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Mobility as an opportunity, not a challenge

"When the wind of change blows, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Many CIOs today can relate to this Chinese proverb as they witness the boundaries between hardware, software and mobile applications becoming increasingly blurred. While they understand the need to prepare for the future in order to avoid the consequences related to the rapid growth in mobility, they are lacking in specific ideas on what measures to take. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that the only companies to benefit from diversity in the long term are those that factor in their employees’ preferred working methods into their IT strategy. The expectations around mobility resulted in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, which presented numerous challenges for corporate IT departments. The question is no longer “if” but “how” a company supports various types of mobile working.  

That is why CIOs and IT managers have now found themselves in a tricky position. They are unsure of how to centrally manage the range of devices in their companies. More often than not, this leads to a chaotic situation with regard to licensing and, with it, a failure to meet all of the compliance requirements. In many cases, sensitive company data, which is downloaded from the cloud onto a wide range of both private and professional devices, is poorly handled.  

The reason for this is quite simple. Employees want to be able to easily access data at all times, anywhere, and from the devices they like working on. If companies cannot meet these requirements, then shadow IT will form, which CIOs might not know much about or might be unable to access. 

Change requires flexibility

Things used to be different. Previously, IT departments were able to manage their device landscape using client management solutions. Today, this is not enough. IT departments need to re-align their focus and increase employee involvement in the setup of their work environment, treating them as customers.   

Users expect to be able to use professional devices and services just as easily as they use apps on their mobile devices. The magic formula is innovative workspace management, which can solve numerous problems around mobility. End-to-end workspace management solutions enable easy access to the right application, in the correct delivery format, on the desired device with the matching license, ideally via a web-based self-service portal or a mobile app. They not only manage the technical components of the mobile work environment, but also the business and procedural requirements as well.        ro

What to consider

CIOs can only develop successful strategies and benefit from them in the long term if they take a holistic approach to mobility and view mobile working environments as an opportunity to create added value. It is advisable to take on this challenge working hand-in-hand with an expert team that knows the requirements of both senior management as well as the end user. 

The CIO and the team should begin by jointly defining the business objectives that they aim to achieve through mobile work. The next step is to carry out an analysis of how employees use mobile devices. In other words, find out who uses which devices/ applications as well as when, where, and for what purposes. This assessment forms the basis for developing a concept that covers all requirements, yet still gives users the necessary flexibility.  

The third step is to introduce a management tool that not only satisfies the technical demands placed on a modern workspace but also meets the business requirements as well. It should cover urgently required security settings, the configuration of IT services, and app distribution. The integration of the mobility solution into the company’s existing business processes and data strategies is also important. Finally, a self-service portal, where users can order, approve, and automatically install all of the relevant IT services, hardware, and software, is integrated to deliver the best possible results.

How business mobility should look

Since our understanding of mobility is set to change in the future, too, CIOs should subject their concept to regular audits in order to review whether the mobility management is fulfilling the stated business objectives. This makes it possible to identify early on if the existing structures meet the needs of all parties involved or, conversely, if modifications are necessary. While this forward-looking approach would at first seem to place high demands in terms of staff resources, it prevents security gaps from forming, compliance conflicts from occurring, and even shadow IT from emerging.    

An overarching concept for end-to-end workspace and mobile management means that CIOs no longer have to deal with many different and standalone solutions. Using a central management tool allows them to spend more time managing the company’s overall workplace environment and to actively respond to technological trends. The aim here is not to meet the increasing diversity with even more complex management tools. Simplicity is the way to go, ideally using a modern workspace management tool that enables CIOs to transparently and flexibly manage all processes required by users and senior management. 

Checklists for successful business mobility management

Taking a proactive approach to adapting to the changes brought about by the rapid growth in mobility are key prongs in a strategy of ensuring a company’s success going forward. In this process, CIOs should not let their actions be dictated by user requirements or restricted by rules imposed by senior management.

User requests

  • You transfer your mobility experiences gained outside of work to the business
  • You want unrestricted data access at all times and everywhere
  • You do not want to spend time on authentication processes

Requirements from senior management

  • Control over devices and applications
  • Adherence to compliance and security guidelines
  • Transparent investment and operating costs

What a CIO can do

  • Form a cross-department mobility expert team
  • Analyse the different requirements
  • Define a BYOD and consumerisation strategy
  • Roll out an integrated EMM solution
  • Integrate the EMM solution into ITSM and SAM
  • Create the conditions for a self-service strategy

Oliver Bendig, CEO, Matrix42
Image Credit: Nito / Shutterstock

Oliver Bendig
As CEO, Oliver Bendig is in charge of all operations at Matrix42. Oliver has more than 15 years of experience in workspace management and is regarded as an innovator in the industry.