This 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.
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