Discussions of enterprise mobility too often focus on the discrete components of an approach —especially mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). That’s a piecemeal and incomplete view of a much more complicated issue.
CIOs seeking all the business benefits of mobility programs must realize that they can’t engage in a halfway covenant. A successful enterprise mobility program must also encompass creativity, security, device support models and the ability to maximize application design.
The requirement for MAM demonstrates the need for a holistic approach. Mobile apps are streaming into the enterprise, largely due to the “bring your own application” (BYOA) trend, through which mobile users source their productivity tools from outside the enterprise.
IT must find ways to legitimize these unsanctioned applications to extract the full business and employee-productivity benefits. To do so, they need to create comprehensive frameworks that provide full lifecycle management of those applications — from initial inspection and deployment to eventual retirement — to avoid application sprawl and downstream support issues.
Creativity and Security
Planning and creativity are just as important in determining the success of a comprehensive enterprise mobility initiative. IT organizations must have considerable business analysis skills, as well as comprehensive management and support processes, to fully realize the benefits of re-inventing customer- and employee-facing business processes. Additionally, the organization needs to devise creative approaches to mobile application lifecycle management and flexible models for delivering IT support services to mobile workers.
IT decision makers must also take security into consideration as external devices are brought into workplaces with an inflexible management system already in place. The first step here is for CIOs and CISOs to examine how mobile devices are being used within an organization in order to identify specific threats and opportunities for improvement.
Once an assessment has been made, it is much easier to put security policies in place. This includes remote tracking, locking and wiping data, or using biometrics to set up user authentication support.
In addition to creativity and security initiatives, organizations must also redesign their support models to accommodate both the lightweight needs of contemporary mobile device users and the more standardized, controlled, image-based requirements of the traditional desktop. The latter is still a significant factor within enterprise IT.
The third annual Unisys study of consumerization of IT demonstrates the necessity of improving support models. The study shows that IT organizations will increasingly need to support a new class of “mobile elite” workers, who make more intensive use of mobile technology in their jobs than average workers. The study shows that this elite cadre currently comprises about 25% of information workers. That segment will surely continue to grow as mobility proliferates throughout enterprises.
The final step of a well-rounded mobility program is redesigning existing applications to extend support for the rapidly growing mobile workforce. In fact, one could easily consider this a primary challenge as organizations look to use mobility to increase employee productivity and their overall return on investment from IT.
Most organizations to date have focused on using mobile channels to extend their reach to customers. They are now discovering that maximizing use of mobility by their workforce is equally critical, if not more so.
Businesses and IT organizations that take a piecemeal, tactical approach to mobility are likely to lose out in today’s and tomorrow’s dynamic marketplace. Conversely, those who take a strategic, 360-degree approach to mobility are most likely to reap the full benefits.