Hello from beautifully sunny San Diego where CTIA is holding its newly branded MobileCon event. While today is the official kick-off of the event, I had the opportunity yesterday to attend the App-Solutely Enterprise event that was part of the pre-conference track. This was the 2nd time my good friends at 151 Advisors held this event, and judging from the fact that the room was often standing room only, I’m going to have to simply say it was a great success.
When you have an event called App-Solutely Enterprise, it’s pretty obvious what the subject is. Apps. Mobile Apps. It’s obviously a timely discussion given how so much of the enterprise mobility discussion is focused on mobile applications and mobile application management. Much to my personal chagrin, we couldn’t avoid the topic of BYOD – it feels like it’s the subject that will simply never die (but I digress).
What did excite me however during the entire day’s event was the level of maturation of the discussion. When I think back to the first Enterprise Mobility BootCamp that EMF held at CTIA just two short years ago, we were trying to get our arms around the whole subject of mobility. BYOD was in its infancy and organizations were still trying to determine whether they should even allow employees to bring their own devices. Today, it feels like a fait accompli. Today, it feels more like the genie is out of the bottle and that there is simply no turning back. Today, more and more organizations have mobility policies in place and are thinking more and more about mobility as a strategic imperative and not simply a technological bolt-on.
This is goodness.
Now that all said, while we are collectively more aware of the power and importance of the mobile workplace, there is no question that the overall mobility equation is getting more complex. Forget the alphabet soup of MDM / MAM / EMM / MADP etc. or the four major platforms or the tablets, phablets and shmablets that are coming out at an increasing rate. What do you do with all these technologies? How do you integrate them cohesively into a BUSINESS strategy?
This is the question du jour. (Sorry, I’m in the mood today to throw French expressions in my missive.)
When I was doing my presentation, entitled “The Role of MDM in the Enterprise” the invisible subtitle was “In the context of an app centric universe.” Some people suggest that because it’s the apps and data that matter, you don’t need MDM. I challenged that notion by going back in time to 1978 and reminding people of the seven layers of the OSI model – where Level 1 is the physical layer and Level 7 is the application layer. I firmly believe that no matter how important application and data management/security is, you still need to have the tools to manage and secure the physical hardware as well. As you might recall, this is something I have been saying on my soap box for quite some time.
When I finished my presentation, someone asked me whether it was better to use the device’s VPN as a main data highway or if it was better to do it from an individual app perspective. Without boring you with all the details, I responded “it depends.” Enterprise mobility cannot be prescriptive. One size does not fit all and what works for one organization may be completely inappropriate for another. Sounds like day to day business to me. There are always core principles to any business. Good product, good marketing, good sales and good execution….but how you get there becomes specific to the organization. I will suggest the same applies to creating a great enterprise mobility strategy. You need the alphabet soup, you need policies and you need great apps to empower your workforce. How you get there depends on your organization.
It will be fun to see how this world evolves by the time we reconvene for the next App-Solutely Enterprise Event.