Mobile device management: Getting started

By Todd R. Weiss, Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, Mobile Device Management

At Carfax, one unexpected benefit of the move to more productive mobile devices has been that some workers are now using them instead of their previously issued laptops, Matthews says. "This year I expect that some workers will tell us that they don't need their laptops anymore," which will have the side benefit of simplifying maintenance and support for the IT staff, he explains.

One lesson has become very clear, according to Matthews. "Don't let your fears keep you from trying things," he says. "You will see different ways to reach out to customers that you wouldn't have seen if you didn't look at these mobile devices."

For example, he says, "We have created mobile sales and marketing applications that allow our field reps and customers to have much more valuable conversations with more real-time information," including customer-specific data. "This allows our reps to be much more effective and efficient in how they manage their activities and customers."

In addition, make sure you have a real long-term strategy and understand your needs before you start the project, Netcentric analyst Benedict says. "Don't even bother to implement mobile technology if you don't have a mobile management strategy -- it will be totally wasted."

The way to do that is to become fully educated in what's possible, Benedict says. "Go to big conferences, view webinars, read books and bring educators in to teach and show what's available. Don't build a strategy based on your limited knowledge." Learn about what is possible, he adds.

Analysts: Where MDM can still get better

Mobile management applications have come a long way in the last year or so to help enterprises, says the 451 Group's Hazelton, but there's still more that can improve.

Today, the big needs are managing the devices and handling email, but enterprises are already looking ahead to provide custom provisioning of applications and data to the right people in their organizations so the entire mobile environment can be more secure and more easily managed, Hazelton says.

One other enterprise need that's seeing progress is the creation of private application stores that are providing analytics apps and management tools for mobile enterprise applications, Hazelton explains.

"There's definitely a lot of demand for MDM," he says. "It really answers a pressing pain point for IT departments." But so far, only about 20 to 25% of the marketplace has such strategies in place for iOS and Android devices, based on his research. The numbers are certainly higher for BlackBerry users, he explains, because those devices have been around longer and use RIM's enterprise-ready applications.

"It's most exciting," he says. "You have all this energy around smartphones and enabling them. Enterprise mobility is here for the rest of our careers."


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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