By Dennis Jones
In the past, IT had to support the corporate LAN so that office-bound employees could send email on their standard-issued corporate devices. You don’t have to be an IT professional to know that those days are long gone. In the mobile enterprise, employees demand global Wi-Fi access to connect to high-data applications and services on their numerous corporate-owned and personal devices.
Due to the complexity and cloudiness of today’s mobility picture, IT needs a comprehensive lifecycle management approach to administer users, devices and services that touch the corporate network during provisioning, updating and decommissioning.
Unfortunately, devising that strategy can be difficult. This is especially true if IT doesn’t have complete visibility across the mobile enterprise. The challenge for IT is to regain visibility, and the best way to start is by developing questions that will ensure that a mobility strategy doesn’t become obsolete in the face of inevitable change. Here are six questions IT can ask:
- What are the larger company goals? Yes, this sounds a bit odd as an initial question. But a mobility strategy should align with a company’s overall business goals. If a company’s aim is improving the efficiency of its field operation, IT will need a different set of mobile solutions than if that goal were controlling operational costs.
- What are the services needed to reach those goals? This is where research comes in. Individual departments already have a strong sense of the products and services they need. But IT alone will have a company-wide perspective.
- What are the risks of those services? Mobile security Despite IT’s best efforts, end users will probably be connecting to new applications and services on free Wi-Fi. So it’s important to get a sense of whether these apps and services have built-in security features, before they access the corporate network.
- What’s a reasonable timeline to complete the process? This one is pretty self-explanatory. IT should have a detailed timeline ending with an ideal start date, from which to work backwards. Test deployment time should also be factored into that timeline, so IT has time to fix possible kinks before expanding to a wider roll out.
- How will you communicate the value of new services to your end users? This is especially important for company-wide deployments. The average end user is inundated with emails on a daily basis. This means they’re unlikely to be fazed by the release of a new product. As part of end user education, IT needs to communicate the value of a new service to an end user. It’s only after showing how a product solves an actual problem that IT will find a receptive audience.
The enterprise has entered the mobile world, where the demand for global mobile connectivity amongst a newly mobile workforce has increased the pressure on IT to develop a flexible, scalable and secure mobility strategy. Don’t get caught flat footed.