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?

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.

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.