MDM As Mobile Strategy, Career Necessity - InformationWeek
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Eric  Lundquist
Eric Lundquist
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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.

This mobile mindset requires CIOs to take a much larger view of MDM than simply developing an approved device list, locking down particular corporate applications, and creating lists of mobile do's and don'ts. It also presents a new way of working for corporate IT departments that were built around structured approaches to deploying systems to employees.

The one-size-fits-all approach to application development and deployment is withering in the face of a generation raised on the app store model. If you don't like one drawing app for your iPad, no problem. Just try another. That "try one" mentality runs counter to the process for corporate apps such as email, rolled out over a period of years and updated on the vendor's--not the users'--schedule. Mobile applications are especially suited to this app store model, as companies increasingly comprise full-time, part-time, and contract workers all needing separate levels of corporate data access.

The risks for CIOs and other IT executives unable to develop a coherent mobile strategy are very real. A lax strategy risks corporate secrets and customer data leaking to the outside world. A rigorous "no way" strategy risks the IT department being seen as the stifler of innovation and a roadblock to company growth.

While no CIO wants to be left without an answer when the CEO asks if the company has the resources and capabilities to compete in a mobile first world, IT departments, once secure in their rigid policies and procedures, risk being sidestepped by employees using their own mobile devices and applications for work duties that include proprietary corporate data.

"The growing ability of employees to bypass their IT departments and create their own technical solutions is eclipsing the IT function's role as the source of technological innovation in the organization," states the Accenture study. "It's not hard to understand why employees are moving in this [consumerization] direction. Sidestepping enterprise IT and using your own devices and applications is usually easier, more fun and, let's face it, often cooler than using what the IT department doles out."

[ A key and related question is: How Much Risk Should CIOs Take? ]

Accenture's Harris describes the mobile first corporate movement as a "Darwinian" moment for IT departments. She offers the following advice:

1. Learn what your employees are doing with consumer technology at work.

2. Understand that future IT innovation will most likely come from the consumer world.

3. Pick a group, set some ground rules for a technology category (smartphones), set a per-person budget, and see what people do with it.

4. Embrace consumer tools as a recruitment tool to attract the best new employees.

5. Understand that while IT has played a vital role for business innovation in the past, business executives are now able to create these opportunities on their own.

6. Re-examine corporate IT's priorities, budget, and responsibilities.

Mobile device management is about a lot more than managing and monitoring mobile devices. It's about a strategy. Successfully developing, designing, and deploying mobile devices and applications will be the cornerstone to your company's future success and your advancing career.

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Jonathan Dale
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
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