Understanding the mobility lifecycle

So, what is this mobility lifecycle that's got enterprises all excited. Here are the four principles you need to know.

Predicting technology trends can be a tricky business.

For example, in 1943, IBM’s chairman Thomas Watson famously thought there might be a world market for “maybe five computers." And, just a few years later in 1949, Popular Mechanics magazine was predicting that computers in the future might weigh as little as 1.5 tonnes!

Both estimates were clearly a little off and computers have become both tiny and ubiquitous. In fact, personal mobile devices are not only the fastest growing sector; they also represent the biggest challenge and technology opportunity facing enterprises today.

According to local analyst firm Telsyte, 84 per cent of organisations have information and communications technology and processes in place for people to become mobile workers. Further, there has been an ownership shift within the enterprise; 44 per cent of Australian organisations currently support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and an additional 34 per cent plan to adopt BYOD within two years.

Experts agree that BYOD is driving productivity, increasing staff morale and even attracting valuable new hires through flexibility. However, it also presents IT departments with new challenges to overcome.

The growing diversity of applications, new cloud services and OS platforms, means greater complexity for IT departments to deal with. Plus, there just isn’t the resource bandwidth for IT to test and certify every individual device or app to ensure the security of corporate data. According to the same Telsyte study, 27 per cent of organisations allow staff to use any personal mobile or cloud app for work purposes without any restrictions.

This situation will only get worse as mobility is adopted more widely and more devices and apps are deployed. The best way for Australian enterprises to stay ahead of the curve is by rolling out BYOD and other mobility solutions in a holistic fashion.

By taking an entire lifecycle approach to enterprise mobility, businesses can ensure productivity benefits, while keeping complexity and costs low and security high.

The four pillars of mobility

So, what is mobility lifecycle? It's really made up of four pillars.

The first pillar is Security. Organisations need a secure underlying framework that will enable them to detect and prevent threats, as well as provide tools to allow them to manage the mobility landscape and ensure that security policies are followed. This secure framework should be accredited with the strongest security credentials available in the industry and should even enable third parties to leverage the security framework and apply the same rigorous standards to their own apps.

The next pillar is Build. This part of the lifecycle is all about developing and deploying new, mobile-optimised apps and user experiences that support the business. It is important to encourage the creation of rich mobile workflows, giving employees the ability to work seamlessly across the business applications provided to them.

The third pillar is Management. For any mobility environment to work well, it must provide employees with access to the right apps, on the right device, at the right time. Otherwise, there is a risk of them “taking technology into their own hands” and using unsafe solutions that can compromise corporate systems.

To manage this process, the IT department must be given tools that allow them to control and configure devices, deploy apps and wipe data if a device is stolen or lost. Achieving the correct balance between control for IT, while enabling user access and privacy.

The fourth and final pillar is of course Support. Businesses need operational tools to effectively manage services across platforms and heterogeneous mobile devices, apps and carriers. Being able to use rich analytics and data to drive service excellence and equip customer care teams with the tools to quickly diagnose and resolve any issues users may be having across their multiple devices is crucial and reduces cost.

This becomes even more important as companies embrace mobility and, as a result, the scale and complexity of the infrastructure grows. Over time, this can have a significant impact on TCO, so it is critical that the support system is both efficient and scalable.

Something for everyone

Focusing on the enterprise mobility lifecycle addresses the needs of all stakeholders in the organisation – from employees to the CISO and the IT team. Indeed, the benefits can even extend beyond the immediate environs of the organisation to include non-employees such as B2B partners and B2C customers.

For instance, users can have any configuration that IT chooses to deploy, from full MDM (mobile device management), EMM (enterprise mobility management) or (mobile application management) MAM only, or any hybrid in between. In many cases, B2B partners, outside the company, require access to secure multi-app workflow using a completely unmanaged device, such as insurance brokers, claims agents and other contracted positions.

In each case, the IT manager has a simple way of setting policy, provisioning the device or service and managing the users. This leaves the CSO with the assurance that no critical enterprise data leaves the organisation unprotected.

Mobility is gaining momentum

If you do an Internet search on the phrase “Worst Tech Predictions of All Time,” you get something like 360,000 hits. That's a pretty good indicator of just how difficult trying to predict the future can be.

However, when it comes to enterprise mobility, the writing is really on the wall. All the research indicates that the impact of mobile devices on Australian organisations is only going to increase.

That means that businesses must act now and address the entire mobility lifecycle in a holistic manner. That’s the only way to ensure they have the best usability across secure devices while maintaining service levels and managing costs.

David Balazsy, VP for APAC at Good Technology

Good Technology is exhibiting at Gartner Symposium ITxpo, 17-20 November, on the Gold Coast.