Tag Archives: IT

The Future of BYOD

Ojas RegeThis post is the last in a series on industry insights gleaned from my conversation with MobileIron’s Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing. In the first post we looked at the past of BYOD, the second examined how to implement BYOD today. We now turn our focus to the future of BYOD and the role IT.

For the last 20 to 30 years the enterprise productivity mind-set has been in a rut guided toward a fixed point; the desktop PC. That rut is slowly being washed away.  Yet in this, the twilight days of PCs era, the future is looking bright for mobile devices and IT professionals.  But, before we can shift away from the box under our desks to enterprise productivity via mobile devices and the cloud there are some gaps that need to be closed.

Specifically, there exist gaps in the current device capabilities that are holding back the future of enterprise mobility. Rege was emphatic that there are some must-haves, such as encryption, that are not uniformly supported on device platforms outside of iOS. For example, encryption on a Windows Phone is currently non-existent.  He was clear to point out that “this isn’t a knock against Windows Phone, they [Windows Phone] just aren’t there yet.” He went on to say that “both iOS and Android waited until version 3 to add encryption.” Android needs to mature in this area as well. While encryption exists in newer OS versions of Android it is still in the process of being rolled out to the entire device ecosystem. Rege mentioned that when it comes to the latest release of Android “it will take 6-9 months for all the devices to be upgraded.”  That doesn’t mean Android is out of the mix from an enterprise perspective though. Encryption can be handled by the MDM platform. As Rege noted, “MobileIron handles encryption for Android in the meantime.” Android would be greatly improved as an enterprise option when a unified security mechanism exists across all flavors of Android. The irony of the “Consumerization of IT” is that, though the consumer is the driving factor in introducing mobile devices in to the workplace, the consumer perspective will have to take a back seat to enterprise needs in order to make the evolution complete.

Key BYOD/MDM insight –To be relevant in the future of enterprise mobility, device OS’s must evolve beyond consumer requirements.

In a future dominated by a range of mobile devices as the primary means for enterprise productivity, where does IT fit in? IT personnel who want to stay on top of their game they will need to find their way in a mobile and app-centric world. “IT needs to provide a value add” and for Rege this means figuring out device specifications, enterprise apps, and how to manage them. “Those who figure it out will be the expert and will find it to have been a very good career move.” Rege also sees IT doing more with fewer resources.  He provided a great example of this with one of MobileIron’s customers who had 7 iPhones under management when they began using MobileIron 2 years ago. Now that same customer has 3000 devices being managed – and all by the same, single individual.  This individual is the point-person for the entire organization for all things mobile and has become an invaluable resource to that organization. 

Key BYOD/MDM insight – Want to secure a future in IT? Make yourself a mobile ecosystem expert.

 

The future of BYOD is anything but completely defined. The boundaries are being tested every day – from corporate policy, to devices, to the app ecosystem, to security – there is an ever-changing environment to be navigated. There is a fantastic opportunity ahead for enterprising IT personnel who are not afraid to sail through these uncharted waters and become a key resource. To be successful, organizations will need to leverage a strong partner, like MobileIron, who has the depth and breadth to provide the platform and people to execute now and into the future of BYOD.

 

MobileIronMobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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How to successfully implement BYOD – On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Ojas Rege
This post is the second in a series on industry insights gleaned from my conversation with MobileIron’s Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing. In the first post we looked at the past of BYOD. Today we focus on the present and what it takes for a successful implementation of MDM.

 

On Your Marks

Planning is key to any successful project and MDM is no exception. Rege noted that beyond the requisite procedural checklist that needs to be compiled for implementation (certs, firewall configuration, etc) IT departments must consider the two following key areas:

  • Scalability
  • Policy

With traditional technology deployments, IT has been able to manage scale through a controlled roll-out of new platforms to select users. Rege explains that IT does not have the same luxury with BYOD. IT departments “have to plan for massive, fast growth,” Rege said, “they can’t incrementally add devices because user demand will necessitate otherwise.” He suggests planning right from the start what the processes to handle thousands of devices is going to be. He has personally seen the dramatic increase of devices that companies needs to be prepared for. “In most organizations adoption move s faster than IT can.” The message is clear; be prepared for mass adoption or you will become overwhelmed.

Besides scale, Rege views policy planning as imperative to success.  “Implementation is relatively easy,” it is determining the “security and privacy policies that are the biggest planning time commitment for enterprises” he stated. Organizations should plan on spending “several weeks” on developing these policies and strategies toward security and privacy. To assist in this process MobileIron offers guidance and education on best-practices as a free of charge service to their customers.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – IT has to be ready to blast out of the blocks or chance being left in the dust by size and standards.

Get Set

With so many MDM solutions currently available in the market, product evaluation will be a challenge for organizations. Rege thinks that organizations need to dig deeper than just getting rid of data from a lost phone; “Remote wipe is a commodity item and any platform worth its salt will have it,” he said.  Rege believes that strategic items are more important. This includes such features as the ability to set privacy policy, monitoring the right set of data on the device, certificate integration to manage identity, and access control for email. Rege recommends that companies should really be looking at MDM platforms that manage the complete lifecycle of applications, “The platform should be able to manage apps as an entire system,” he said.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – A good MDM platform should offer more than just water on race day, it should coach for the entire season.

GO!

Once an enterprise has settled on a platform, Rege recommends an evaluation period where the IT department can get a real sense for the full feature set. This will not only provide organizations the ability to determine if the platform will meet all their functional requirements but also provide a chance for IT to become comfortable with the solution ahead of time; thus helping avoid the stress of learning on-the-fly.

Rege stated that, given that organizations do the prep, implementation should be straight-forward and companies should “expect devices to be under management by the end of the first day using MobileIron.” Rege views the real challenge to success in the implementation of MDM to be shifting IT’s priority towards the end-users; “The IT department has to be absolutely focused on the user experience.” MobileIron views the user experience as a core tenet to a successful MDM deployment. If IT departments lock down useful features, require complex authentication, or have a lack of privacy then adoption challenges will be inevitable.  End-users will either abandon using the device or find loop-holes and go rouge. Rege noted that the successful implementations he has seen are “when the IT department has the mindset that is first focused on user experience.”

Key BYOD/MDM insight – Want to win the race? Then don’t forget BYOD is a team sport.

Next up: What does the future of IT and device management look like?

MobileIronMobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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Going Behind the Scenes with BYOD

I am beginning a new series on BYOD and MDM insights from industry leaders and influencers. My goal is to combine industry details with key takeaways that can be consumed quickly. I have no personal or financial affiliation with any of the parties involved with these interviews.

Going Behind the Scenes with BYOD

On Wednesday January 11th 2012 I got the opportunity to speak with Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing for MobileIron. Rege has been with MobileIron since the first line of code was written back in 2008. A very lively discussion, Ojas’s palpable passion for the topic of BYOD past, present, and future coupled with his deep corporate, customer, and industry knowledge clearly demonstrates why MobileIron is an industry leader in the crowded field of Mobile Device Management solutions.

iOS – The Trojan Horse of BYOD

How did we get to where we find ourselves today with BYOD?  Rege views the introduction of the iPhone as the start of the BYOD movement in enterprises. “iOS was the catalyst that got devices in to the enterprise”. Once the devices began to arrive, users wanted to leverage them to connect to the corporate network. With Apple’s firm grasp on device development and manufacture, this provided the positive effect of device consistency. This led to what Rege sees as a second driving force of BYOD. Besides providing quasi- standardization, the iOS consistency created a platform where there was, as Ojas stated “less users could do to crash the device; less user created problems.”  The last driving force of BYOD Ojas pointed out was that the curated App Store. This greatly reduced the risk for malware while upholding standards and best practices.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – iOS was the epitome of the “easy first child” which made for a smooth introduction of consumer devices in the enterprise.

Savings vs. Support

From a business perspective Rege and MobileIron have seen the economics of hardware procurement as another driving force for BYOD. Businesses see the upfront economic savings of BYOD as a positive aspect. Ojas noted that for many customers it was, initially, an argument of cost benefits weighed against the pain(read cost) of support. MobileIron’s customers have however, in reality, found that helpdesk costs haven’t been an issue. In fact, calls to the enterprise helpdesk have been reduced after the implementation of their MDM solution. Ojas attributes this to pride in ownership – “individuals take the extra minute or two it takes to figure out the problem themselves rather than calling the helpdesk” as they don’t want IT touching their device.

Key BYOD/MDM insight: With MDM, customers see cost savings in hardware and helpdesk.

Droid Does BYOD

“BYOD has brought Android to the enterprise,” noted Rege. Of the 1400+ MobileIron’s customers, 60% of them have included Android in their BYOD planning and implementation. As this percentage increases the corporate device mix is beginning to closely mirror the consumer mix. Unlike iOS, Android has not retained tight controls over device manufacture, OS versioning, and app development. This has led to some unique mobile device management challenges. But as IT departments have matured in their MDM deployments, Ojas says, “they have learned quite a bit from the BYOD experience with iOS.”

Key BYOD/MDM insight: Android’s fractured nature has and will continue to pose challenges to MDM.

Past is Present

BYOD is driving rapid changes in the enterprise. Understanding the little history there is will help IT departments plan and implement MDM successfully. The novelty of BYOD as an enterprise directive has all organizations learning and creating best practices in parallel. We are a little ahead here in the US as compared to Europe. The US is about 6 to 12 month ahead of Europe according to Rege when it comes to MDM deployments. But the industry as a whole is still maturing.

Key BYOD/MDM insight: In BYOD’s short history seek out all the success stories you can.

Next in the series: Continued perspective from MobileIron’s Ojas Rege on enterprise MDM implementation.

MobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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Running Full-Speed Towards BYOD – Don’t trip!

Mobile devices are exponentially finding their way into businesses. IT organization are making plans on how to manage and control this onslaught through MDM. It’s great that everyone’s now got a fantastic fancy new phone that they can bring to the workplace – but what, besides email, are they going to do with them once they get there?  A single app won’t, most likely, be worth that much effort. An app or two may be a first step but it doesn’t even begin to leverage the advantages of a mobile workforce that has a constant connection to the cloud. Perhaps, you think it would be best to ease into the whole BYOD thing slowly; only start with a couple of mobile apps.  I am all for testing the waters, but don’t confuse implementing your mobile app strategy as a controlled trickle with a lukewarm approach to app planning. You need a solid plan around what capabilities will be required to have a mobile-only workforce (and you will eventually have a mobile-only workforce).  Before you get too far down the consumerization road you should define your mobile-ecosystem needs and requirements.

People use the term ecosystem as loosely as they do cloud – but what does it really mean?  For the purpose of this article I am specifically examining the enterprise mobile app ecosystem and defining it as:

The apps that tie together data and tasks.

How many of you have actually sat down and laid out what your mobile-ecosystem capabilities will need to consist of? Are you thinking that it will just organically work itself out? Would you let that happen in the traditional desktop/server realm? Hardly! The added challenge with consumer devices is that it is all too easy for end users to go ‘rouge’ and download apps of their choosing. An organically-grown ecosystem will create major challenges down the road as the lack of planning will offer no cohesive guidance and vision to how your enterprise apps should work together.

In order to build the most productive mobile-ecosystem for your organization you must first be able to articulate:

1.       The data your workforce interacts with regularly

This means any sort of document, contacts, quotes, emails, diagrams, photos, etc. that your organization is producing, editing, and distributing.

2.       The actions end users take upon that data

What are the tasks, edits, additions, subtractions, etc. that your workforces takes against the above data?

These two items are the key building blocks to the design and plan of a mobile-ecosystem. They will give you a roadmap for implementation. As well, they give you a total picture of organizational workflow that can facilitate discussion and examination.

Once you have your list you can begin to identify apps that align your business needs and requirements with the capabilities of apps that are out there. There are some sites that can help you get started.  GetApp is a  great site to begin with for app reviews  and comparison. Since the enterprise app space is still maturing make sure you spend a little extra time on research to identify all the options. You’ll also want to make sure you pick apps from solidly backed companies that will still be around in a year or two.  Lastly, most apps have a free-trial period. If you have a more complete picture of what you mobile-ecosystem will need to look like you should coordinate free trials of the target app group to evaluate and understand their interaction and integration.

One final note on data; free – flowing data is key. As I have written about before, data that is in its own silo, no matter how useful the functions the app, will create limitations for any organization down the road. When evaluating an app – don’t get swooned by the sexy UI alone – make sure the data policies and capabilities allow the app to play nice. From a data perspective keep these questions in mind:

  1. Can data be uploaded?
  2. Can it be exported?
  3. Can it be shared across other apps?
  4. Can it be deleted?

Finding a mobile-ecosystem that meets all your capability requirements as well as that has data flexibility will give your organization the winning combination required to see some real productivity gains. The coming consumerization of IT affords businesses an opportunity to step back and evaluate what they work on and how they work. It creates the rare chance to restructure workflow and process as people make the switch from desktops to mobile. It allows organizations to start with a clean slate of opportunity that is unburdened by years of the desktop paradigm. Whether you do this in isolation or through a steering committee, now is your organization’s chance to build a best-of-class ecosystem.  Don’t blow it.

 

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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How to Write your 2012 Technology Roadmap in Minutes

For the next 12 months do you know where you are going with technology?  Do you know how much you are going to spend on IT?  Are you just along for the ride, playing fireman and only putting out fires as you go? How will you measure your success for the next year? As we begin the New Year is it an excellent opportunity to spend a little bit of time thinking strategically about where your organization is going, why you are going there, and how to arrive. As well, arrive within an approved budget and set expectations.

Don’t make this planning task bigger than it needs to be. A well-thought-out Technology Roadmap consists of 4 parts:

  1. Problem Statements
  2. Solution Option(s)
  3. Recommended Solution
  4. Executive Summary

These parts don’t need to be long diatribes. In fact, the longer they are the less likely they’ll be read by others. Think a couple sentences for each point. More detail can be added later if requested. Just having an outline of a plan will put you ahead of the majority of IT organizations.

PROBLEM STATEMENTS

IT is typically a very reactive group. Many people want to jump straight to the solution without considering the problem they are trying to solve; a user has a problem and you want to fix it. Don’t be tempted to skip this step and go straight for the solution. Slow down and make yourself write a couple sentences as to what really is the problem you are trying to address. This process often exposes angles you haven’t thought of and intersections with other problems in your organization. Technology problems are usually small symptoms of larger interconnected systems and processes. Stating the problem draws these connections out. Perhaps a more unified and simpler answer exists. Take the 10 minutes to think before you jump.

SOLUTION(S)

Now that you have defined the problem you can approach tactical response(s).  It could be a single solution option – but many problems have multiple paths for resolution. You don’t need to go overboard with options.  It is best to keep it to 3 options at most – a low-cost, mid-cost, and the Cadillac option. With each option include the following:

  • Dependencies (if any)
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages (including risks)
  • Cost
  • Timeline

You goal is to keep this brief – think summary – not verbosity. The goal of this exercise is not to write a dissertation and have every last detail considered but to put a framework around a technology discussion. Keep it simple; stick to the couple sentences guideline for each bullet point.

RECOMMENDED SOLUTION

Lastly, briefly state what the recommended solution is and why. Use this part to honestly asses what the minimum viable solution would be. We would all love the Cadillac solution – but will it be overkill, adding cost and complexity to the problem?  Make sure to remember that you want a system to run with the minimal maintenance as possible. What is the right-size solution for your organization?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Executive Summary is a rollup of the total costs and timeline of the recommended solutions. This will help with the decision making process to not only identify if costs are within budget (or what the budget ask should be) as well as what resources will be required to execute the roadmap.

Taking the small bit of time to figure out where to spend your time and IT budget for the coming year will reap big rewards and give you a way to measure success. Whether you are a one person show or part of a large enterprise, is it worthwhile to set a known course for this next trip around the sun. Why not spend the time to make it the most productive year yet!

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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