Robert Lee Harris
Robert Lee Harris is President of Communications Advantage, Inc., a consulting company focusing on enterprise communications strategies and cost management....
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Robert Lee Harris | June 03, 2012 |


Planning and Managing Enterprise Mobility

Planning and Managing Enterprise Mobility Enterprise mobility needs to be component of nearly every IT project. Asking "what is the enterprise mobility impact?" will become second nature.

Enterprise mobility needs to be component of nearly every IT project. Asking "what is the enterprise mobility impact?" will become second nature.

The term "Enterprise Mobility" used to have single meaning, albeit a different one depending on which section of IT influenced your perspective. It could mean the deployment of customer apps, management of devices, or the extension of enterprise services. Now experts industry-wide are encouraging enterprises to take a holistic view of mobility, thinking in terms of mobile technology's impact on all of IT, and on the business. How can IT leaders actually put this into practice before even developing an app, launching a BYOD strategy or embarking on unified communications for mobile devices? It's easier said than done, especially with the diverse IT disciplines and current technologies creating and sustaining biases regarding what enterprise mobility actually means.

Who Should Manage Mobility?
Not long ago, when mobile devices were perceived as less important to the enterprise IT strategy, responsibility got passed around IT, from telecom, to client technology (the PC team) to email administration. Likewise, now everyone is getting into the mobile management game, most obviously with mobile device management. Once the province of stand-alone products such as Airwatch, Zenprise and MobileIron, now companies such as McAfee, Symantec and Novell have added mobile device capabilities to their desktop management systems to offer a complete endpoint management suite (makes sense). Network security vendors Juniper and Cisco are adding remote wipe and device identification capabilities to their product suites in an effort to capture mobile devices as a network security role (also makes sense). Meanwhile, virtualization companies such as VMWare and Citrix offer to solve the problem by controlling application access regardless of the endpoint (this also makes sense).

"Mobile is the New Face of Engagement", a recent report by Ted Schadler and John C. McCarthy of Forrester Research, recommends appointing an "office of the Chief Mobility Officer" (CMO) to implement a mobility strategy. Considering the future importance of mobile, the goal is to "1) fuel profitable growth with stickier offerings and mobile self-service; 2) move faster along the mobile learning curve; 3) aggregate mobile project budgets to fund needed engagement technology; and 4) grow from an IT group focused on systems of record to a business technology group focused on systems of engagement."

This is very proactive and visionary, but is it realistic in most enterprises? Constrained by resource limitations, many would be tempted to assign a dual role, coupling the CMO duties with enterprise architecture, infrastructure or maybe application development. Rather than equitably prioritizing mobility, the CMO might end up focusing on whatever IT discipline they came from--Apps for some, security for some, devices for others. Since multiple aspects of mobility will compete for IT priority and resources, who should the CIO recruit as the Chief Mobility Officer to make sure that a complete enterprise vision is represented in strategic mobile technology decisions? How about him/herself? If Forrester Research is correct about the impact of enterprise mobility, why delegate it at all? Make it part of the overall approach for aligning IT with business strategies, rather than continuing to treat it as if it were still a niche technology.

Next page: Current enterprise practices


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