Managing Mobility in the Enterprise... Ready or Not, Here it Comes!

So, your boss, the CIO or CEO, just got back from an industry convention and she just happened to be the
lucky winner of an Apple iPad 2 at the booth of one of your company’s key technology partners. Now the boss wants to access the organization’s IT infrastructure with her shiny new piece of Cupertino hardware. Your vendor told her how her organization can leverage the new device to radically increase efficiency of the entire workforce.  Are you ready to get her email, calendar, and contacts to the device? How about when the boss requests access to business platforms like CRM or ERP via the tablet? What about VPN access? Your vendors are pushing out mobile device apps to access their products and your boss knows it, because that same vendor who gave her the iPad also spent time indoctrinating her on the “Mobility in the Enterprise” and “Inflection Point in Mobility” message that is sweeping the tech world and how that same vendor who gave her the iPad is on the leading edge of mobile productivity.

 Along with Cloud Computing, Mobility is one of the hot topics of 2011. Every tech blog on the planet spends an ever increasing amount of publishing cycles on stories about devices like Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and how these devices are radically changing the way we interact with the world. The big names in software like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com, to name just a few of the many players, are pushing out mobile apps to ensure they are positioned to capitalize on the growth in mobile devices, not just for personal use, but as business productivity tools. Companies like Aruba Networks, (ARUN) Juniper Networks, (JNPR) HP (HP) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) are betting big on staggering growth in the new generation of smart, controller based wireless networks supporting the 802.1n standard. We really do stand at the aforementioned inflection point in mobility. Not only is mobility a hot topic, but mobile technology creates an important phenomenon in the Enterprise world- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD.) BYOD means that your organization’s employees, from the entry level call center worker to the CEO, are buying mobile devices as consumers and bringing them to work with the expectation that those devices will work in the business environment and will be able to access the organization’s IT resources.  Employees expect to be able to access corporate resources in the office, at the coffee shop, on the back porch, at their kid’s soccer game, and everywhere else they spend their time outside of the office and modern management practices tend to encourage employees to work more than just business office hours.

What does this radical change mean to IT? How does an already over whelmed IT department handle this significant change in how users access the organization’s resources? What can IT management do to integrate these devices in to the environment they manage in a secured and controlled fashion? One of the most effective options is to embrace ITSM best practices and adjust your organizations policies and processes to accommodate the demand for mobility. Effective change management will be required to control the myriad additions and adjustments to the enterprise wireless network, security systems which control external access, and to the applications which will be accessed by mobile devices. These IT resources will need to be regularly adjusted to accommodate the rapid pace of innovation in the mobile device world. Service and fulfillment requests for mobile devices will need to be efficiently processed for all of the mobile platforms your organization will support.  Once mobile devices are on the network, IT will be challenged to handle incident requests by mobile device users, chronic problems which may occur with new applications, and continued requests for changes to the environment. Both security and compliance will need to be established and maintained in a mobile environment. Companies which practice proactive continuous service improvement and strive for a high degree of service desk efficiency will need the right tools to provide mobile device users with self service portals to automate user requests for support and new service requests via a service catalog and knowledge base articles for self help.

In coming posts, we will discuss how ITSM can address key areas of change and how effective processes and tools can greatly assist IT with managing mobile device related incidents and creating efficiency within their organization by deploying self help tools to assist mobile users and reduce IT service desk burdens with the adoption of BYOD in the workplace.  Next time, we will discuss how a Service Catalog can help your organization define, control, and offer services to your mobile users.