business potential of the explosive growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, bringing with it devices enabled with game-changing connectivity and data transfer capabilities that support vastly more targeted, precise, customized and direct employee communications.

For the food and beverage industry, this means that every supply chain touch point, from growers and shippers to front-line retailers, has the ability to communicate and collaborate on virtually every type of relevant information more quickly and with greater accuracy. At the same time, equipping employees with these tools can be overwhelming—with so many options, selecting the best solution to fit each user’s unique needs requires strategic planning and careful consideration to ensure each device is optimized both for employee use and company ROI.

User-centric flexibility, customized deployments

Within this new paradigm, many executives are finding that one size often does not fit all when it comes to employee hardware strategies that assign and deploy IT hardware. While field workers might benefit from the accessibility afforded by small notebooks or tablets, in-house employees may require larger systems that can support a greater amount of transmitted and stored data. Regardless of job function, businesses are finding it critical to consider the types of environments employees will be working in, and craft a hardware plan flexible and agile enough to accommodate the range of use cases and business conditions their teams will encounter.

At the same time, business leaders are learning that no matter how sleek or impressive the device, the degree of user adoption remains low if employees are confused or frustrated about its use. So while many food and beverage organizations assign employees a dedicated companion device to perform work-related functions, some are also realizing the benefits of so-called “bring your own device” programs. Underscoring the appeal of these types of programs, Gartner predicts that by 2018, 70 percent of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices.1 This strategy not only lowers company hardware costs, but also allows employees to work with familiar and trusted tools, an approach that appeals to today’s always-on workforce while also reducing user frustration and requests for IT support.

Optimized hardware, role-based software

Regardless of who supplies the device, the goal of IT hardware in a business setting is to boost employee effectiveness and value by making job functions easier, collaboration smoother and operations more streamlined. And the same goes for software—optimizing efficiency and productivity means equipping each employee device with software tailored to address that user’s specific roles and responsibilities.

For food and beverage industry leaders, tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365 enterprise resource planning (ERP) software are providing users across the enterprise access to critical business information, consolidated into a single portal for real-time insights into operations and performance, along with the ability to customize dashboards and reporting tools to fit specific business needs.

Employee hardware strategies are future-focused, equipped for success

Devices aren’t just getting smaller, they’re also getting exponentially smarter and more powerful, with the evolution of IoT poised to raise the bar higher still. The myriad types of real-time data that can be leveraged from such devices appear virtually limitless, with the devices themselves expected to post a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 55 percent from 2015 to 2019.2

Against such a dynamic backdrop, food and beverage industry leaders know that to ensure employees are equipped to keep pace with ever-increasing customer demands and industry regulations, their hardware strategies must be centered on selecting and distributing precisely the right variant of the latest technology, capable of running business critical software.

Perhaps even more importantly, however, they know their plans must be crafted at the individual or team level, with technology selected and distributed to align precisely with individual and group business needs. Food and beverage executives count on their teams to be reliable and productive resources to the organization as well as the customers and stakeholders who depend on them, and making sure the right tools are at their disposal is just as valuable.

1 “Bring Your Own Device,” Gartner, Inc.
2  “The Internet of Things Security Market Is Expected to Grow at a CAGR of 55% from 2015-2019: Technavio,” Business Wire, May 5, 2015.


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