Mobility the new IT support model

So your finally moving into the new era of mobile first, but have you considered everything that it is or will become?

Years ago I wrote a paper on the smartphone as a paper for my college telecom class. I had only been working with Blackberrys for about a couple of years, but we had IPaqs and palm pilots. I thought why wouldn’t these fantastic devices make great phones and if they were inexpensive who wouldn’t buy them. I got an A on my thesis but my instructor called it a great fantasy.

Fast forward 7 years. Mobile has become the new full computing platform. Several bloggers talk about how they have been using mobile only for the past year for everything.

When you adopt mobile and expand to the total user experience: apps, on network file storage, instant messaging and virtual desktop its time to stop looking at your mobile devices as just email, contacts and calendar.

Suddenly your easy Windows end user computing staff has to be morph into ninja smartphone experts. They are now required to know what model, os, carrier, free memory, downloaded apps, and whether or not the earth is experiencing solar flares or the leaves on the trees that line the Parkway are still on the tree.

Anyone that has supported mobile phones knows exactly what the above means. In today’s support world though our help desk is asked to treat these devices as mini computers. However they are much more.

Mobile has become its own support platform. So how will you structure your support? Just because you adopt byox doesn’t mean your support ends.

Look at all of the functionality that your organization has put on a mobile device. What does it take to support these same features on a laptop? Take that level of support and triple it. The mobile ecosystem has evolved and it’s time we give it the attention and proper support that’s needed.

What I really learned at MacIT

So this week I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco to attend MacIT. I had some great sessions. I have attended some not so great sessions.
The biggest thing I have taken away is the need for full disclosure. I am a realist, I never take a look at a product and just take people at their word. It is becoming more and more apparent that in the Mac/iOS space, that individuals, admins, and support personal just eat up this information without a dose of skepticism. All too often, everything that is being presented is from a one sided small view.
In our business, whether we are supporting a 10 person team, a school district of 100k students, or a large corporation, to listen to someone talk about a $20 server that can manage all of your devices is disturbing. I realize that not all ideas/solutions fit every need, and given our diverse interests and backgrounds its important to ensure that material being presented is a useable solution for your situation and objectives as well as your constraints.. As an enterprise decision maker am I going to go out to my Mac base and say: “Hey use Logmein” and punch holes in my firewall. No I am not.
I have heard a couple of speakers refer to BYOD as Bring Your Own Disaster. BYOD does not need to be a disaster, but there does need to be governance. Comprehensive policy/end user agreements need to be created that protect the user and the company/organization/school. Consumer solutions may paint a lower cost, faster, simpler solution at first glance, but few have these sort of enterprise grade capabilities that are critical to these entities.

All in all remember these mantras:

  • You get what you pay for. ($20 for server and mobile device management. This solution requires hours of administration and customization. In the end it is still a small market solution that may not do everything you need. Considering you still need iTunes and the iPCU (iPhone configuration utility. More software to do one job.)
  • One size solution does not fit all. (Your organization/company/school is unique. Just because it works for one place doesn’t mean it will work for you.)
  •  A sucker is born every minute. (Listen, learn, ask questions, and research. Never take anything at face value. Most speakers are here to hawk their products and solutions. See the first mantra.)

Just remember, when you attend a conference take notes, listen, learn the methods but use it to your advantage and create your own success story. When you network (networking is what makes us stronger), talk about your methods and your practices and get feedback. Listen to a peer’s success story and take a mental note of their trials and tribulations but discard the vendor sales pitch. Listen to the criticism of other products and solutions and take into account the whys for it failing them, what they learned and what they did different a second time. By using a little ‘Sherlock Holmes’ method of deduction you can write the next great success story.