Mobile strategy: whats in your wallet?

When we start a mobile strategy many business, end user and technology requirements are used to form the outcome. However, the question that seems to get missed is, have you looked at the bigger picture?

As we archtects and strategists work through the current needs we often over look the point of next. Meaning yes we looked at this groups requirements and built out a solution/strategy to meet their needs. Did we stop and look around? 

Its like learning to drive, did we see the car in our blind spot? How about the dog running into the street? We are always so focused on delivery that we forget the impacts around us.

Before delivering a strategy take a moment to ask who does this impact outside of the current need? Can this strategy be used for others? What changes in the near future if we implement this today?

Strategists are like fortune tellers. Our goal is to figure out what is needed before we are asked for it. Our thinking must be agile yet calculated. Knowing whats coming in technology as well as how that technology can be applied to your companies initiatives known and unknown will allow you to have explored it before a business partner or leader reads it and asks about the new capability. It is how we stay on the top of our game and prepared to keep companies mobile first.

So what tools are in your strategy wallet?


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.

The chicken and the egg. What happens when the chicken mutates?

So you have run out bought an MDM, Rolled out devices and are blissfully happy, right? Not for long… The users start demanding apps, access to internal systems, and dare I say it WiFi at work! We created the monster, we let it out of its cage and we have some foolish notion that we are going to contain it with minimal controls and support. 

I have often likened users to children. This thinking has gotten a few raised eyebrows out of people until they think about it. When you hand a child a new toy how hard is it for them to put it down? What if that toy kept updating and changing so it never gets real boring? What happens when you try to limit the child’s time with said toy? Face it, we are now parents of grown children who are responsible for ensuring their safety and providing them the opportunity to grow.

So lets talk about what happens next. For many Companies this next year, and several more to come are going to be all about mobility. How do we prepare for the onslaught?

Take a look around and examine all of the things you have access to from your computer. How do you get that information from the web? What apps do you use all the time? What folders do you access for shared content? How do you get there?

Now apply all of that to mobile. Is the infrastructure ready to support every User with two connected mobile devices? It’s an industry stat; that more than half of all smartphone users will also have a tablet device as well as the phone. In the same breath does your company/building have adequate carrier coverage? Do you offer guest wifi? Do you want to allow users to access the corporate network through wifi? Is your network up to task of handling the traffic? Is your monthly spend on WAN ready for it?

What about outside of the office? How strong is your VPN? Is it large enough to handle multiple connections from 1 user concurrently? Are your internal connections large enough to handle the traffic? Do you have DR plan that has been scaled with your new infrastructure?

Staffing is another concern. As you add more complexity to your internal infrastructure you have to add bodies that handle the administration. So while mobile is the way of the future, maybe its time to reexamine your strategic plan.

Take a moment to peer into the crystal ball and ask ‘What am I going to need next?’ Prepare for the monster. If you feed it properly and tame it right from the beginning, it is way easier to control.

What happens next.. The End

So I write this post on the last day of the year to reflect and to pass along a bit of wisdom and food for thought.

Just this weekend I found myself reflecting back on the end. Not the end of a book, the end of a movie, nor the end of this blog. THE END. The big one. The one that changes everyone’s lives who knows you and I came away from that reflection with some real concerns.

You know everyone wants to preach to you how to handle The End, but no one has taken into consideration the age in which we live. The estate planning, doesn’t include subtle things like passwords for online accounts, or what accounts the person has. It also doesn’t address the simplest of items like the admin password to a computer.

I came in contact with a very nice lady whose husband had passed recently. It was a sudden passing and they are only in their late 50’s early 60’s at best. However, he was the end all be all for tech support in the house. He managed their business’s MAC’s and kept them up to date, etc. He passed with that knowledge, but left no record for her. So why is this important you might ask? Well you see most computers require the administrator password to do the simplest of tasks. Like I don’t know.. Load a print driver, or change the password.

So you see my friend that leads me here. What do you do to protect your accounts from hackers etc., but still leave enough information behind to assist your loved ones? I know that some people get weird when they are asked to share passwords with loved ones, which can beg a whole separate set of questions, but we are not here to judge.. So what can be done?

Well we can file the master password to our stuff with our living will,. Or maybe the password to some file that is on a site like box or something. However this also assumes your family knows how to use such things..

Just something to ponder though as we get further away from brick and mortar transactions and into the world of electric impulses.

I guess what I’m saying is have a game plan. Talk with your loved ones, especially your elder loved ones. I know, I know. NO one wants to talk about The End, but it has become a necessity.

The last thing the surviving family members want to worry about is what else do they need to handle after you’re gone. Think of the things we do every day or sign up for. Reoccurring payments, offers, credit cards, word press accounts. If the family doesn’t know about all of these things then what? The spouses account is drained because you didn’t stop your Xbox live subscription?! Or the Podcast downloads subscription from Apple. The list goes on and on.

Take a moment in the New Year to reflect on all of the accounts, and stuff you have signed up for. Is it documented? Do you have them bookmarked in your account on the computer? Do you have a password keeper on your computer or your mobile phone? Who has access?

A business would simply reset your password to allow access from any needed person. You don’t have that option.

So in parting how are you preparing for The End?