It’s a rainy day here in Boston as we get ready to celebrate America’s independence today. I was talking to a friend yesterday about enterprise mobility (I know….shocking) and he touched upon mobile strategy. That got me thinking about what strategy means…it’s a word that gets (mis)used so frequently, that I sometimes think we don’t know what it truly means. In fact, I encourage you to do a search on your favorite search engine for “mobility strategy” or “enterprise mobility strategy” and see what comes up. Are these truly strategic issues (you can’t fault the search engines for this one) or are people being short-sighted?
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So what is a mobility strategy? I think it might be best to figure it out via process of elimination. BYOD is NOT a strategy for enterprise mobility. I know, I know….we’ve read scores if not hundreds of articles and whitepapers on how companies need to develop a BYOD strategy or a strategy for BYOD. The fact of the matter is that BYOD is simply not strategic…nor a strategy. It’s not your fault if you thought otherwise.
Now, without intentionally offending anyone, I’m going to have to also tell you that deploying a Mobile Device Management solution is not a strategy. Neither is Mobile Application Management, nor any other part of Enterprise Mobility Management. They’re just not. And by the way, Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs)…or Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADP) as Gartner has, in its infinite wisdom, recently rebranded the space…that’s not a strategy either.
…and believe it or not, but one of my favorite topics, mobility policy….that’s not a strategy either.
I’m sorry, but none of these things are strategies….they are tools. They are just tools. That said, all the above-mentioned tools (including app wrappers, virtualization and container techniques, blah blah blah) are absolutely critical in implementing a successful mobility strategy, but let’s just call a spade a spade.
OK, now that I have carpet bombed the entire world, what’s left?
It’s about the people. It’s about people answering one simple question. How are mobile devices and mobile applications going to make my employees more effective? How can my employees access the data they need wherever and whenever they need it? How can my company tap the transformative powers of these new technologies to re-envision its business processes? How will mobile help me beat my competition? OK, that was four questions…but you get my drift.
Too often we end up talking about technology for technology’s sake…and thinking that technology will fix the problem. Isn’t that why we hire systems integrators and super expensive management consultants?
I say this often, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. A mobility strategy….a TRUE mobility strategy…is inextricably tied to your company’s business strategy and its business planning strategy. Technology is a means to a business end. The next time you have a conversation or read an article/whitepaper on mobility strategy, take a step back and see if the speaker/author is talking about business or technology.
Happy 4th of July everyone.