Thanks to the powers of the Twitter-sphere, I stumbled upon this interesting article called “Why Mobile Device Management Doesn’t Matter.” It’s certainly a provocative title, albeit not a unique one, particularly from enterprise mobility vendors that are trying to provide technology solutions to help manage the ever-explosive growth of mobility in the workplace via non “MDM” solutions. Today’s missive, by the way, is by no means meant to be a direct response to the article, but rather to share some of the impact of that article.
Once I retweeted the article, an interesting, yet brief discussion ensued between myself, Chris Perret, Brian Katz and Maribel Lopez. (side note: if you haven’t connected with these people on this site, you should).
Its about data mgmt across all devices since devices keep changing
While Brian said:
What I’ve been saying all along – you need MDM hooks but not MDM, just like you need MAM but holy grail is MIM
Last, but certainly not least (in fact he was the 1st to respond), Chris said:
yeah. MDM is part of an overall management and security schema, not the whole thing … but not irrelevant either
I agree with all these statements, but I think there’s a broader issue at hand that wasn’t captured in 140 characters (I blame Twitter, not these three super smart people).
There’s no question in my mind that organizations MUST deploy a mobile device management solution. There’s also no question in my mind that organizations NEED to deploy a mobile application management solution (assuming they are moving past basic PIM functionality). Don’t forget though that I am the guy who keeps on yammering away about how organizations need to have a holistic enterprise mobility management solution in place to manage all the facets of the mobility strategy. In fact, one of my responses on Twitter was:
I’ll argue you need mobile device and application management tools to reach mobile information management nirvana
In this little Twitter discussion, we still didn’t reach what I feel is the crux of the matter. Let me ask you all to take a step back for one brief moment and let me ask you a one-word question.
Why are we talking about Mobile Device Management or Mobile Application Management or any of the other components of Enterprise Mobility Management? Brian is dead on when he says it’s about Mobile Information Management. Enterprise Mobility Management solutions are a means to managing/securing/protecting corporate information mobile devices. This has to happen at multiple levels…in fact, it has to happen at seven levels.
But why should we worry about Mobile Information Management?
I think that that is the core question we need to answer. Let me offer you, if you don’t mind, my answer to this question.
It’s all about managing risk.
At the very core of everything we talk about, whether BYOD, COPE, CoIT, apps, smartphones, tablets, whatever….it’s all about managing the potential risk that comes from using mobile devices. Now risk actually goes beyond information management (which arguably is going to be predominantly about indirect costs – think lost IP or business secrets), but can also include direct costs. Anyone who has ever gotten and expensed a 4 or 5-figure wireless roaming bill knows what I am talking about…or what about if a B2C application loses sensitive data…or if a B2B app loses 100,000 credit card or social security numbers.
Risk. Risk is about what happens when things don’t go according to plan. You lose a device. It gets stolen. You leave it somewhere without a PIN code. You are justifiably and correctly using your device, but with an unsecured connection….or you inadvertently downloaded an app that has code in there to do “nasty” things.
Risk management should then be all about mitigating that risk or having the tools to minimize the impact of a negative externality once it has occurred. This is why you need a means to ensure that your corporate data is protected…this is why you need to have a mobile information management strategy in place. And how do you protect that data? With application, device and security management solutions.
See where this is going? Brian is right. It’s all about information management…but the reason why it’s all about information management is because organizations need to better manage their risk profiles in the mobile era. I wonder how many are truly ready for this new world.