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Author's profile photo Milja Gillespie

Managing the Invasion of Smart Device in the Enterprise

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you probably aren’t surprised that smart devices including smartphones and tablets have invaded the enterprise over the past 18 months.  According to recent Aberdeen Group research (March 2011), 82% of companies currently have smartphones accessing their WLAN – and 99% of them plan to in the next 12 months.  When it comes to tablets the numbers are equally as impressive – 75% currently allow access and 94% plan to in the next 12 months. 

These numbers are staggering considering that media tablets only came on the market exactly 12 months ago. This forecast is just shy of 100% of enterprises expecting to support smartphones and tablets in the next year — I think this certainly qualifies as an ‘invasion’.  

We talk to an incredible array of large and small enterprises who are trying to figure out exactly how to manage this ‘invasion’ successfully.  The consensus is that this is not a trend or a fad – it is driving a fundamental change in the way businesses operate.  Mobility is a core component of leading companies’ strategy – and it is helping them get ahead of their competition.

So, that begs the question ‘what are these companies doing about it’? I’ve seen two distinct ‘camps’ in how companies are approaching mobility today. The first camp seems to want to start by gaining control over the device invasion – they are wrapping their arms around security and policy enforcement of mobile devices.  They see this as a necessary first step to deal with the immediate need of getting devices on the network and secured. Often this is driven by the BYOD model where employees are demanding access to corporate email from their personal devices. Once devices are securely onboarded, this camp swiftly realizes that mobility is about much more than access to email – they rapidly look for and deploy mobile applications to improve business productivity.

The second camp seems to take a broader strategy up front.  They are investing in mobility with the expectation that it will transform their business.  They are fundamentally looking at smart devices to change how work gets done. They know that mobility is all about the Apps, and they seek company-wide input on an application strategy that will fundamentally change their business. And, of course they build security into their plans as well.

Both strategies are excellent approaches to gaining control of the invasion and will ultimately end up with the same result – business transformed by the power of mobility. The most important consideration is not to wait. Because mobility isn’t going away.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Milja,

      The two methods of handling the mobile transformation you mention, seem to be very simply put. We are currently in the process of implementing a mobile strategy at a big customer (7k employees) and we have a lot more things to think about than security and access management.

      SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann has helped us a lot. We have applied tips he provided in an interview I did with him in January 2011 and that was published here: (DUTCH).

      He described the change that SAP itself was undergoing with implementing iPads for it's employees and briefly described the four most important building blocks of an enterprise mobility strategy:

      - Architecture and framework
      - Device Management
      - Application Management
      - Application Roadmap

      We started the process a few months ago and now we have described some very important things to keep in mind. For example change management. How does the testing and release management of existing applications change when you are offering them on mobile devices as well? I wrote a very simple blog about that subject a while ago: How does mobility with Sybase Unwired Platform influence your existing Change Management?

      Also their is a lot of organizational change ahead if your enterprise decides to go mobile with enterprise data and processes. Not only security wise, but also on the administrative level.

      Who is gonna be technically responsible for the newly implemented Sybase Unwired Platform and it's database tier SQL Anywhere? SQL Anywhere is most likely an unknown product for most SAP driven enterprises.

      Are you going to manage your devices yourself with Afaria or are you going to outsource that to a telco for example?

      How are you going to assign functional responsibility for mobile apps that are built on SAP data? Is your SAP Competence Center gonna be responsible? That will mean they have training to do!

      These are just some small examples of factors we have to keep a sharp eye on in transforming an enterprise to be ready for mobility. I would love a deeper discussion on this, as we could all learn alot from each other's experiences.

      Thanks for writing this blog and mentioning the subject again!

      Best regards,

      Jan Laros
      CIBER The Netherlands

      Author's profile photo Milja Gillespie
      Milja Gillespie
      Blog Post Author
      Jan - thanks for commenting and I completely agree with your point.  The thoughts of this discussion are around how companies are getting started. Very simply put, they either start with a small scope that ends up rapidly growing or they start with a broader strategy.

      Some of the points you brought up will be the focus of future discussions - specifically around how to structure your organization based on functional responsibility. Thanks for your comments and links to other blogs.