Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility

Susan Nunziata, Director of Editorial | 10/16/2012 | 14 comments

Susan Nunziata
When it comes to addressing what CIOs need to know about mobility, Gartner distinguished analyst Phillip Redman has some hard truths to tell.

Mobility trends in the enterprise represent great opportunities for the CIO who embraces them, notes Redman. At the same time, it's essential that they approach the challenges and opportunities of enterprise mobility with eyes wide open.

Redman spoke with Enterprise Efficiency in advance of his presentation on Managing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise, due to take place during Gartner Symposium/ITXpo 2012, October 21 through October 25 in Orlando, Fla. I'll be at the event, along with E2 executive editor Curt Franklin, where we'll be providing daily, live blogging and Tweeting.

Meanwhile, here are some perspectives to ponder from Gartner's Redman:

  • Mobility is now a priority at enterprises. It's no longer a toy, it's a tool. There are great opportunities that come with supporting mobility, but you need to address it (rather than ignoring it).
  • When it comes to mobile devices, enterprises are second-class citizens. New devices are designed for the consumer first and the enterprise second. How you handle that is critical. There is a risk to the enterprise, not just in terms of security but in terms of efficiency and how your users are supported.
  • Enterprises need to take control of the mobile program, whether by using mobile device management tools, or putting policies in place. You can't let users just drive it.

These are just some of the realities that CIOs and other IT leaders need to face when it comes to handling an increasingly heterogeneous mobility environment. As we recently heard from Kevin Baradet, CTO of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University:

    What you should really be looking at doing is you manage the data and not the device. You make them access it through Web portals and you design your systems so that the data never resides on the device; it's only consumed on the device.

Redman has his own list of guidelines. For starters, he says, CIOs and other IT leaders need to put a strategy in place that's aligned with an overall view of communications lifecycle management. "Mobility doesn't sit in one area" of the enterprise, he says. "It sits in many areas. It's not one-size-fits-all and so your approach has to be variable and customized for various users."

But how do you get such a strategy started? According to Redman, it begins by understanding that there is a spectrum of choices to any mobility strategy, involving different levels of security, different applications and different levels of users. "Understand how important mobility is to your enterprise, what the business case is, and what it is that your IT team is really trying to support," he says.

When it comes to applications, not everything needs to be wirelessly enabled, no matter how loudly your business executives scream for it. "A key thing to identify is what's based on real-time need versus what's based on a non-real-time need. That will help companies evaluate what their investment levels should be."

What's the No. 1 mistake that CIOs make when it comes to mobility in the enterprise? According to Redman, "They don't look at it strategically, they look at it on a short-term basis." By taking the strategic view, CIOs will be able to gain insight into what apps and data are really needed on mobile devices, as well as understanding how cloud solutions play into enterprise mobility plans, as well as how to manage mobility across the organization.

So, with all of the above in mind, is your enterprise mobility strategy up to snuff? What areas would you like to see improved within your organization, and why?

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soozyg   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/23/2012 9:01:41 AM
control
New devices are designed for the consumer first and the enterprise second...Enterprises need to take control of the mobile program.....You can't let users just drive it....you manage the data and not the device. You make them access it through Web portals and you design your systems so that the data never resides on the device; it's only consumed on the device.

Very interesting points. Also goes to the issue of the company supplying the devices for more control vs. BYOD, which is much less expensive for the company but then the company loses the control factor.

Sara Peters   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/18/2012 9:53:03 AM
Re: tough combo
@Susan  Fair enough. By the time RIM started courting the consumer market it was too little too late. By that time, the app developers had moved on to producing the fun stuff for other companies' smarthones, and the app market for BlackBerry devices dried up.
Susan Nunziata   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/17/2012 10:30:27 PM
Re: tough combo
@Sara: I don't think it's either-or and there are many factors involved. But, IMHO, from a marketing standpoint, by staking its claim in the enterprise, RIM effectively associated its devices with "work" instead of "fun." By the time they began attempting to win over mainstream consumers and project a fresh marketing message, there were too many other options out there that had already attained mainstream popularity. And leaves out the whole product development and innovation part of the discussion...
Sara Peters   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/17/2012 2:53:49 PM
Re: tough combo
@Susan  Do you think that RIM's problems are really just due to them "staking their claim in the enterprise" or because they've made a bunch of stupid decisions that displeased those enterprises? Or is it some combo of both?
DBK   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/17/2012 1:19:09 PM
Re: tough combo
Susan - I think that by pushing the applications in to the cloud and making them "webified" will remove some of the barriers to entry.  Some of the historic challenges have been "paralysis by analysis" and concerns about not making the correct or "Best" decision.  By making it device agnostic and secure it will help to drive sales.  But the question then becomes drive them where?  As we look at the options and the characteristics of those options what I see is that IaaS = Host * PaaS = Build and * SaaS = Consume.  So who will ultimately benefit from the removal of those barriers.  Could be web developers and or hosted solutions or hosted solutions providers.  And maybe even a hybird but we will see.
Susan Nunziata   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/17/2012 1:01:12 AM
Re: tough combo
@broadway hard to believe isn't it? The battle for entry into the enterprise is about winning over consumer hearts and minds when it comes to mobility. A look at BlackBerry's fortunes in recent years shows what happens when you stake your claim in the enterprise. We'll see if Microsoft can change this dynamic with Windows Phone 8.
Broadway   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/16/2012 10:57:29 PM
Re: tough combo
@Susan, how can't CIOs have the collective market pull yet to get mobile devices made to their needs?
Susan Nunziata   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/16/2012 7:41:32 PM
Re: tough combo
@DBK: that marks a major shift from the early days of "mobile device management," where the focus was on managing the device. Now, it seems, the emphasis is on managing the end to end data stream. How do you think this change in emphasis will influence IT purchasing decisions in the year/s ahead?
DBK   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/16/2012 7:15:48 PM
Re: tough combo
Susan the statement says it  "What you should really be looking at doing is you manage the data and not the device. You make them access it through Web portals and you design your systems so that the data never resides on the device; it's only consumed on the device."  The folks from Dell today called it 'webify" which I think is accurate and validates your comment.  That way it is platform agnostic and future proof.  Plus it addresses some of the security concerns because it resides in the web/cloud and not on the device.
Sara Peters   Why CIOs Miss the Mark on Mobility   10/16/2012 4:41:50 PM
Re: tough combo
@Susan  I'd put my money on the same thing: "I'll venture that the place where the internal dev takes place is most likely in mobilizing legacy apps." I wonder though, if that's the wisest way to use in-house developers. It seems like developers are often wasted on small tasks that could easily be outsourced or sprawling customized applications that are probably needlessly complex and would be better replaced by something they could buy off the shelf. It doesn't seem like developers (except the ones at Quirky) really get to do the cool stuff that can transform a business.
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