informa
/
Commentary

Mobile App Mentality: 4 Ways IT Must Change

From architecture to employee trust, IT must adjust its thinking.

focused on two to three core tasks. Employees expect this same, focused, consumer-grade experience with mobile business apps.

This is why technologies like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) fail the individual. Forcing employees to use legacy Windows apps that were built for keyboards and big screens on their beautiful new tablets optimized for touch and mobility will result in poor adoption, user frustration, and minimal business value. A 2015 Ferrari should not have the engine of a 1990 Buick. Employees want modern apps that are optimized for the mobile experience and for the way they want to do their work.

This move to an experience-centric model of apps requires a re-imagining of underlying business processes and a change in the mindset and design methodology of the enterprise developer.

4. From Inside-Out To Outside-In

The mobility disruption for business IT isn't driven by technology, but rather a fundamental flip in the way IT must look at the world. The core infrastructure technologies of the last 20 years -- anti-malware, system management, virtualization, VPN, and remote desktops -- were not driven by the needs of employees, but instead by the need of IT for efficiency and data security. The requirements were developed inside-out: They started with IT and were then deployed to the employee base. Now the requirements are being set outside-in: They start with the employee needs and are then enabled by IT. Employees are demanding that IT respect their preferences for particular operating systems, devices, and apps. IT doesn't have the option to say "no," but must instead accept the challenge of making these services available in a business context without sacrificing enterprise security, user experience, or personal privacy.

What makes this challenge so difficult is its pace of change. The technology landscape is more dynamic than at any time in our lives, with the launch of Apple Watch and a new generation of wearable devices; new versions of Android, iOS, and Windows coming out every few months (or weeks); and a stunning rate of innovation across apps. The speed with which IT must race through this gauntlet is daunting. Mobile moves at consumer speed, which is far outside the comfort zone of most IT organizations.

We all have much work to do. Establishing a successful mobile program requires a rethinking of the assumptions that have driven enterprise IT for the last 30 years. But the prize at the end is that mobility can enable employees to do things they could never have imagined before, because data and information become ubiquitous. That's why mobile will be not only the great disruptor of IT, but also the core driver of business transformation in this decade.

[Did you miss any of the InformationWeek Conference in Las Vegas last month? Don't worry: We have you covered. Check out what our speakers had to say and see tweets from the show. Let's keep the conversation going.]