Mobile First. What is it, how do we get there

So I have recently taken a break from my Twitter chats. Reading sensless reposts of posts on Facebook. And dare I say it, shunned my daily digs into mobile news channels. Why might you ask? Well it’s because of the newly coined term Mobile First.

As my peers and friends might know we talk incessantly about being bleeding edge or BYO*. What I have come to embrace though is the notion of exactly how much time, effort, thought, rethought, long hours and fights with HR, Security, Operations and Legal are intrinsically entwined in being ‘Mobile First ‘.

I started this journey of change as an underground idea of what it could be if they just let me do ‘it’ the right way. The ‘it’ in this story is mobility. After a failed effort by my predecessor to bring in new devices to the enterprise, I walked into a whirl wind of old ideas and even older policies. Let me begin by telling you I preach several ideological points when I’m asked about ‘it’.
First about EMM: What worked for one company, doesn’t mean it will work here.
Two about the technology: Speak intelligently and use the correct terms and definitions.
Three about the users: Users are not unlike children, they get upset if they don’t understand it and you cannot force them to do something they don’t want to do.
Four about BYOD: It’s a personal choice, not a mandatory. It is not a cost save, but rather an enhancement to productivity. It is not BYO-iOS device, see first point.

So let’s move on and get to the point. Mobile First is the ideological notion that we, as savvy mobile users, would rather pick up our phone or tablet instead of a laptop or desktop. 

What are the requirements to actually prefer mobile to anything else?

From the user:
1) What devices can be used to access work resources?
2) What apps can I use for productivity?
3) What controls are you going to force me to have on my personal phone?
4) How many steps does it take to get into my ‘work stuff’?
5) Can you see what I’m doing on my phone?
6) Can we have it in two weeks?

From the company :
1) How long is this going to take?
2) How do we monitor their activity, but only for our information?
3) What do we do if the device is a) lost/stolen, b) jail broken, c) its broken and goes to the *insert repair place, d) they let their kids use it.. This goes on and on.
4) This is going to cost how much!?
5) Do we get any additional resources?
6) What do you mean we need to set up reimbursement or stipend?!
7) What do we do with all of the devices that the users are going to turn in?
8) What are mobile apps?
9) How do we protect our information?

As an architect I hear these questions and more day in & day out. To move down the path you must make a list of questions and create a plan. Only then can you steer the Titanic.

If you have questions, ask!


4 thoughts on “Mobile First. What is it, how do we get there

  1. Ron Thompson says:

    Thoughts on the appeal of an Enterprise Mobile Solution that produces results quickly – with information from various sources and flexible rendering capabilities to facilitate the creation of new reports, etc. ?

    Extending on this, any other considerations / solutions to improve decision making and enable companies to fast track increasing relevance with Customers and creating new business opportunities ?


    • b52junebug says:

      Ron, to answer you question about the appeal of a solution that produces results quickly.. The real problem is that the solution needs to fit the needs/expectations of the company. Each one of us is unique in our day to day operations. We often times find ourselves plugging the hole in the dam and realizing that what we are using is not the right solution for our situation.

      When considering what to do for fast tracking or making a design for business opportunities, think about what goes into selection of the solution. Write down what the basics are and build on it. Its almost like think about it in those terms. You know describe what your ideal match would be, what are you looking for in a long term partner.. etc. Hokie I know, but it is precisely what we are doing as organizations.

  2. Security policies seem to be the biggest barrier to progress for myself. Sometimes it gets to the point where you have to wonder, “Have I just turned off everything that makes this device attractive, usable, useful?” The first step is normally to mirror existing desktop policies, but these do not fit tablets/smartphones.

    I look forward to, but at the same time fear, the day when these policies come back to bite us, and we have to do it all again, the “right way”.

    • b52junebug says:

      Phil, Yes that is the downside to our management. However, I have always found that when a user understands or you get them to ask “why dont we have that security in place” now they get it and they want it. Education of the pitfalls or problems that arise from not having security is paramount. Its like children, they will want to rail against policy and security until the mystery of why is explained. Try that approach to dealing with your users/customers. The best one is why do I need this password. Politely have them look through their contacts or ask, do you have account numbers, passwords, ID numbers in your contacts? When they give you that weird look of how did you know that, now is your chance to say, so if I get your phone and its not locked, I have access to all of that information.

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