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The four pillars of mobility success: developing a successful strategy

TECHNOLOGY BULLETIN  | 

With the increased frequency and capabilities of mobile devices, many businesses have aspired to use the technology to their advantage and adopt a formal mobility policy. However, companies must be careful when opening their network to mobile devices, as many do not have a true, comprehensive mobility strategy. To meet the objectives of a strategy and protect against risk, focus must be placed on the four pillars of mobility success: policies, security, operations and support, and infrastructure.

The first thing that businesses must do before implementing a mobility strategy is figure out what you are trying to achieve. What are your business goals and can they be accomplished more efficiently if your workforce were equipped with mobile devices? What kind of information does the sales force connect to and would mobility enhance that process? Can mobility automate processes to make the business more efficient, allowing for orders or other data to be immediately entered into the system?

These pillars of success help to develop a master plan after the business goals are defined and how mobility can help them be reached. Moving forward, technology becomes part of your approach as you develop a mobility strategy with your overall business goals in mind.

Setting policies
Mobility policies should be designed to allow mobile devices to be used in a specific manner. For example, clearly define that if employees are going to use a device and participate in the network, they are required to use certain applications and are prohibited from others. Set your policies in a manner that is conducive to working effectively, while also implementing controls to protect your network and data.

Companies tend to assume that by simply implementing technology, that constitutes a mobility strategy. Unfortunately, that is where many businesses experience difficulty. Every business should update their policies and have acceptable use guidelines that are updated to account for the use of any new technology.

In some instances, employees may choose to use their own mobile device to access the network, instead or in addition to a company-provided device. The policies would also need to be modified to allow for consumer owned devices (BYOD), however, these employees would still be required to adhere to the same guidelines defined in the policy for corporate owned devices. When you are building out a mobility strategy, if you have the right security and infrastructure in place, access from personal devices should not be a concern.

Security
After business goals are defined and policies are set, the next step is thinking about strategy from a security perspective. With mobile devices, your perspective now must extend beyond the four walls of your business and additional considerations must be made. You must set a specific security plan around mobility, and technology tools such as AirWatch® work in conjunction with your business strategy and help to provide encryption from the device to your network.

Operations and support
As you make your network and applications more mobile friendly, you might have to increase the amount and availability of support to administer new servers and applications built for devices. It is a critical area that cannot be overlooked, as your support and operations must provide the right amount of coverage while remaining affordable.

Infrastructure
The last pillar is infrastructure and how you communicate from your mobile devices across the network bandwidth. Optimizing your infrastructure for mobility is key, and this process can dramatically affect the level of operations and support. You must have the right amount of network bandwidth as well as the correct server infrastructure. Virtualization technologies can be useful to help many companies develop their framework.

Another key to developing a strong mobility platform is to keep in mind that this is not just an IT endeavor; it is a true business project. Once your plan is developed and ready to execute, it is recommended to deploy your strategy on a pilot basis. This allows you to see the effects your plan has on each facet of the business and ensures that your approach is sound from a security, server, infrastructure, and operations and support perspective before it is implemented on a companywide basis.

The massive proliferation of devices is driving the increased interest in mobility, with the amount of worldwide smart phone users having doubled in the last 18 months and projected to double again in the next 18 months. Businesses are implementing comprehensive mobility strategies with increased functionality and savings by using tablets rather than laptops.

The use of mobility and mobile devices is surging, and the use of the technology is not expected to slow in the near future. As you build the mobility strategy for your business, you must be mindful of these four key pillars and inclusive of all facets of the business when discussing organizational goals. If you are, in the end, you will have a strong mobility strategy for your business.

For more information, please contact RSM Director Ron Beck at 319.360.9104.