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Three Ways of Looking at Mobility

It's interesting to discuss mobility with the different departments in an organization. They each define mobility differently and want to address it separately.

Talk to the networking team and all they want to talk about is wireless and how to enhance their wireless infrastructure and what features they can offer for a better user experience. For them, BYOD is a matter of enabling their users to use these devices on wi-fi securely and effectively.

The systems group will talk to you about mobile device management and their wanting to control these devices and secure them, push content to them and remotely wipe them, etc.

When you talk to the virtualization group they want to do a mixture of both. They start off with talking about desktop virtualization and to them BYOD is about enabling users to access apps and desktops on any device. Some of the more savvy virtualization technologists will bring up VMware Horizon Mobile and Citrix CloudGateway and some will ask about Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 capabilities.

The truth, folks, is that mobility is about all the above. In a nutshell, it is about:

User Experience -- This enables BYOD, desktop virtualization, mobile applications, SaaS applications, etc. It is important to note here that when developing a BYOD strategy we can enable applications that were meant to run on mobile devices, I call these Post-PC era applications, but it is equally important to enable Windows based resources (apps and desktops) on these devices as well. We can stretch this further and talk about enabling Dropbox-like technologies for data, but I think you get the idea.

Mobile Device Management -- The influx of mobile devices has created a nightmare for IT. Using MDM is absolutely imperative, but make no mistake: You don't want to manage the device here, folks. This creates a support nightmare, but also opens your organization to legal issues. When adopting BYOD, manage the enterprise resources, not the devices. Don't worry about upgrading IOS; that is not your concern anymore. Do not approach BYOD as if it were a desktop from 10 years ago. Manage the enterprise resources and respect the user privacy, data and applications.

Wireless -- No mobility project will ever be successful without a solid wireless infrastructure, so always remember when deploying any of the latter technologies that wireless is a critical component and make sure your infrastructure is capable of delivering these services.

Now you can approach these pillars independently if you have a specific project, but my advice is before you take on any aspect of mobility, make sure you have communicated and collaborated with the other departments within your enterprise. These pillars are interdependent and collaboration is needed to make certain projects work properly. For example, if you are revamping or enhancing your wireless network and there is a desktop virtualization project going on, it is imperative that your wireless team is included in design and planning meetings. That way, they can adequately prepare for the different remote protocols that will be used, so they can address session drops when changing wireless access points, etc.

Communication goes a long way. It is high time we broke these silos that we have built in enterprise IT if we plan on delivering a proper service to the enterprise.

I welcome your thoughts!

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 01/23/2012 at 12:49 PM


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