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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: