Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Enterprise Mobility Framework

It won't be long before Enterprise Mobility is considered 'business as usual'. But right now, it is analogous to the early days of PC adoption, where end users are largely creating the ‘pull’ for enterprise mobility, rather than the IT department driving this out from the center. The mobile market is driven by consumers. The consumer (led by consumer-oriented vendors) is setting the trends and establishing the de jure standards, not the enterprise. Inconveniently for organizations, their employees are consumers too – hence the demand for BYOD.

Consequently, organizations are typically addressing mobility in an ad-hoc manner at the project level, leading to inconsistencies, duplication and gaps in capabilities across the organization. Though this is par for the course with any such new initiatives.

Inevitably, as pressure grows, organizations are increasingly assessing their enterprise mobility needs. It is tempting (for IT)  to try to satisfy requirements by simply acquiring technology and products from their favored IT vendor, who will inevitably claim their Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) products will cure all ills.

However, history tells us that simply throwing technology at such a problem rarely solves it by itself. Rather, I recommend organizations take a step back and address enterprise mobility more strategically.

In order to put some consistency behind their enterprise mobility efforts and to effectively govern them, a good starting point for any organization is to establish their Enterprise Mobility Framework (EMF).  This should not be a 'technical' framework assembled out of products, but a reference framework designed to provide consistent terminology and understanding of the domain.

Regardless of the domain, I find that establishing a Reference Framework (RF) works well as it establishes the basis and ground rules for subsequent work. In my experience, many organizations often lack a consistent framework – or conversely they have too many – and effort is wasted trying to apply consistency after the fact.

However, perhaps reflecting the maturity of the market organizations won’t find such an EMF available ‘off the shelf’ from an industry body or even some dominant vendor, and so must establish their own.

Recently faced with this scenario myself on behalf of our clients, I have worked with them to develop their EMF. As a result, I am now able to publish a generic Enterprise Mobility Framework together with guidelines for its development to meet an organization's unique requirements.

As Everware-CBDI are not a vendor of enterprise mobility technology, I hope readers will find this a more independent framework that doesn't attempt to steer users towards a particular vendors solution.

Let me know if you find it useful, or if you need any help in developing your own EMF.

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