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Getting the enterprise out of the mobility stone age

Keith Higgins, Symphony Services | Jan. 19, 2012
Consumers relish in their cool gadgets at home and there are new apps to try on a daily basis.

Device and data management, including security

CIOs must mandate and enforce a mobility policy that ensures all devices connected to the network are centrally managed. This helps prevent rogue devices from accessing the network (or applications), which can have devastating consequences if corporate information is compromised.

The other major issue that must be resolved is whether IT will buy (and maintain) mobile devices or whether employees will be responsible for that. The answer to this question depends on the organization's size, the particular business it is in and a host of other factors. The biggest challenge for the enterprise is security -- in particular the security of mobile applications and data.

Applications that reside on mobile devices primarily provide a mobile-based consumption mechanism for the information available in enterprise workflow solutions, e.g. HR/Sales systems, Procurement/Service Desk functions, etc. Since these devices can be used outside of the enterprise network organizations must secure information, tie available information to user privileges and also filter out information.

However, the complexities of data hiding, workflow aggregation and data exchange between multiple corporate systems, and workflow simplification for the mobile user, needs to be controlled by the server back end. This provides the enterprise control over corporate data, the ability to enforce security policies and easily adapt to changes in the workflows, privileges and devices.

Replicating the interactions of a PC-based corporate application on a mobile device is counterproductive and at times makes the application unusable. Mobile apps need to aggregate workflows in multiple corporate systems and provide easy and simplified interactive screens to the user.

Information can be restricted based on the user workflow, and the device that is trying to access the information can dynamically decide what data to pass and what data not to pass. However there will be customer requirements to plan for local data storage onto the mobile device because 24/7 access of the application is not desirable. Finally, local data storage should encompass standard encryption mechanisms that platforms come with as well as any specific encryption requirement that the product may have.

Expense management

There is no doubt that a smartly executed enterprise mobility strategy is a direct contributor to the organization's bottom line. Mobility plays a central role in closing deals faster, gluing sales and customer service executives to customers, and cementing relationships with partners and suppliers.

However, mobility is not cheap. In fact, for most companies, fixed and mobile communications services are among the top five business expenses, but often companies do a poor job of managing processes related to communications spending.

IT at companies of all sizes can benefit from using telecom expense management and device procurement managed services -- leveraging outside mobility managed services experts to efficiently and cost effectively manage device procurement, security, service agreements and contracts, device provisioning and support, etc. By doing so, these organizations can focus IT resources on strategic business initiatives.


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