Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
6/27/2012
11:35 AM
Eric  Lundquist
Eric Lundquist
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

MDM As Mobile Strategy, Career Necessity

Mobile device management is about a lot more than managing and monitoring mobile devices. It's a crucial CIO strategy challenge.

CIOs would like to be champions of the next big data analysis project, shuttling their companies toward that next customer insight. They would like to be the brains behind a coherent cloud strategy, the cornerstone of a plan to create an agile and efficient infrastructure. Those accomplishments would be nice, but today's most urgent CIO project is mobile device management (MDM), a product category normally relegated to the rank-and-file IT department.

A comprehensive mobile strategy embraces consumer technologies, including a bring-your-own-device policy and access to applications under an app store model. Of course, CIOs, CSOs, and CEOs want that access to take place in a secure, private, and regulatory-compliant manner.

If you're not feeling it, you will. A recent Accenture study on the consumerization of IT labels the movement "unstoppable." Half of the 4,000 employees it surveyed across a variety of industries and organizations in 16 countries are using their own personal devices at work at least sometimes.

"The genie is out of the bottle, and CIOs have to quickly adapt and respond," says Accenture executive research fellow Jeanne G. Harris.

"Executives might as well wake up and deal with the mobile reality," says Michael Feibus, principal at TechKnowledge Strategies in Phoenix.

One executive who's dealing with this reality--and enjoying the competitive thrill of trying to stay a step or two ahead of competitors--is Phil Easter, director of mobile strategies at American Airlines. "The game has changed and the key now is not to squash creativity," he says.

Echoing several other experts I interviewed, Easter describes a three-tier development structure as the best way to introduce mobile applications. On the first tier sits the big databases and other data repositories underpinning financials, inventory control, and customer data. The second tier consists of a services layer that matches corporate policies. Those services include security, user access, privacy, and compliance controls. The third tier is the presentation layer, where user interfaces are developed mainly for mobile devices.

Easter demonstrated a prototype mobile application where an American Airlines frequent flyer is able to access his current flight data and AA customer service to make a flight change. This might sound like a common application, but Easter demonstrated it being done while the customer was en route, at 35,000 feet, and customer service was already aware of flight delays and had restructured the customer's itinerary even before the customer could call. Easter explained that the FAA had allowed the prototype app development and deployment.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

While the tiered approach is familiar to most enterprise application developers, there are substantial changes from past approaches. Conventional enterprise applications have been developed as a single process, where data, services, and customer UI are all part of one application. Fracturing these elements requires a new approach to development: APIs, common services, and UI expertise become key. And as Easter noted, it's time to compress the old multi-year approach to app dev into three months.

"Mobile application development flips the old-style approach," says SAP America's VP of mobility, Vishy Gopalakrishnan. "Now you are in a kind of perpetual beta where you need to iterate quickly."

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jonathan Dale
50%
50%
Jonathan Dale,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2012 | 2:51:05 PM
re: MDM As Mobile Strategy, Career Necessity
I think this article starts to help paint the larger picture of where the mobile advantage is going. ItGs not about saying GǣnoGǥ. ItGs about productivity enablement and competitive advantage while keeping corporate governance in check with technology.

The company I work for deals with thousands of customers implementing Mobile Device Management (MDM).

Step 1 of MDM
We find that the first step IT managers want is visibility into what devices are accessing their mail and Wi-Fi networks, then they want to begin managing the devices. This starts out as the basic blocking and tackling of passcodes, encryption, wiping, location based services.

Step 2 of MDM
A few months later, they realize that an MDM solution is more than that. They begin getting requests from sales and marketing functions for applications. When they get asked about delivering content and documents to the devices outside of e-mail, that is when a light bulb goes off! IT staff are the new enablers.

Accenture's HarrisGs #4 point is dead on. A good example of this is what Pinterest has on their website for potential employees. Equipment: Whatever you need to be productive is what you should be using. Usually, that means lots of trips to the Apple Store. @JonathanMDale
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.