Make no mistake: Bring Your Own Device is already the norm. 60% of companies are enabling BYOD, according to a July 2011 Forrester Research survey.
But after that, what? Well, securing and managing those devices, aka Mobile Device Management, aka MDM, is necessary, of course.
But at this point, your company should be treating MDM the same way you treat brushing your teeth or taking a shower: as a necessary component of good hygiene that needs no reminder (I hope).
Now, some may argue that virtualization is a better alternative to MDM to cure your mobile security blues. I'm not a fan. With my affiliation to Sybase, I'm obviously biased. But think of your experience today using your company's VPN. Yep, it's more secure, but it turns your laptop lethargic, as if it took some of that drowsy-inducing allergy medication hiding in your medication cabinet.
Having to download everything from the server is not only slow, but when you're roaming and only 3G or 4G access is available - it's also potentially expensive. And for anyone who's run Windows on their Mac and thought the whole process slow and kludgy, expect that it will be the same if not worse if you had to switch back and forth between mobile hypervisors.
Mobile Device Management doesn't have to be painful. Nor should rolling out apps, provided you do it strategically.
But I digress. My point is that a lot of companies aren't sure what to do after the tablets and smartphones roll in. By default, they're doing exactly what they shouldn't be doing: allowing workgroups and departments buy their own apps in an isolated, uncoordinated fashion.
That lets some employees get what they want, fast. But it leaves many other employees jealous or fuming. And for the IT department, it does two things. The first is prevent them gaining any degree of control and governance over their mobile infrastructure.
Indeed, the bar for mobile management keeps rising. The market is quickly moving away from MDM-only towards mobile device AND application management. Some people like my colleague Milja Gillespie at SAP are calling this Enterprise Mobility Management.
The second disadvantage for CIOs and IT managers who are not proactive about apps is that they cannot roll them out in a strategic way that helps them lower TCO and boost ROI, according to a recent whitepaper entitled "A Guide to Successfully Deploying Enterprise Mobile Applications," by Yankee Group analyst, Chris Marsh (full disclosure: commissioned by SAP).
Marsh asks the key questions and sets out a comprehensive framework for IT leader-types for deploying mobile apps the right way. You can see some of his recommendations and tips in Milja's blog.
But to get the full download, join him and Milja and SAP vice-president Dan Mahowald for the Nov. 1 webcast, part of SAP's ongoing Mobile Sense Thought Leadership Series. You can register here. Registrants get a free copy of Marsh's whitepaper.
Another way to learn how to deploy mobile apps the right way is to see how cutting-edge companies are doing it today.
The list of speakers from the user side is the most impressive I've ever seen, including companies such as GE, Philips, American Airlines, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., PG&E, Papa Johns Pizza, FedEx Ground, P&G, Southern California Edison, Exelon, Sempra Energy, Webalo, Vivint and more.