Some revolutions start from the top down (think coups by army generals) and some start from the bottom up (think the revolutions that change the world). Bottom-up revolutions tend to be messier because they threaten the existing order and power structure, which resists change and tries to appease the masses with half measures.
Mobility is one of those bottom-up revolutions.
You know the scenario: Employees start demanding support for the devices that work better than the ones they get from IT; IT resists (often for good reasons, such as cost, complexity, and security) but gradually is forced to give in.
But that gradual concession leads to a piecemeal, reactive, device-by-device strategy for mobile. And creating a strategy based on a particular technology, as we know, dooms us to failure.
Companies need to step back from the device approach and look at the bigger picture. There are four steps to doing this properly:
- Define a mobility vision. Thinking about the business goals for mobility helps us rise above the chaos of trying to figure out where all these devices and OSs will go next. Let’s just assume that employees will be able to do anything from anywhere and go from there. Give the vision a timeline, too. It should provide an outlook on where your enterprise mobility strategy will be in five years.
- Create a mobility management framework. Mobility isn’t just about provisioning and securing devices, it’s also about who should get them and why. Provide more detail for applicable use cases (for example, salespeople will get a lot more out of mobility than your administrative folks) and determine the best way to address governance—perhaps via a mobility center of excellence.
- Establish a mobility eco-system. A real vision for mobile needs to go beyond setting up provisioning relationships with telecom and hardware vendors. For example, IT needs to find reliable sources for creating apps that will never show up in any online store. IT must also set up relationships so that business people with instant, anywhere access to data can start thinking about how they can reinvent their processes (perhaps even their business models).
- Define an infrastructure roadmap based on the vision. Once you contemplate the possibilities for mobile beyond the devices, the whole infrastructure picture changes. For example, proving real-time analytical capability at the device level (as opposed to simply porting a static view of data to the device) has much bigger planning implications for IT than simple mobile enablement.
What do you think? What would you add to this list?
To get more details on creating a mobile strategy—and the steps you need to take to follow through on it—read the paper The Unwired Enterprise: A Comprehensive Approach to Mobilizing for Success.
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